Archive for September, 2011
Below is a round-up of news articles on preservation and heritage issues in Maryland and beyond.
Several prospective tenants showing interest in empty Canal Place shops – Cumberland Times-News 09-20-2011
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY
Some want State House dome returned to multicolor scheme – Baltimore Sun 09-17-2011
Plagued by homeless, former bus station to go – Baltimore Brew 09-20-2011
Judge dismisses Angelos suit challenging the Superblock project – Baltimore Sun 09-13-2011
Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Baltimore could close – Reuters 09-12-2011
Long-sought Zekiah Fort likely found – Baltimore Sun 09-14-2011
Friendship Hall site offers ecological opportunities – Star Democrat 09-26-2011
MHAA to develop action plan – Star Democrat 09-19-2011
Thurmont’s Main Street earns national accreditation The Gazette 09-27-2011
Columbia’s Historic Oakland manor house turns 200 – Baltimore Sun 09-23-2011
Preservation of Oella mill town brings honors for developer – Baltimore Sun 09-21-2011
Fate of historic Kensington house destroyed by fire remains undecided – The Gazette 09-28-2011
Rockville debates merits of Glenview Mansion historic designation The Gazette 09-27-2011
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY
County’s black history among lessons in historic Rosenwald school renovation – The Gazette 09-07-2011
Scientists explore wreck thought to be part of 1812 fleet – The Bay Journal 09/2011
Historic Snow Hill buildings sell for a song - Delmarva Now 09-15-2011
Preservation Maryland fundraiser is Oct. 9 - Star Democrat 09-29-2011
Tubman Park backers rally – Star Democrat 09-15-2011
Cardin, Harris meet with Tubman advocates – Baltimore Sun 09-14-2011
Revised planning document gives local governments more authority – The Gazette 09-12-2011
If you have a news article on a preservation-related issue you wish to add to our monthly news round-up, please send the link to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Endangered Maryland is one of Preservation Maryland’s most popular programs. It has reached all across the state and produced some remarkable successes. Maryland Public Television will highlight the Endangered Maryland program this Friday, September 30 at 7:30 PM on State Circle. That night’s show will feature a segment on the eleven sites on the Endangered Maryland 2011 list. The segment will run towards the end of the program and will repeat on Sunday, October 2 at 8:00 AM. Coincidently, Friday, September 30 is also the deadline to submit a nomination for the 2012 Endangered Maryland list. I hope you tune in!
The deadline to apply for a Heritage Fund grant is approaching fast. The Heritage Fund awards up to $5,000 to non-profit organizations and local jurisdictions for capital and non-capital historic preservation projects. The Fund is intended to serve the needs of tangible cultural resources in Maryland that may not be met through other funding programs.
Projects eligible for funding include acquisition and/or stabilization of endangered historic properties; bricks and mortar repairs and restoration; and education, research and planning efforts related to resource preservation. Please see the Heritage Fund Guidelines and Procedures for a full listing of projects eligible for funding.
Our Selection Committee will meet in mid-October to review applications for funding. Projects are evaluated on a competitive basis according to their urgency for financial need; administrative capability of the application and the extent to which the project stimulates or promotes other preservation activities. For a full listing of grant awards criteria click the link listed above for the Heritage Fund Guidelines and Procedures.
For further information please go to the funding section of Preservation Maryland’s website.
Marilyn Benaderet, Preservation Services Director
While the weather has gotten cooler and, at least as I write this, wet and dreary again, there is warmth and cheer to be found in hearing about chances to fund and promote your preservation projects and honor the excellence around you.
Funding: The last Maryland Historical Trust Grants Workshop will be held in Easton on September 28 . If you have not attended one yet, it’s a great chance to hear about lots of funding sources in one place. Click here for more information and to register for the workshop.
Preservation Maryland’s grant program, the Heritage Fund, is approaching the October 1st deadline for its fall cycle. Heritage Fund Grants award up to $5,000 and there are three funding cycles annually. Visit our website for more information or contact Marilyn Benadaret at 410-685-2886 ext. 303.
The Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission is seeking grant applications. Grants are available for capital and non-capital projects related to the War of 1812 bicentennial observance. Nonprofit organizations and local, state, and federal government agencies may apply for matching grants in amounts of up to $250,000. The application period closes November 1st with awards announced in February of 2012. Applications and guidelines are available at Star-Spangled 200, Inc.
If you’re in the Four Rivers Heritage Area, they have announced the guidelines and criteria for the FY2012 Mini-grant program. Mini-grant awards of up to $2,500 are available for projects within the heritage area that incorporate regional historic, cultural, and natural resources, collaborative partnerships, and the heritage area’s regional interpretive themes. Visit the Four Rivers Heritage Area website to download the grant criteria and application form. The deadline for applications is Friday, October 7, 2011.
Promote: It’s the final chance this year to help boost the profile of a site near and dear to you through the Endangered Maryland program. The goal of Endangered Maryland is to raise awareness of some of the state’s most threatened historic and cultural sites. The nomination form is available on our website and contains information about selection criteria and what is needed to apply. The deadline to submit a nomination is September 28, 2011. The nomination process is designed to be simple and straight-forward. The form asks 10 questions to get more information about the site, the threats facing it, and what the future may hold. If you have any questions about the form or any other aspect of the Endangered Maryland program, please contact me at 410-685-2886 x302 or email@example.com.
Honor: The Maryland Historical Trust is seeking nominations for their Annual Maryland Preservation Awards. The awards will be held on January 31, 2012 in Annapolis and the nomination deadline is October 14, 2011. Click here to download the 2012 nomination brochure and form
What so many of us learned in school was that Harriet Tubman dedicated her life to the pursuit of freedom, justice and equality. Her quest to escape slavery extended well beyond her own personal borders, to include those who were still in bondage in her native land, including her own family. What most of us didn’t learn in school was that Harriet Tubman was born and enslaved in Dorchester County here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A champion of the Underground Railroad Harriet traversed the Eastern Shore counties of Dorchester, Caroline and Talbot many times to help others find freedom. Today, the scenic and cultural landscape in which she lived has been remarkably well preserved thanks to centuries of agricultural tradition and in 2008 the National Park Service conducted a ‘Special Resource Study’ on this area which determined the high level of integrity remaining here. Looking for a way to recognize the life of Tubman the National Park Service proposed two new National Parks in her honor; one in Dorchester County and the other in Auburn, N.Y. where she lived out her life.
In the 112th Congress (2011-2012) Senator Bill Cardon sponsored S.247, the “Harriet Tubman National Historical Parks Act,” which was cosponsored by Senator Mikulski (D-MD) and Senator Gilibrand (D-NY). This Act would establish the two respective Parks in Maryland and New York. Last week, I had the privilege of traveling to Capitol Hill with 140 others to advocate for the authorization of this legislation. Our day kicked off in front of the Capitol Dome with a rallying cry from Tubman re-enactor Dr. Kate Barrett Gaines, a speech by Cambridge Mayor Victoria Jackson Stanley and remarks and prayers by Reverend Keith Cornish. It gave me chills to realize the significance of the day and we set off to Harriet’s own words, “It’s too late to turn back now!”
All together we broke out into 14 teams that met with a variety of Senators and Congressmen (or their staffers) to ask for their support. My team met visited the offices of Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Congressman Jose Serrano (D-NY), where we enjoyed a very positive reception. It’s hard to say no to Harriet!
At midday we were treated to a luncheon sponsored by Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) where he thanked us for our support and expressed his own passion for seeing this legislation passed. There were many others who spoke including; Congressman Hanna (D-NY), Congressman Andy Harris (R-MD), Tubman biographer Dr. Kate Larson, Mayor Jackson Stanley, Donald Pinder, Bill Jarmon, Barbara Tagger from the National Park Service, Professor Dale Green from Morgan State University and two of Harriet’s direct descendants.
Harriet Tubman was a true American patriot, a suffragette and a leader for all people. These Parks and her legacy will provide an invaluable educational experience for our youth and help to support the economies of our local communities through increased tourism. So please, take a moment to honor Harriet and let your representatives know that you support S.247!
– Elizabeth Beckley
The Endangered Maryland program is now entering its 6th year and nominations are currently being accepted for the 2012 list. The nomination form is available on our website and the deadline to submit a nomination is September 28, 2011. The Endangered Maryland list features properties that reflect the diversity of Maryland’s heritage of sites and traditions, and illustrates the threats facing them. The final Endangered Maryland list is published in Maryland Life magazine’s March/April issue.
In preparation for this year’s nomination and selection process, we decided to literally map out where we’ve been. Below is a Google map featuring each and every Endangered Maryland site. Some sites have made remarkable progress, so where possible I’ve included an update on the site and an updated photo. The map is interactive, so feel free to zoom and pan to your heart’s content.
For more information about the Endangered Maryland program please contact me at 410-685-2886 x302 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Putting together Celebrate Our Eastern Shore Heritage is challenging, because there is so much to celebrate, but the auction at the October 9 party at historic Wye House Farm in Talbot County promises to offer the Best of the Counties. Our volunteer committee has assembled a package of auction items from each of the nine Eastern Shore counties, inviting guests to Bid on the Best of the Counties. Each package contains an intriguing variety of offerings. Perhaps the most unusual item is a handcrafted mahogany and glass conservatory, custom manufactured by Caroline County’s own Tanglewood Conservatories. This 287-square foot structure was intended as an addition to a private home, but was never assembled or installed. Through a partnership with the Caroline County Historical Society, owners of the orphaned conservatory, this handsome structure will be offered at a deeply discounted reserve price.
Cecil County offers a goose hunt for four with breakfast at an historic home in Earleville and the use of majestic Mount Harmon Plantation on the Sassafras River as a venue for an event of the winning bidder’s choice. “A Day in Dorchester” includes a cruise viewing several historic properties led by local historian and educator Captain Fred Pomeroy. Up to six people will be treated to visits to historic homes and cocktails and dinner at a circa 1750 waterfront home. Nancy Hammond Editions of Queen Anne’s County is providing a popular print of her distinctive style that celebrates life along the Chesapeake. Other items in this county’s package include gift certificates to the Church Hill Theatre, the Narrow’s Restaurant and Mason’s Heritage Produce Market. “The Best of Somerset” includes a cruise to Smith Island where four people will enjoy a tour, seafood lunch and a lesson in baking a Smith Island cake. Dinner will be at Watermen’s Inn in Crisfield with overnight accommodations in Princess Anne’s historic Somerset House bed and breakfast. Talbot County offers two framed prints by famed Chesapeake regional artist John M. Barber. “Adventures in Wicomico County” consists of an overnight in the riverfront historic Whitehaven Hotel, behind the scenes tour of historic Pemberton Hall and lunch in Salisbury’s Queen Anne’s style Gillis-Grier House. A private tour of the Ward Museum or a scholarly consultation at the Nabb Center for Delmarva History and Culture are afternoon options. Worcester County offers overnights and dinners in Ocean City and in historic Snow Hill. A cruise on the Pocomoke River and a carriage ride in Berlin round out the offerings. Sound tempting? You have to attend Celebrate Our Eastern Shore Heritage to bid! For details on the party, click here.
Climate change and rising sea levels are terms that have become part of our vernacular here in Maryland in recent years. The Chesapeake Bay region is a place where the impacts of this are now being realized, especially along our outlying areas such as Hooper’s Island in Dorchester County. While we are well on our way to assessing the future impacts on our shorelines, the question still remains “How do you save these structures and places that are beloved to so many?”
Going to visit the people and places of Hooper’s Island is a special treat that I always look forward to. Located just beyond the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge this unique and personal place is home to authentic working watermen villages, a closely knit community steeped in history and a landscape where the Bay, the buildings and their way of life have intertwined over the many years. Calvin and Joan Travers contacted me to come and assess the current condition of the building and help determine a plan of action to save the Hoosier United Methodist Church in Hoopersville. Built originally in 1875 the original church literally blew down and was replaced in 1901 by the frame building that stands today. Among its original builders was Joan’s grandfather and others whose families are buried in the surrounding graveyard and who still live in Hoopers Island today.
Having visited the site before, I was alarmed by the high water in the graveyard and the shifting soils that were clearly impacting the beautiful structure. Armed with a great contractor, Jimmy Krapf, we concluded that the building would easily withstand being raised up about four feet and reset on a new foundation complete with storm vents to handle the water. Some repairs would be necessary to the damage already incurred to the exterior framing and cornice but nothing that couldn’t easily be addressed. The next step, one which we haven’t tackled yet, is what to do about the cemetery. This would be a tougher challenge and one that’s going to need some expert opinions of a different kind.
A wonderful gentleman and boat builder, Calvert Cannon, who is 98 years young, was on hand to answer our questions and tell us about the changes they had made to the interior many years back. It turns out that many original features of the building remain and are hidden behind some of the current finishes, which is often the case in churches across the shore. Reverend Ridley joined us on a trip up the bell tower to examine the roofing and structural members. Once there Mr. Cannon directed us to the church bell; the cradle and pulley of which were fashioned by his own hand many years before and bore his inscription. It just doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to connecting people to the places that shape our landscape and our home here on the Eastern Shore. So stay tunes, there’s more to come for the Hoosier United Methodist Church!
Despite torrential rain and flooded (and in some cases impassable) roads, approximately 100 people braved the weather and gathered in Capitol Heights yesterday for the Dedication Ceremony for the Ridgeley Rosenwald School. The standing room only crowd heard remarks from local dignitaries from the Maryland State Legislature, Prince George’s County Executive’s Office and County Council, Prince George’s County Planning Board, Board of Education and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Located on Central Avenue, the 1927 school was one of the last constructed under the Rosenwald School Building Program.
Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck and Co., became involved in building schools for African American children in the South in response to a request from Booker T. Washington, then President of Tuskegee Institute. Between 1912 and 1932 the school building program fund is credited with providing seed money for more than 5,000 schools, teachers’ homes and shops. The local community was required to provide the balance of funding, materials and labor required to complete the structures.
The Ridgeley Rosenwald School, like others, was built according to construction specifications that included detailed requirements for site choice, paint colors and even desk placement to maximize teaching space. The structures are most recognizably characterized by large banks of windows to take full advantage of natural light and are considered to have set a standard for school architecture in the 1920’s.
After desegregation, most Rosenwald Schools were closed. In the ensuing years many were lost to development and neglect. The Ridgeley Rosenwald School was most recently being used for bus storage by the Prince George’s County Board of Education. In 2002, The National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the Rosenwald Schools on its list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places and in 2007 Preservation Maryland included the Ridgeley Rosenwald School on it Endangered Maryland list. We also provided partial funding in the initial stages of the project to complete a structural analysis, schematic plans, and a preservation report. The restored Ridgeley Rosenwald School will be operated in part as a museum interpreting the history of pre-integration African American education in the county. It is also available for use by community organizations for meetings and events.
Although a multi-agency workgroup collaborated to make the restoration possible, according to all in attendance, the driving force behind the project was Mrs. Mildred Ridgley-Gray, a former student and direct descendant of the African American family that provided the land on which the school was built. Everyone who took to the podium spoke of her tenacity and determination to see her family’s legacy honored. Over 90 years old, Mrs. Ridgley-Gray did not address the audience but graciously accepted individual congratulations and hugs and kisses from many well-wishers including myself. We would have loved for her to speak at the assembly, but all of her hard work spoke volumes for her.
My family was very fortunate to take a trip to Italy this summer. The impetus was to celebrate my father-in-law’s 80th birthday. He grew up on a farm outside Moneseglio, a small town in northern Italy near the famous wine regions of Barolo and Barbaresco. The farm is still there and is still in my father-in-law’s family, owned and operated by his first cousin who grows chickens and hazelnut trees, and of course, grapes.
Although my family speaks little Italian and our Italian relatives speak little English, we had a wonderful time talking and gesturing over a delicious seven course meal called “pranza,” which lasted for hours. All of the food, as well as the wine, were home grown and made.
While the main purpose of the trip was to connect with family, including some that we met for the first time, we had plenty of time to sight see and explore. It’s probably no surprise that Italy has more sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage List (47) than any other country and we saw many of them. Without exception, they were even more impressive in reality that we expected.
Yes, much of Italy’s built environment is more “historic” than here in the New World. But it was the beautifully preserved “living” towns and cities not found in the tourist guides, like Monesiglio, that we most appreciated and enjoyed. Thankfully, Italy has a strong culture of preservation and conservation that is reflected in its constitution, laws, and building and land use regulations.
Our trip reinforced the importance of what we do at Preservation Maryland: advocating for incentives for the reuse of historic buildings, revitalizing downtowns through Main Street programs, protecting community character through historic districts, and preserving rural landscapes through smart land use planning.
It’s good to be home and back at work preserving a sense of history and in turn, strengthening communities and enhancing our quality of life.