Archive for April, 2012
Below is a round-up of news articles on preservation and heritage issues in Maryland and beyond.
Court of Appeals dismisses Angelos’ Superblock lawsuit Baltimore Sun 04-27-2012
BDC proposes PILOT tax break for Liberty Street residential tower -Baltimore Brew 04-26-2012
West Side apartment tower proposal sent to mayor – Baltimore Sun 04-26-2012
Baltimore’s marble lady stepping down from Calvert Street – Baltimore Sun 04-21-2012
Developers vie to restore Parkway Theatre in Charles North – Baltimore Sun 04-10-2012
Here yesterday, gone tomorrow – Baltimore Sun 04-07-2012
Roland Water Tower Bond Bill Approved – North Baltimore Patch 04-05-2012
American Indian artifacts to be moved – Southern Maryland News Online 04-25-2012
Monuments slated for face-lift -Frederick News Post 04-24-2012
NPS to implement plan to preserve Civil War battlefield in Maryland – The Examiner 04-11-2012
Md. Civil War museum gives severed arm a good look – Business Week 04-11-2012
Two Kent structures on Preservation Maryland’s ‘endangered’ list - Star Democrat 04-02-2012
Germantown historians want to save city’s famous Cider Barrel – Washington Post 04-10-2012
Visions for Vacancies: The Cider Barrel - Germantown Patch 04-09-2012
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY
History buffs brainstorm county branding at Montpelier Mansion – Baltimore Sun 04-26-2012
Warship excavation planned near Upper Marlboro – The Gazette 04-26-2012
Expanded Historic District Could Cross Queens Chapel – Hyattsville Patch 04-10-2012
ST. MARY’S COUNTY
Archaeology team following clues to 1662 chapel – Washington Post 04-10-2012
Historic home tour celebrates diamond anniversary – Baltimore Sun 04-17-2012
Old skipjack trains watermen in Southern Maryland for tourism work – Washington Post 04-24-2012
‘Main Street’ Alive, Well in Maryland – Eldersburg Patch 04-04-2012
Baymen Ask for Historic Recognition – Northfork Patch 04-19-2012
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.
It’s been over two weeks since the Maryland General Assembly adjourned without the Senate and House agreeing to a final budget package. We’ve all heard that the default “doomsday” budget would result in substantial cuts in state funding for education and local government. But you may not know that it would also totally eliminate the $7 million budgeted by Governor O’Malley for the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit program (formerly the Heritage Tax Credit), one of the largest sources of funding for historic preservation in Maryland.
If the funding for the Tax Credit program is not restored in a Special Session of the General Assembly, if indeed convened, its elimination would become the fourth such victim of much needed preservation funding programs administered by the Maryland Historical Trust. In the past few years MHT’s Capital, Non-Capital, and Museum Assistance Grant programs have all been zeroed-out.
The weak economy, declining state revenues, and reduced staffing have all contributed to these losses. And while historic preservation is recognized for its benefits to Maryland’s unique character, quality of life, and economy, it is often viewed as secondary to health, education, and other competing governmental roles and programs. Although the State of Maryland has been a national leader for its breadth of programs supporting the preservation of historic buildings and neighborhoods, we have to some extent become a victim of our success.
The bad news is that we have at least three, and depending on whether or not a Special Session is called, maybe four unfunded preservation programs. The good news is that funding for the Maryland Heritage Area ($3 million) and African American Heritage Preservation ($1 million), which are administered by MHT, and Community Legacy ($6 million) and Neighborhood Business Works ($4.25 million), which are administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development and support many preservation and revitalization initiatives, was approved by the General Assembly.
It’s increasingly difficult to successfully justify and advocate for so many, and at times overlapping, programs, especially when in some cases their staffing has been eliminated. Every five years each State Historic Preservation Office is required to adopt a new preservation plan in order to continuing receiving funding through The National Historic Preservation Program. The last plan was approved in 2005. Unfortunately, PreserveMaryland, the planning process initiated by MHT to update the state preservation plan in 2010 has stalled.
It’s past time to get moving on the new state preservation plan to document the benefits (community, environmental, economic) of the state’s historic preservation programs, and examine how they can be more efficiently and effectively administered , and to make appropriate changes. We also need to strengthen the role of the MHT Board of Trustees (which is appointed by the Governor) and its stakeholders, like Preservation Maryland, in re-building the support of the Governor and General Assembly for funding and legislation to preserve’s Maryland’s rich heritage.
The best way to do that is through Preserve Maryland and a new, focused state preservation plan. Let’s get working!
Next weekend is the Restoration & Renovation Fair and every time I look over our program and exhibit hall, I get so excited about the wealth of experience and talent that will be at the Fair. The Fair is designed so you can come for an hour or stay all day and leave with new information. I really hope that all of you will be able to join us. Below are just some of the ways you can benefit from the Fair. The complete list of talks and exhibitors can be found on our website.
Working on a specific area of your house? The talks on Saturday cover issues from plaster vs. drywall, waterproofing, windows, mortar and masonry, and paint issues. You can also hear about how to research the story of your home’s past and how you can help finance your projects.
Looking to find a contractor or know how to look for one? Find specialists in a variety of areas like alterego, Stop Leaks, Sykes Restorations, Expert House Movers of Maryland, and the Christman Company and you can join the talk on selecting the right contractor at 9:30 am.
Looking for programs working with older and historic homes? Many of our exhibitors likeBaltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP), Baltimore Housing Vacants to Value Program, Maryland Historical Trust, Retrofit Baltimore/Civic Works, and the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development can tell you about the work they do every day to help keep the character of the state alive and vibrant with their programs and services.
It is hard to believe for me, but the Restoration & Renovation Fair is just around the corner. I could not be more excited to share with you the line-up for the day including topics, speakers, and exhibitors. The Restoration & Renovation Fair page of our website has been updated with all that information. I think we have a strong program and a great selection of exhibitors. A little something for everyone!
Buzz is building and we are very grateful to our many partners in Baltimore and around the state for spreading the word about this event. If you know of anyone who may be interested share our info with them. Any homeowner would benefit from the Fair, even if they don’t think of themselves as preservationists. We hope they leave the Fair with a new appreciation to the preservation approach to working on their home.
The Restoration & Renovation Fair takes place on Saturday, April 28th from 9:00am to 4:00pm in the former Greyhound Terminal on the campus of the Maryland Historical Society. The admission price is just $10. For your convenience, the Souper Freak food truck will be on hand at lunch time.
A Pride? Not a Flock. Nor a Fleet. How about a Richness? Whatever the term should be, Maryland has ‘em! I participated on a conference call recently organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to discuss the naming of the collective Rosenwald Schools as one of our National Treasures, a new designation that promises to focus attention on America’s most significant and most threatened historic resources. The Rosenwalds were added to America’s Most Endangered list by the National Trust in 2002. Maryland, it seems, had 153 of the 5,300 schools built for blacks in the South between 1912 and 1932 through the generosity of Julius Rosenwald, one of the founders of the Sears, Roebuck & Co. empire. According to a survey done about 10 years ago, 53 of them survive in Maryland. Preservation Maryland named the Ridgeley Rosenwald School in Prince George’s County to our Endangered Maryland list in 2007. Happily the building has since undergone a $1.1 million restoration and is now a museum. We also recognized Mildred Ridgley-Gray with Preservation Maryland’s Volunteer Award in 2008 for her efforts towards the school’s preservation.
But where do we go from here? With such an impressive collection of the schools remaining, the National Trust is seeking funding support for their preservation and hopes to hold several regional conferences to encourage and facilitate the preservation of the schools, which are found in 16 states. Preservation Maryland will consider cooperating on one of those conferences and in redoubling our efforts to ensure that our state’s Richness of Rosenwalds receive the attention that they deserve.
It’s a gorgeous spring afternoon – Good Friday. My colleagues on the conference call this morning bid me go outside and enjoy it instead of turning to and writing the blog I promised to post today. Ever conscientious, I hit the computer and pound out some inspired words about how Preservation Maryland can be involved in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s renewed initiative to preserve the Rosenwald Schools, thousands of which were built and 53 of which remain in Maryland. Somewhat satisfied with my efforts, I take a quick break to relieve the tedium of typing and the dog’s bladder and stroll outside. I happen upon a man undertaking an annual project at the 18th century property I am visiting: whitewashing the fences and outbuildings. This is a nearly lost art, performed in this case by an elderly man who was apprenticed to someone long retired, in order to learn the art.
Whitewashing is what most think of as a nefarious practice to obscure the truth or to embellish something of insignificance to make it seem more important or seen in a positive light. All of this actually does relate to the whitewashing I witnessed today. First, it consists of mixing lime, water, salt and laundry blueing. In this case, it is mixed in a giant and ancient hog-scalding trough with what is left of a pair of paddles from a rowboat. The mixture is applied, in lieu of paint, to protect the wooden surfaces of structures of lesser importance on a large farm. “Poor man’s paint” is one’s definition of it. Whitewashing is rarely done now since outbuildings of a certain age don’t exist much anymore, or have been replaced with newer timber that will take a coat of paint. But, I digress. I was supposed to write about the Rosenwald Schools. I think I will save that topic for another day and go outside, sniff the fragrant spring breezes and talk to the whitewashing crew.
The National Main Streets Conference is in Baltimore right now and Preservation Maryland is thrilled to be a part of the event. The conference has drawn over 1,000 participants, including many from out of state who are getting introduced to Baltimore and Maryland for the first time. If you were unable to make it for the conference, don’t worry, you can still catch conference highlights online. With the Main Streets in town, I thought it would be a good opportunity to share more information about the Main Street program and the role it plays in preservation.
The National Trust Main Street Center is housed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They work with areas across the country working to revitalize their communities by preserving the unique character of the community. They use the Main Street Four-Point Approach to help downtowns and business districts turn their historic and cultural resources into economic development. Here in Maryland, Main Street Maryland works with Maryland’s designated Main Streets using this approach.
I have met attendees from across the country working hard to promote and preserve their communities. Attendees are volunteers and employees of Main Streets, but also business people, member of community associations and city officials. The Main Streets tie together the bricks and motor work of preservation with boosting community pride with economic revitalization. I look forward to the final day of my first National Main Streets Conference and learning more about the work being done across the country. I hope you will have some time to watch one or both of the sessions being streamed over the course of the day and when you’re done head out to dine or shop at your nearest Main Street community.