Archive for category Montgomery County

Owner Intent Should Guide Johns Hopkins University’s Development Plans for Belward Farm

In 1989, Elizabeth Banks sold the beautiful, historic 138-acre Belward Farm to Johns Hopkins University (JHU) for $5 million.  Belward farmhouse At the time, the property was estimated to be worth $54 million. What accounts for the substantially reduced sale price? According to Ms. Banks’ heirs, the sale was contingent upon an agreement with JHU that the majority of the Belward Farm property would serve the university primarily for educational purposes.

By all accounts, Ms. Banks was a staunch preservationist. She is reputed to have resisted the offers of developers for the family’s property for years, even going so far as chasing them off her land. But she apparently had a soft spot in her heart for JHU and the assurance that they would do the right thing, in her eyes, with her family’s property.

Belward Black Gum  In 1997, JHU and the family agreed on a plan to build a 1.4 million-square foot satellite campus on Belward Farm.  The plan has since morphed into a 4.7 million square feet high rise commercial office park and high density, residential development. Which brings us to the lawsuit that has recently been filed by the “Family” in Montgomery County Circuit Court?

According to Tim Newell, nephew of Elizabeth Banks and lead plaintiff, “Early in the process, we made known to the University the Family’s objections to its current plans. Instead of working with us to address these concerns, the University has simply maintained that its new plan is not at odds with what my Aunt Elizabeth had in mind,” Newell said.  The Family strongly disagrees.  It is sad and ironic that Johns Hopkins, the University my Aunt was so fond of, has become the type of developer that she tried so hard to protect the Farm from. It is unsettling to think that a Family with the best of intentions to support a University and preserve a farm of historic importance have had their legal rights and donative intent ignored by the gift’s recipient, Johns Hopkins University.”

In 2010, Preservation Maryland, along with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and local historic preservation organizations advocated for the preservation of the historic core of the site and the consideration of reduced density development of the farmstead.  We further encourage all involved to ultimately consider the wishes of those who owned and protected Belward Farm before its sale.  Stay tuned: we’ll keep you updated on court actions going forward.

UPDATE:This blog was first published in January 2012. In October 2012, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Ronald B. Rubin ruled to remove all development restrictions on the property.  The family is appealing the decision. Said Tim Newell after the decision; “Institutions should be required to honor donor intent, and our family intends to fight for Belward Farm, Aunt Liz, and donors around the country who trust that their donations will be used as promised.”  The struggle continues…

For the latest information on the Belward Farm case, check the website www.scale-it-back.com.

Marilyn Benaderet/Preservation Services Director

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Discover Historic African American Sites During Black History Month

February is Black History Month. This annual commemoration of African American achievements was started in 1926 as “Negro History Week” by Dr. Carter Woodson.  He chose February as the month of celebration as it was the birth month of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Since February has been set aside to honor the accomplishments of African Americans, I’d like to suggest a few related sites around Maryland you may consider visiting.

The Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park in downtown Baltimore is an educational and national heritage site that highlights African American maritime history and the establishment of the African American Community in Baltimore during the 1800’s. The museum chronicles the saga of Frederick Douglass’ life in Baltimore as an enslaved child and young man. You will also examine the life of Isaac Myers, a free born African American who became a national leader.  The complex incorporates the oldest industrial warehouse on the waterfront.

The Charles H. Chipman Cultural Center is located in Salisbury Maryland.  It is housed in the 1838, John Wesley Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest standing African American church on the Delmarva. The building is now a cultural and special events center and small museum honoring the history of African Americans of the Eastern Shore region. Call to schedule an appointment.

Alex Haley monument in Annapolis

Alex Haley monument in Annapolis

In Annapolis, there are two memorials commemorating African Americans. The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial at the Annapolis City Dock features a life-size bronze statue of Alex Haley, author of Roots, located next to a plaque honoring his ancestor Kunta Kinte, an enslaved African brought to Annapolis in 1767. The statue was designed by nationally acclaimed African-American sculptor Ed Dwight. The Thurgood Marshall Memorial on Lawyer’s Mall at the Maryland State House honors Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. His most famous case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka 1954, ended racial segregation in American public schools.In Southern Maryland, the restored slave cabin at Sotterley Plantation in Hollywood is one of few extant dwellings of enslaved African Americans in the state. Built between 1830 and 1850 it is the only surviving slave cabin at Sotterley, the sole Tidewater Plantation in Maryland that is open to the public.

The Warren Historic Site in Poolesville interprets an African American community hub with all the essential structures traditional to such communities established around the United States at the end of the Civil War. The one room school (1886), the Warren UM Church (rebuilt 1903) and the Love and Charity Lodge Hall (1914) are located in Montgomery County.

Most Maryland counties have guidebooks of African American sites in their areas. Check the websites of Visitor Centers and historical societies also.  Enjoy your journey into the rich history of African Americans in Maryland.

Marilyn Benaderet/Preservation Services Director

 

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How Important Are Year-end Gifts to Charities?

Has your mail just morphed from an avalanche of catalogs to solicitations from a mind-boggling 

PM serves as a resource for the latest preservation techniques and regulations relating to their application.

PM serves as a resource for the latest preservation techniques and regulations relating to their application.

number of worthy causes competing for your year-end charitable dollar? There are more than 20,000 non-profit institutions in Maryland alone, and it seems that nowadays every one of them is asking you to invest in their mission before the calendar is turned to the new year. No one has a crystal ball to predict what plunging over the “fiscal cliff” will feel like, or even if it will happen. But it does seem reasonable to assume that for many people, in 2013 the tax burden will increase, and the deductibility of philanthropic gifts will not.

Preservation Maryland is no exception. Our annual fund solicitation is underway. Here’s a sample of what a contribution to Preservation Maryland’s annual fund will help do:

• ensure that our historic resources have a voice in Annapolis when laws and regulations are being considered that affect their futures,
• continue providing educational tools and information to volunteer and professional preservationists through workshops, conferences, and tours
• sustain our Endangered Maryland program which raises awareness for our most threatened heritage properties and invites solutions to the threats they face
• perpetuate one of the only funding sources for local preservation projects

To donate on line, click here. Or, call us at 410-685-2886 to provide your credit card information. Checks may be mailed to our headquarters at 24 West Saratoga Street, Baltimore MD 21201. We’ll put your deductible-guaranteed gift to good use. Thank you for your support and, remember, the clock is ticking.

Louise Hayman

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PM AWARDS NOMINATION DEADLINE THIS FRIDAY

Last Chance to Submit a Preservation Maryland Award Nomination
Deadline:  THIS FRIDAY,
September 21, 2012

  Time is running out!!

 Are you aware of an historic preservation hero or extraordinary project that deserves public recognition?  Preservation Maryland will honor outstanding preservation efforts at our Annual Meeting and Awards Program on November 14, 2012.

 The President’s Award recognizes exceptional leadership and commitment to preservation; the Stewardship Award recognizes commendable care of a historic resource; the Volunteer Award is presented to an outstanding non-paid preservationist and the Phoenix Award recognizes excellence in revitalization through preservation.

 Individuals, non-profit and for-profit organizations, and government agencies are eligible to receive Preservation Maryland’s Historic Preservation Awards.  Nominations submitted but not selected in previous years may be resubmitted.  Click here to learn more about the program and access a nomination form. Completed nominations must be postmarked by Friday, September 21, 2012. 

 Please contact me with any questions you may have at 410-685-2886, x. 303 or mbenaderet@preservationmaryland.org.

Marilyn Benaderet

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August News Round-up

Below is a round-up of news articles on preservation and heritage issues in Maryland and beyond.

Washington Monument in Baltimore City to be inspected.

Anne Arundel County
Fight to save Maynard-Burgess House rages on Capital Gazette 8-25-12
Inside Business: Foundation chair relishes Historic Annapolis Capital Gazette 8-26-12

Baltimore City
Plans for Mechanic Theatre site stir controversy Baltimore Sun 8-2-12
Commission may remove Mechanic’s protected status Baltimore Sun 8-14-12
Search is on after Baltimore agency can’t locate tax credit records Baltimore Sun 8-17-12
Engineers inspect Washington Monument in preparation for restoration Baltimore Sun 8-26-12
Preservation panel declines to vote on ouster of top director Baltimore Sun 8-27-12

Baltimore County
Lutherville Community Association, College Manor reach expansion agreement Baltimore Sun 8-3-12
Community hopes to develop War of 1812 trail in Dundalk Baltimore Sun 8-5-12

Charles County
Land hearing dominated by requests for preservation SoMDnews 8-8-12

Frederick County
Civil War Trust to acquire land around Md. battlefields Frederick News Post 8-8-12

Howard County
Columbia office building sold  Capital Gazette 8-24-12

Kent County
Grant sought to preserve Gale building Kent County News 8-22-12

Montgomery County
Possible link to ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ inspiration Baltimore Sun 8-14-12

Prince George’s County
Without Prince George’s County, there might have been no ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Washington Post 8-6-12

Statewide
Maryland’s love affair with the War of 1812 Washington Post 8-11-12

 

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Owner Intent Should Guide JHU’s Development Plans

 In 1989, Elizabeth Banks and her siblings sold the beautiful, historic 138-acre Belward Farm to Johns Hopkins University (JHU) for $5 million.  At the time, the property was estimated to be worth $54 million. What accounts for the substantially reduced sale price? According to Ms. Banks’ heirs, the sale was contingent upon an agreement with JHU that the majority of the Belward Farm property would serve the university primarily for educational and research purposes. 

 By all accounts, Ms. Banks was a staunch preservationist. She is reputed to have resisted the offers of developers for the family’s property for years, even going so far as chasing them off her land. But she apparently had a soft spot in her heart for JHU and the assurance that they would do the right thing, in her eyes, with her family’s property.  They were not, after all, developers.

 In 1997, JHU and the family agreed on a plan to build a 1.4 million-square foot satellite campus on Belward Farm.  The plan has since morphed into a 4.7 million square feet high rise commercial office park with high density, residential development.

Which brings us to the lawsuit that has recently been filed by the “Family” in Montgomery County Circuit Court. According to Tim Newell, nephew of Elizabeth Banks and the Family lawyer, “Early in the process, we made known to the University the Family’s objections to its current plans. Instead of working with us to address these concerns, the University has simply maintained that its new plan is not at odds with what my Aunt Elizabeth had in mind,” Newell said.  The Family strongly disagrees.  It is sad and ironic that Johns Hopkins, the University my Aunt was so fond of, has become the type of developer that she tried so hard to protect the Farm from. It is unsettling to think that a Family with the best of intentions to support a University and preserve a farm of historic importance have had their legal rights and donative intent ignored by the gift’s recipient, Johns Hopkins University.”

 In 2010, Preservation Maryland, along with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and local historic preservation organizations advocated for the preservation of the historic core of the site and the consideration of reduced density development of the farmstead.  We further encourage all involved to ultimately consider the wishes of those who owned and protected Belward Farm before its sale to JHU. 

Stay tuned: we’ll keep you updated on court actions going forward.

Marilyn Benaderet

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