Announcing the FY2023 Historic Preservation Non-Capital Grant Awards

MHT is proud to share the FY2023 recipients of our Historic Preservation Non-Capital grants! Funded through the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority Financing Fund, this grant program supports a wide variety of research, survey, planning, and educational activities involving architectural, archaeological, or cultural resources.

This year, a total of $300,000 is being awarded to non-profit organizations and universities for an exciting slate of ten projects across the state. Below are descriptions of all the projects awarded: 

2023 Tyler Bastian Field Session in Maryland Archeology – The Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc. 

($15,000) 

While official dates and location have not yet been determined, this annual event will likely be held at the Chapel Branch Prehistoric Site in Caroline County in the spring of 2023. The field session provides a hands-on opportunity for laypersons to learn archaeological methods under the direction of professional archaeologists. The funds will cover field session expenses as well as the hiring of a contractor to produce a final report and prepare artifacts for permanent curation, all according to State standards.

Fieldwork Photo from the 2022 Tyler Bastian Field Session

Women in Maryland Architecture – Baltimore Architecture Foundation, Inc. 

($45,700) 

This project will nominate properties designed by early women architects to the National Register of Historic Places. This work constitutes the second phase of the project; the first phase involved the creation of a Multiple Property Documentation Form, “Women in Maryland Architecture, 1920-1970,” and one supporting nomination for the Hirsch Residence. 

Hirsch Residence in Havre de Grace, designed by Poldi Hirsch (Baltimore Sun, 1973)

Recovering Identity: African American Historic Context Study in Frederick County – Frederick County, Maryland

($35,000)

As part of this project, Frederick County will partner with the African American Resources Cultural and Heritage Society to create an African American Historic Context Study of Frederick County. This work will expand on the completed Phase I, which involved a context statement and survey of Black resources in northern Frederick County. The proposed project will focus on identifying and researching historic and cultural themes to create a more comprehensive picture of the African American experience in Frederick County.

The Wolfe House in Lewistown was surveyed in Phase I. (Photo by John W. Murphey)

Growing a County: A Study of Anne Arundel’s Agricultural Heritage – Anne Arundel County, Maryland 

($46,000) 

This project seeks to write a thematic report entitled “Growing a County: Agricultural Heritage in Anne Arundel.” It will provide a detailed examination of the history and evolution of agricultural practices from pre-historic times into the 20th century and specify resource types for documentation and preservation. The document will also highlight the contributions of enslaved workers and immigrant labor to the county’s agricultural heritage.

Franklin Farm in Anne Arundel County

Modeling Wooden Shipwreck Deterioration in the Potomac River: Interdisciplinary Approaches – Program in Maritime Studies, East Carolina University (via ECU Foundation)

($30,000) 

This project will fund important archaeological-biological baseline research on the hull of the wooden shipwreck Aowa in Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary. The Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University, which conducted a maritime field school at the site in 2022, will revisit Aowa every 3-4 months over 2023-2024, carrying out a detailed environmental sampling regimen to understand how natural processes are impacting Aowa’s hull. This research and the report it produces will be used to build new models to aid in the effective evaluation and protection of Maryland’s maritime cultural heritage and assist the future management of the shipwrecks at Mallows Bay during a time of global environmental change.

Archaeological Research Underway at the Wooden Shipwreck Aowa

Historic Preservation of Cedar Haven & Eagle Harbor, Maryland – Cedar Haven Civic Association on the Patuxent River, Inc.

($30,600) 

The project work includes the preparation of one National Register district nomination for the Town of Eagle Harbor and one Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties form for Cedar Haven. Founded in the late 1920s, Eagle Harbor and Cedar Haven were African American waterfront neighborhoods that provided an escape from the summer heat and city life during the segregation era.

Eagle Harbor in Prince George’s County

Herring Run Park Comprehensive Archaeological Investigations – Towson University

($30,000) 

This project will conduct an archaeological survey of Herring Run Park in Baltimore City. The project will include a shovel test pit survey and ground penetrating radar survey of areas with high potential for intact cultural resources at the Park. The collective archaeological survey results will be used to update MIHP data, write a summary report, and plan Towson University’s 2024 Summer Archaeological Field School.

Towson University assistant professor Katherine Sterner and her students conduct field work in southern York County, Pennsylvania (Photo by Lauren Castellana/Towson University)

Applegarth Tubman Medicine Hill Historic Preservation Project–Stage Four (MHT) – Applegarth Tubman Medicine Hill Preservation and Education Foundation, Inc.

($16,200) 

This project will conduct a conditions assessment with treatment strategies for Medicine Hill, an early nineteenth-century domestic and agricultural complex that is one of the most complete in Dorchester County. It is associated with the Tubman and inter-related Applegarth families, and is threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change.

MHT staff photo of Medicine Hill in Dorchester County

The Search for Lord Dunmore’s Floating City – Institute of Maritime History, Inc.

($20,000) 

The Institute of Maritime History (IMH) will perform historical research and underwater archaeological survey in Maryland waters in order to locate and identify any cultural resources related to the Revolutionary War-era occupation of St George’s Island and scuttling of numerous vessels there in 1776. IMH volunteers will be taught proper archaeological survey techniques, non-disturbance site recording, research, and report preparation. A report detailing the results of fieldwork will be submitted to MHT.

Logo of the Insitute of Maritime History (IMH)

St. John’s College Campus History – St. John’s College

($22,500) 

This project will involve research and documentation at St. John’s College, including an examination of the history of enslaved people in relationship to the St. John’s College campus. The work will also include updating existing architectural survey data in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties.

MHT staff photo of McDowell Hall on St. John’s College campus in Annapolis

Availability of FY2024 funds through the Historic Preservation Non-Capital Grant Program will be announced in the spring of 2023 on MHT’s website (https://mht.maryland.gov/grants_noncap.shtml). Application deadlines and workshop dates will also be found on this page at that time. 

For more information about the grant program, please contact Heather Barrett, Administrator of Architectural Research at MHT, at 410-697-9536 or heather.barrett@maryland.gov.  For information about organizations receiving grants, please contact the institutions directly. 

Announcing the FY2022 Historic Preservation Capital Grant Recipients! 

By Barbara Fisher, Capital Grant Administrator

We are pleased to announce the FY2022 Historic Preservation Capital grant recipients! The Historic Preservation Capital Grant Program provides support for preservation-related acquisition and construction projects, as well as for architectural, engineering, archaeology, and consulting services needed in the development of a construction project. All assisted properties must be either eligible for or listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the list of historic and culturally significant properties maintained by the National Park Service. Nonprofits, local jurisdictions, business entities, and individuals may apply for up to $100,000 per project. Projects compete for funding out of our $600,000 program allotment each year. 

In FY2022, MHT received more than 40 applications requesting a combined total of over $3.2 million, which demonstrates a very strong demand for this funding.  MHT awarded seven preservation projects throughout the state, including a unique window restoration, a 19th century bank barn, and the home of a significant civil rights advocate. Read more about all our newly funded capital grant projects below.  

Chase-Lloyd House, Anne Arundel County ($99,000) | Sponsor: Chase Home, Inc.

Located in downtown Annapolis, the Chase-Lloyd House was completed by noted colonial-era architect William Buckland in 1774. The house is associated with Samuel Chase, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, among other prominent figures in early Maryland and American history. For over 130 years the house served as an independent living facility for elderly women, but is now used as the headquarters for the facility operator, Chase Home, Inc. The grant supports the restoration of the large, Palladian window, a dominant feature visible from the entry hall, stairway, and surrounding garden of this three-story Georgian mansion. Named for Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, these three-part windows derived from classical forms and were often incorporated into the design of wealthy American homes in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. 

Image by MHT Staff

Charles H. Chipman Cultural Center, Wicomico County ($100,000) | Sponsor: The Chipman Foundation, Inc.

The Charles H. Chipman Center is the oldest African American congregation and the first site for African Americans to hold religious services in the region during and after slavery, the first school for children of freed slaves in the region, and the first Delmarva high school for African American children after the Civil War. The original church dates to 1838 but has been enlarged and evolved stylistically to what you see today. The building currently serves as a cultural center and small museum focusing on African American heritage on Delmarva. The wood shingle roof of the building has reached the end of its useful life, so the capital grant funds will help replace the roof in-kind. 

Image by MHT Staff

Buckingham House and Industrial School Complex – Bank Barn, Frederick County ($100,000) | Sponsor: Claggett Center

Established in 1898 to provide housing and education for boys in poverty, the Buckingham Industrial School for Boys includes a 6,300 square foot, hemlock-framed Pennsylvania Bank Barn. The barn represents a type of large agricultural outbuilding found throughout central and northern Maryland, and still retains its original pine siding, wood roof and interiors. These barns were generally built into the side of a small hill and have an earthen ramp which provides access to a second floor. Capital grant funds will help restore the barn’s doors and stone cheek walls and reconstruct the roof vents to match the original design. The barn will be used as a meeting space and for youth summer camp programming. 

Image by grantee

Elk Landing – Stone House, Cecil County ($61,000) | Sponsor: The Historic Elk Landing Foundation, Inc.

The Stone House at Elk Landing, built in 1782-83, is significant for its architecture and association with early Scandinavian and Finnish settlement in Maryland.  Its simple fieldstone construction, center hall plan (although missing due to deterioration), and symmetrical massing are characteristic of late 18th-century vernacular dwellings in northeastern Maryland. The house includes a rare exterior-corner fireplace that is vented at the eaves (pictured below). More typical in Maryland is the other fireplace in the house, which are found back-to-back at interior corners and share a common chimney stack that exits at the roof ridge. The Historic Elk Landing Foundation currently operates the house for historical interpretation and fundraising activities, although limited due to its condition. Capital grant funds will help restore the stone fireplaces and exterior masonry work. 

Image by grantee

Parren J. Mitchell House and Cultural Center, Baltimore City ($100,000) | Sponsor: Upton Planning Committee, Inc.

This property is best known as the long-time home of Parren J. Mitchell, a renowned professor, scholar, and Maryland’s first African American U.S. Congressman, serving from 1971-1987. A WWII veteran and Purple Heart recipient, Mitchell also helped found the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1950 he won a landmark legal case against the segregated University of Maryland to allow him admission into their graduate school. He became the first African American to graduate with a master’s degree from the University, and his case is considered instrumental in desegregation of higher education in Maryland. Capital grant funds will help complete an overall interior and exterior rehabilitation of the house, which has a planned use as a community and resource center.

Image by grantee

Easton Armory, Talbot County ($90,000) | Sponsor: Waterfowl Festival Inc.

The imposing Easton Armory, also known as the Waterfowl Building, reflects the period when armories were built to resemble fortresses. Built in 1927, the building served as an armory and social space for the Easton community until it was acquired by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources in 1976. Since 1997, the building has primarily served as administrative headquarters for Waterfowl Festival, Inc., providing space for staff, volunteers, storage, and is also used as an event space. Capital grant funds will help complete the rehabilitation of several original metal windows.  

Image by MHT staff

Hays House, Harford County ($50,000) | Sponsor: The Historical Society of Harford County, Inc. 

Constructed ca.1788, the Hays House was originally owned by Thomas A. Hays, the cartographer of the earliest known map of the town.  It is the oldest private residence in Bel Air, distinguished by its gambrel roof – the only one in town. The house has not been altered much over time; however, in 1960, preservation advocates moved it one block from its original site to save it from demolition. Hays House now serves as a house museum and the headquarters of the Historical Society of Harford County. The capital grant project will assist in restoring the north wall, which is severely deteriorated due to prolonged moisture issues. 

Image by MHT staff

***If you intend to apply for the FY2023 Historic Preservation Capital grant round, please join us for workshops and webinars this fall. Information will be posted on the program website and shared through our listserv and social media accounts. Online applications will be due in March 2023.

Guest Blog: The Montgomery County Emory Grove

By Morgan Miller-Scarborough, Independent Historian 

A photo of Emory Grove United Methodist Church taken in 1974 (courtesy of MHT)

A little over one year ago, the Maryland Historical Trust published a Facebook post about the Emory Grove Camp Meeting in Glyndon, Maryland. However, there was another Emory Grove Camp Meeting in Gaithersburg, Maryland. They were two completely different camp meetings that were not related to one another. Although much of Gaithersburg’s Emory Grove community has been lost, the site and its history still serve as an exceptional example of African American heritage in Montgomery County.

I came to know this difference in Emory Groves through my research on the town of Washington Grove; another Maryland Methodist camp meeting that ended up dissolving the Camp Meeting Association and becoming incorporated as a town in the 1930s. I learned that these two camp meetings were essentially next to each other. Today, you will see Washington Grove in a state of incredible preservation, but you will then not be able to really see where the Emory Grove camp was.

The Emory Grove United Methodist Church is the only building left standing from the Emory Grove Community and their camp meeting days. Despite being one of the oldest black communities in the county, the area has been largely replaced with apartment buildings and suburban development. The Emory Grove Camp Meeting and the Emory Grove Community were established between 1864 and 1870 when formerly enslaved people moved from Redland and Goshen and purchased land. The first church and school started in 1876 at the home of John Dorsey, a Civil War veteran who had begun working in the Lord’s service after he won his freedom. An African American public-school system was inaugurated in 1872 and the camp meetings were generally a place for people to gather for song and praise services.

Although it is cited as one of the more popular camp meetings in Maryland, in 1876 the people of Emory Grove had lost the right to use the campground that had been in use for two previous years. The newspapers of the time did not report why this happened, but the camp was able to resume in 1879. During the interim time the Christian Advocate, a popular Methodist newspaper, called on nearby Washington Grove to open their camp meeting to the people of Emory but not help them maintain their autonomy. This meant that the newspaper did not call for Emory Grove to have the management of the land returned. After this call to open their camp, Washington Grove then printed an invitation on July 25, 1877 in the Montgomery County Sentinel for the people from Emory Gove to worship there. Emory Grove and Washington Grove had more interactions over the years, but the relationship did not reach the same closeness as it did in 1877.

The camp meetings of Emory Grove ended in the 1960s and the land was largely rebuilt in the 1970s. The Emory Grove community is now spread out over the state but the congregation is still thriving to this day.

For more information on the Emory Grove United Methodist Church:

https://emorygrovechurch.org/

To see my walking tour of Washington Grove and Emory Grove:

https://www.theclio.com/tour/1169

Sources:

Martha M. Hamilton, “Emory Grove: ‘There weren’t a lot of people but they were close-knit,’” The Washington Post, May 26, 1977, accessed December 5, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1977/05/26/emory-grove-there-werent-a-lot-of-people-but-they-were-close-knit/6e080ac7-fb3d-4eec-90f4-f6eb8da01783/.

“History of Emory Grove United Methodist Church,” Vision/History, Emory Grove United Methodist Church, accessed March 5, 2020, https://emorygrovechurch.org/mission/.

Maude Taylor, Dedication Notes for Emory Grove Park Fall 1974, found in the Emory Grove Camp Meeting Grounds Maryland Historical Trust Inventory Form for State Historic Sites Survey, August 28, 1974, https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/Medusa/PDF/Montgomery/M;%2020-8.pdf.

“Camp,” Montgomery County Sentinel, July 25, 1877. Found at the Maryland State Archives (MSA SC 2813).

Philip K. Edwards, Washington Grove 1873-1937: A History of the Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association (Washington Grove: Philip K. Edwards, 1988).



Guest Blog: Historic Tiffany Window Restoration Project at Lovely Lane United Methodist Church

by: Reverend Deb Scott and Jackie Noller, Chair, Lovely Lane 21st Century Committee

After her recent visit to historic Lovely Lane United Methodist Church, Melissa Lauber, the Director of Communications for the Baltimore Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, made the following observation: “On a pilgrimage, one crosses a threshold from the ordinary to the extraordinary. The beige and colorless overtones of everyday life are swept away by insights and experiences as the possibilities of living in full color open before you. In its simplest forms, pilgrimage is a journey toward the sacred. These journeys exist in almost every culture throughout history. Hearts are enlivened and lives are changed. But the journey doesn’t have to be gilded in lofty ideals.

Everyday adventures – when marked by intention – allow you to step outside your daily boundaries and be somehow transformed. In many ways tourists, who travel to see and marvel, resemble pilgrims. Their itineraries and destinations are often the same; but pilgrims carry with them a unique quality of curiosity. Their hearts stand wide-open and interior and exterior boundaries blend in unusual ways as they seek a sense of discovery and meaning. Pilgrims, said theologian Richard Niebuhr, are poets who create by taking journeys.’” We at Lovely Lane are so grateful to the Maryland Historical Trust for its vision to co-partner to make this capital project possible, making a historic site a destination for both tourism and pilgrimages (Photos #1 and 2).

  Photo #1 – Lovely Lane United Methodist Church         

Photo #2 – Sanctuary Interior, Lovely Lane United Methodist Church            

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church houses the Mother Church of American Methodism in Baltimore.  Our extant building was dedicated in 1887 as the centennial monument to the founding of American Methodism. Stanford White — of the New York City firm of McKim, Mead & White — designed the church under the supervision of the pastor, Rev. John F. Goucher. The church was built in the Romanesque style similar to early churches and basilicas in Italy. The church sanctuary and connected chapel occupy over 17,000 square feet, showcasing original black birch altar woodwork, Lathrop and Tiffany windows, a painted celestial ceiling and pipe organs. The square tower, patterned after a 12th century church near Ravenna, Italy, lights the night sky.  The building has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1973.

In July 2020, MHT awarded a $100,000 grant from the Historic Preservation Capital Grant Program to Lovely Lane to restore 19th century Tiffany windows in the building’s chapel adjacent to the church sanctuary.  The church’s building committee applied for the grant to help finance a catalytic multi-component capital project begun in 2019 to restore and rehabilitate underused space in its building.  The larger project goal is to promote greater public use of the historic building and enhance revenue diversity by creating the Lovely Lane Arts & Neighborhood Center within the walls of this urban location. With decades of sound stewardship in place, the congregation believes our well-cared for property is best positioned with rehabilitation to serve the underserved with dignity and to share space with other organizations sustainably.

Restoration of the Tiffany windows in the chapel portion of the 1887 building helped ensure a weather-tight building fabric. With the subsequent installation of a cooling system in this space, the chapel will be able to comfortably host future public performances and exhibitions. The committee hired the restoration firm Worcester-Eisenbrandt, Inc. (WEI) to carry out the exacting work in the fall and winter of 2021. The scope of work included restoration on three floor levels of the chapel’s historic windows: 1) 12-foot archtop-stained-glass windows on the main floor; 2) eyebrow windows on the mezzanine level; and 3) exterior dormer windows on roof level that provide light into interior clerestory tri-partite stained-glass windows (Photo #3).  Each level required different restoration work and budgetary prioritization.       

Photo #3 – Exterior view of above-grade Chapel exterior with 3 levels of historic windows

Main floor windows had the sash removed and restored at WEI’s mill shop, and the frames were restored by field craftsmen. The cloudy acrylic panels were removed from the sash and either disposed or used as temporary protection for the eyebrow and dormer openings while the sashes were removed.  Larger acrylic panels were inserted into wood frames and used as protection at the first floor (Photo #4, 5 and 6). The existing glazing putty and the glass were removed and set aside.

Photo #4 – Exterior window removal                      
Photo #5 – Interior after removal           
Photo #6 – Installation of temporary acrylic panels

Sash and frames were stripped of paint and repaired with epoxy or Dutchmen.  The glass was reinstalled after the repairs had cured, and then both the frames and sash were primed and painted. There was no missing stained glass, and any cracks were stabilized and sealed with Hxtal. New 1⁄4-inch acrylic was installed as storm panels on the archtop windows to restore a more luminous transparency, and all sashes were reinstalled (Photos #7 and #8).

Photo #7 – Exterior view, restored archtop windows                                 
Photo #8 – Interior view, restored archtop windows                       

Mezzanine and dormer levels restoration work included replacement of water damaged sills and hardware.  Adjustments were made to the flashing at the eyebrows and dormers to make each weather tight (Photos #9, 10 and 11).

Photo #9 – Restored mezzanine + dormer windows
Photo #10 – Restored hardware/etched glass, mezzanine window    
Photo #11 – Interior view of restored dormer window sash

One interesting feature of this work to date is its all-female leadership. From left to right in the Photo #12 below are:  Cailin McGough, Cap Ex Advisory Group, the owner’s representative or contractor project manager; Rev. Deborah Scott the church pastor in charge of contract negotiation; Katherine Good, Waldon Studio Architects, architectural project manager; and Amy Hollis from Worcester-Eisenbrandt, Inc., contractor project manager.

Photo #12 – Lovely Lane windows restoration team                                   

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church leaders believe continued fundraising success will permit the final restoration of the remaining archtop stained-glass windows on the Chapel’s main floor and South Tower.  Completion of this work will provide additional transparency so that increased daylight will illuminate the building’s interiors as the windows were so designed to do when the building was dedicated in 1887. (Photo #13).

Photo #13 – Exterior view of restored (left) vs unrestored windows (right)

To learn more about MHT’s Historic Preservation Capital Grant Program please visit the program website.

Baltimore’s Chinatown

MHT has an ongoing project to document Asian American heritage in Baltimore City and the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, with funding from the National Park Service’s Underrepresented Community Grant program. Check out this research update from architectural historian Nicole A. Diehlmann of RK&K who is working on this exciting project!

Large-scale immigration from China to the United States began in response to the discovery of gold in northern California in 1848. Many immigrants arrived in San Francisco from the Guangdong province in southern China, which had suffered from political instability and natural disasters. Seeking opportunity in the United States, Chinese immigrants first found employment in northern California’s gold mines and later on the Transcontinental Railroad. When the railroad was completed in 1867, some Chinese workers began to move out of California to the eastern United States.

Chinese immigration to Maryland did not accelerate until the late nineteenth century. The 1870 census indicates only two Chinese people living in the state. Ten years later, that number had only increased to five, but by 1890, there were 189 Chinese people living in Maryland. In 1900, the number had nearly tripled to 544 individuals—480 were foreign born residents, while 64 people had been born in the United States. The vast majority, 426 individuals, lived in Baltimore City. Most lived near the intersection of Marion and Liberty Streets, not far from Baltimore’s bustling port in the Inner Harbor. This area, which became known as “Chinatown,” was the residential and commercial center of the Chinese immigrant community. Some Chinese people lived outside of Chinatown, but still within the city, particularly those who operated laundries, which were found throughout Baltimore. Others lived outside of the city, such as members of the Lee family who were vegetable farmers in Lansdowne. As the number of Chinese residents in the Baltimore area grew, they established organizations and businesses to provide social, economic, and political support for the growing community.

1901 Sanborn Map indicating “Chinese Joints” and a Chinese Restaurant at the northwest corner of Park and Marion Streets in Baltimore (LOC).

Historic maps and newspaper articles record the history of these early immigrants. Language in these newspaper articles reflected prevailing attitudes of Caucasians toward Asian immigrants at the time, and the articles often used derogatory terms and condescending tone, at best treating the traditions and customs of the Chinese community as novel spectacle and at worst with derision.  Many newspaper articles relate to police raids, illustrating the suspicion and over-policing suffered by Chinese residents; however, they also provide a wealth of details about the people and places associated with the Chinese community. Chinatown contained a diverse mix of businesses and residences. Many of the buildings were multipurpose, housing businesses, restaurants, and domestic and religious spaces under one roof. The 1890 Sanborn fire insurance map indicates Chinese laundries at 10 Park Avenue and 677 West Baltimore Street. The 1901 Sanborn map indicates a Chinese restaurant at 114 Park Avenue and other establishments referred to as “Chinese Joints” just west along Marion Street. Lum Bing was the proprietor of the restaurant on the second floor of 114 Park Avenue, according to an 1896 Sun article. The building also housed the San Francisco–based Chinese importing firm of Quong Hing Lung Chong Kee & Company, which was run by Lee Yat and Hop Lung, as well as residences. The family of Lee Yat lived at 311 Marion Street. An 1894 Sun article noted that the Lee’s two daughters were the first Chinese babies born in Baltimore. Mee Lim was the proprietor of the Park Avenue restaurant in 1923. Upon his death he had an estate worth over $12,000 dollars that was distributed to the School Board as he had no heirs. In addition, the 1901 Sanborn map indicates a Chinese laundry at 102 Liberty Street that was operated by Wang Sing and Su Hong in 1899 and Der Pop in 1902, all of whom also lived in the building. At 208 West Fayette Street, there was a “Joss House,” which is the English term for a Buddhist or Taoist temple or altar.

1914 Sanborn Map indicating Chinese restaurants, dwellings, and a Joss House along Marion and West Fayette Streets, west of Park Avenue (LOC).

The 1914 Sanborn map shows a three-story Joss House at 217 Marion Street, two three-story Chinese-occupied dwellings at 203 and 205 Marion Street, and a restaurant at 202 West Fayette Street. 203 Marion Street was noted in an 1894 Sun article as a store operated by Joe Kee, who operated the Chey Shing Chung & Co., a Chinese grocery, dry goods, and embroidery dealer. 217 Marion Street was called a “Chinese resort” with Ah Goo as the proprietor in a 1901 Sun article about a police raid on the property where 13 individuals were arrested for playing fan-tan, a 2,000-year-old gambling game that Chinese immigrant workers brought to the United States. The 1914 Sanborn map indicates that 217 Marion Street also housed a Joss House, which was likely installed circa 1903. That Marion Street house was also the site of a celebration recognizing the new Republic of China and the rise to leadership of Sun Yat Sen in 1912, when a flag of the new republic was hung from the second story and a picture of Sun was placed on the wall. The restaurant at 202 West Fayette was called the Empire and was operated by Der Doo. In 1919, Rector’s Chinese and American restaurant, under the management of Dr. Wu, opened along the same block at 208 West Fayette.

Articles in the Sun from this era describe various Chinese cultural traditions from the perspective of white observers. An 1895 article describes Teng Meng, a day where offerings are left on the graves of ancestors. It notes that eight wagons left from the Chinese Masonic Temple in Baltimore—three went to Cedar Hill Cemetery on what is now Ritchie Highway in Anne Arundel County and five to Mount Olivet Cemetery on Frederick Road, where there were eight Chinese graves. The article states that offerings of “boiled chicken, bananas, raisins, nuts, cigarettes, opium and whisky” were left at the gravesites. A 1903 Sun article described the Lunar New Year celebration in Chinatown, noting that the Chinese grocery and supply stores and restaurants did great business serving the growing Chinese community. The festival, which traditionally lasts two to four weeks in China, occurred over four days in Baltimore due to “the restrictions placed on the enthusiasm of the celebrants by the police.”

Feeling development pressure from the booming department stores and five-and-dime stores along North Howard and West Lexington Streets, the center of Chinatown moved northward along Park Avenue to West Mulberry Street after World War I. The buildings north of Marion Street were demolished circa 1929 to make way for an expansion of the Julius Gutman Company department store. There were many Chinese businesses and residences along the 300 and 400 blocks of Park Avenue and the 200 block of West Mulberry Street. The 1922 Polk’s Baltimore City Directory lists six Chinese goods dealers on these blocks. The Baltimore branch of the On Leong Merchant’s Association was established in 1920 and had offices at 215 West Mulberry Street, but later moved 323 Park Avenue.

The On Leong Chinese Merchant’s Association moved to this building at 323 Park Avenue in 1950. (Nicole Diehlmann 2021)

Baltimore City’s Chinese population began to decline during the Great Depression. A Sun article from 1937 noted that “Baltimore’s 400-odd Chinese are scattered about, although they once lived homogeneously in the neighborhood about Mulberry Street and Park Avenue.” The article notes that those remaining in Baltimore still engaged in trades such as restaurants and laundries, although some became noodle manufacturers such as Tom You, proprietor of the Quong Chow Noodle Company at 209 West Mulberry Street.

Chinatown continued to shrink in the post–World War II era. The north side of the 200 block of West Mulberry Street was demolished for a parking garage by 1952, and buildings on the south side were slowly demolished over the late twentieth century. Other businesses opened outside of Chinatown, like the China Clipper at 1003 North Charles Street and the New China Inn at 2426 North Charles Street. Some growth continued to occur within Chinatown, however, as landmark restaurants, such as the White Rice Inn at 320 Park Avenue and the China Doll at 406 Park Avenue, opened in Chinatown in the 1940s. A combination of urban renewal in the late 1950s and the repeal and creation of several national laws in the 1960s led to an exodus of many Chinese Americans from Baltimore to the suburbs. By 1963, 2,188 Chinese people resided in Maryland, and of those, only 748 lived in Baltimore City. Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968 removed barriers to race-based discrimination and allowed Chinese and other Asian Americans to freely move to suburban areas, further continuing the decline in Baltimore City’s Chinese population.

Buildings on the 300 block of Park Avenue, at the center of Chinatown, continue to house variety of Chinese businesses and organizations (Nicole Diehlmann 2021)

The changes in the Baltimore Chinese community and the decline of Baltimore’s Chinatown were noted in a 1969 Sun article. Mrs. George Tang stated that Chinese serving in World War II gained new skills that allowed them to get jobs in new industries. Their prosperity allowed their children to attend college and embark on careers far different from the laundry and restaurant jobs that were the mainstay of the earliest Chinese immigrants. She further noted that they “have a freer kind of existence. They’re accepted by the rest of society.” New businesses and a small Caucasian “Bohemian population” were changing the composition of Chinatown. In the mid-1970s, the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association attempted to acquire land at Park Avenue and Mulberry Street for a 14-story Asian Culture Center, but their effort was unsuccessful. Many buildings formerly occupied by Chinese immigrants in Chinatown are currently vacant and in poor condition; however, the vestiges of this once vital Chinese community are still apparent and worthy of preservation.

Architectural Survey on Smith Island

by Allison Luthern, Architectural Survey Administrator

Historical architectural survey describes the process of locating, identifying, and recording historic places. It is the important initial step of all historic preservation activities – we need to start by understanding what exists where. The Maryland Historical Trust has supported architectural survey since our founding in the 1960s. The results of our architectural surveys are contained within the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP).

MHT’s Historic Preservation Non-Capital Grant Program recently funded survey work by architectural historian Paul Touart in Somerset County, including properties on Smith Island. Smith Island is the last surviving inhabited island off the shores of Maryland in the Chesapeake Bay. Early in its history, the island was occupied by the Pocomoke and Assateague peoples, Native American tribes who also lived along the Eastern Shore streams. The first English landowner was Henry Smith (the island’s namesake) in the middle of the 17th century. Anglo-Americans continued to inhabit Smith Island through the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.  

Smith’s Island, Lake, Griffing & Stevenson Map, 1877.

The recent survey project documented one of the oldest surviving buildings on Smith Island, known as Black Walnut Point. Its inventory number in the MIHP is S-536-6. The architectural survey provides a physical description of the house: It has a two-story, three-bay side hall/parlor plan main block supported on a stuccoed masonry foundation with an exterior sheathed in beaded weatherboards. The gable roof is covered with wood shingles. Attached to the back of the main block is a two-story, two-part service wing that dates from the third quarter of the 19th century, around 1860-70.

Black Walnut Point, photo by Paul B. Touart

The survey also details the property’s history through its ownership by two prominent Smith Island families, the Tylers and Marshalls. Today, it is the Smith Island Education Center.

Black Walnut Point, photo by Paul B. Touart

Beginning in the second half of the 19th century through the early 20th century, the Lower Shore region experienced growth and economic prosperity associated with new railway lines, agriculture, and the seafood industry – the latter being particularly important for Smith Island. During this time period, each of the three Smith Island communities (Tylerton, Ewell, and Rhodes Point) built a new Methodist church building. These three churches were also surveyed in our recent project.

Ewell United Methodist Church (S-536-1) is a single-story, gable front building on a raised, rusticated block foundation. It has a symmetrical façade and is topped by a square belfry. It was built in 1939-40 on a site that has long been associated with the practice of Methodism. Adjacent to the church is a parsonage, a tabernacle, and a cemetery.

Ewell United Methodist Church, photo by Paul B. Touart

Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church (S-536-4) is located in the center of Rhodes Point. It is a single-story, L-shaped building with a marble date stone that reads: “1921 / Calvary M.E. Church / Reverend J.L. Derrickson.” It is also surrounded by a large cemetery with both in-ground and above ground vaulted burial plots.

Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church, photo by Paul B. Touart

The third church, Union Methodist Episcopal Church (S-536-8), is in Tylerton. It was built around 1920-1930, using salvaged materials from an earlier 1896 church. It is a rectangular shaped church on a raised, rusticated block foundation with a large columned projecting pavilion flanked by towers. Like many historic Methodist churches, the sanctuary inside is on the upper level.

Union Methodist Episcopal Church, photo by Paul B. Touart

If you want to learn more, you can view all MIHP survey records, including more properties on Smith Island, on our website, https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/medusa/.