Announcing FY2020 MHT Capital Grant Recipients!

By Barbara Fisher, MHT Capital Grant Administrator

We are pleased to announce the FY2020 MHT Capital grant recipients!  The MHT Capital Grant Program provides support for preservation related construction projects as well as for architectural, engineering, archeology, and consulting services needed in the development of a construction project.  Acquisition of properties can also be funded.  All assisted properties are required to be either listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  Nonprofits, local jurisdictions, business entities, and individuals are all eligible.  Projects compete for funding out of our $600,000 program allotment and may request up to $100,000 per project.  

MHT received more than 40 applications for projects in FY2020, requesting over $2.7 million, which demonstrates the very strong demand for this funding. Ten projects were awarded funding for preservation projects throughout the state. MHT is excited to support these sites, which include unique projects such as saving a railroad tower from demolition, inspection of an unusual structural buttress, and restoring Tiffany & Company windows.  Read more about all our newly funded capital grant projects below. 

B&O WB Tower, Frederick County ($15,000) | Sponsor: Mayor and Council of Brunswick

Constructed circa 1910, the B&O WB Tower is the westbound railroad tower for the Brunswick stop and the last tower in operation on the line when it closed in 2011. This vernacular structure is an example of a typical building type for the B&O Railroad at that time. The tower is another link to Brunswick’s strong association with the railroad and interpreting local railroad history. The tower has been given to the City of Brunswick by CSX. Capital grant funds will be used to save the tower from demolition by moving it to a nearby parcel.

B&O WB Tower in Brunswick

Bostwick House, Prince George’s County ($76,000) | Sponsor: George A. and Carmel D. Aman Memorial Trust

Bostwick House is one of four pre-Revolutionary war structures in Bladensburg. Built in 1746 for a prominent merchant, the two-and-a-half-story brick house dominates the property that overlooks the Anacostia River at the former Port of Bladensburg. Capital grant funds will be used for a structural analysis and repairs on the buttress at the south elevation. The buttress was damaged by a microburst weather event in 2012, and then partially deconstructed and studied to understand its purpose as a structural element. 

Structural buttress at Bostwick, then (1890) and now, Bladensburg

Calvin B. Taylor House, Worcester County ($45,000) | Sponsor: Berlin Heritage Foundation, Inc.

The Calvin B. Taylor House is an 1832 front-gable dwelling with Federal and Greek revival architectural features. The house type and style is distinct to Berlin and Worcester County. ​Today the property houses a museum and has been meticulously restored and furnished to reflect domestic life in the 1830s. The wood shingle roof of the building has reached the end of its useful life, so the capital grant funds will be used to replace the roof in-kind. 

Christ Rock M.E. Church, Dorchester County ($13,000) | Sponsor: The Friends of Stanley Institute, Inc.

Christ Rock Church was constructed in 1875. Along with the Stanley Institute School, they are the focus of the African American settlement that arose at Christ Rock, outside of Cambridge, just after the Civil War. The church is no longer used for religious purposes and is now a community center. As part of an ongoing capital project, the church has completed repairs to the building as well as interior work, including faux wood grain restoration. Capital grant funds will be used to repaint the exterior to protect the wood siding, which will help the church reach its final steps to completing their overall capital project. 

Christ Rock M.E. Church, outside Cambridge

Ebenezer A.M.E. Church, Baltimore City ($100,000) | Sponsor: Ebenezer Kingdom Builders Inc.

Built in 1865 for a congregation organized in 1836, Ebenezer A.M.E. Church is thought to be the oldest standing church in Baltimore that was erected by African Americans and continuously occupied by the descendants of the same congregation. This brick Gothic Revival church has a prominent bell tower and the parish house is located in an adjoining rowhouse. Capital grant funds will be used to complete replacement of the slate roof repair, which has reached the end of its useful life.

His Lordship’s Kindness, Prince George’s County ($100,000) | Sponsor: John M. and Sara R. Walton Foundation, Inc.

His Lordship’s Kindness, a National Historic Landmark, is known for its landscape, variety of original outbuildings, and the main house, Poplar Hill. The two-story brick, five-part house is an exemplary specimen of Georgian architecture. The capital grant funds will be used for urgent work on both the main house and outbuildings, where priorities have been identified including woodwork and roof repairs.  

Outbuildings at His Lordship’s Kindness, Clinton

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church, Baltimore City ($100,000) | Sponsor: The Trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the City and Precincts of Baltimore

Constructed 1882-1887, Lovely Lane Methodist Church is the Mother Church of American Methodism and was designed by noted architect Stanford White, of McKim, Meade, and White in the Romanesque Revival style. The entire exterior is constructed of gray ashlar rock-face Port Deposit granite. The chapel has 27 original stained glass windows made by Louis C. Tiffany and Company. The capital grant funds will be used to restore and repair the stained glass windows, which depict beautiful abstract shapes and colors. Several windows were intended to be temporary, installed before the building’s dedication, and are considered rare. The church has also received a $250,000 National Fund for Sacred Places grant, the only one in Maryland. 

Lovely Lane United Methodist Church, Baltimore City

Mount Clare Museum, Baltimore City ($11,000) | Sponsor: The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Maryland, Inc.

The Mount Clare Mansion is an 18th century five-part Georgian house with reconstructed wings and hyphens. Also a National Historic Landmark, the house historically belonged to the Carroll Family and is now a public museum with meeting space, while the grounds are part of Carroll Park. Capital grant funds will be used to repair the exterior doors of the house that were badly damaged during an attempted break-in. 

National Park Seminary, Montgomery County ($100,000) | Sponsor: Save Our Seminary at Forest Glen Inc.

In 1887, National Park Seminary was originally constructed as a resort hotel, but spent most of its existence as an educational facility or under ownership of the U.S. Army. In 1927 the grand ballroom, in Ament Hall, was added. Unlike other structures on the campus, the ballroom has Gothic rather than Beaux-Arts features. Capital grant funds will be used to restore all 14 stained glass windows in the grand ballroom. The comprehensive repair of these windows addresses the last major component of the revitalization of the seminary complex’s main building.

Schifferstadt Architectural Museum, Frederick County ($40,000) | Sponsor: Frederick County Landmarks Foundation, Inc.

The Schifferstadt Architectural Museum is one of America’s finest examples of German colonial architecture. A National Historic Landmark, it is one of the earliest known homes in Frederick, and is an outstanding example of a Georgian-period house, influenced by German-American culture and building traditions. Comprised of two sections, a mid-18th century main block of fieldstone construction and an early 19th century brick addition, the highly intact interior retains numerous ethnically German features that speak to the heritage of immigrant Josef Brunner, who was responsible for the house’s construction. The capital grant funds will be used to prevent further water intrusion into the house by repairing windows and doors, installing a gutter system, and interior and exterior repointing of the masonry walls. 

***If you are planning to apply for the FY2021 MHT Capital grant round, workshops will be held this fall and applications will be due in March 2021. Workshops and other information will be announced on the MHT website, through our listserv, and social media accounts. For more information about the MHT Capital Grant Program, please contact Barbara Fisher, Capital Grant Administrator, at barbara.fisher@maryland.gov. 

2020 Brings Staff Transitions at MHT

The Director and staff of the Maryland Historical Trust are pleased to recognize three of our own who are assuming new positions within the agency!

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On January 15, longtime Easement Administrator Kate (Bolasky) Jaffe began her new position as the Administrator of the Preservation Financial Incentives unit within the Office of Preservation Services (OPS). 

A graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, Kate developed her interest in historic preservation at an early age from her father, an architect whose passion was the restoration of historic structures. Through her work in the easement program for the past 4 ½ years, Kate has managed more than 900 historic properties statewide and provided technical advice and guidance to countless property owners, architects, and consultants with project rehabilitation plans and application of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards.

Kate’s experiences have spanned the east coast from her upbringing in Pennsylvania immersed in both the vernacular and high style of Pennsylvania German architecture, to earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Historic Preservation amid the Lowcountry heritage of Savannah, Georgia. Kate’s broad-based knowledge of building history, materials, and construction techniques across the Mid-Atlantic and southern states will no doubt continue to benefit MHT in her new position.  

With this new position, Kate will supervise and lead the Preservation Financial Incentives Unit within OPS, overseeing tax credits, easements, and capital grants and loans programs.  Congratulations, Kate – and good luck!

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On January 29, Allison Luthern started her new position as Architectural Survey Administrator in the Office of Research, Survey, & Registration (ORSR).  She will primarily be responsible for overseeing additions to the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP). She will also participate in grants management related to the survey and documentation of standing structures, conduct architectural fieldwork, and provide technical assistance related to historic buildings.

As MHT’s Easement Inspector for three-and-a half years, Allison has completed inspections and conditions assessments on hundreds of historic properties across the state. This experience with historic building fabric and the diverse architecture of every region of the state will greatly benefit her new position. Her knowledge of the MIHP and experience with survey work gained during her education at the University of Mary Washington and Appalachian State University will be a valuable asset in ORSR.

Allison’s enthusiasm for historic buildings is evident, and there are sure to be many discussions about Maryland buildings as we traverse the State. As Allison says, “Few things excite me more than a stuffy attic with a tilted false plate, molding profiles, or a good eighteenth-century brick privy.” She joins a team of other historic building-lovers in ORSR, who can ponder a building’s evolution for hours, or who become giddy when seeing rare architectural evidence in a building. Orlando Ridout V, who served as ORSR’s Chief for many years, often said: “You’re either born a surveyor, or you’re not.” Well, welcome to the team, Allison!

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Also, on January 29, OPS welcomed Barbara Fisher as our new Capital Grant Administrator.  As part of the OPS grant team, Barbara will be responsible for administering the MHT Capital Grant Program and will also be involved with grant projects that have received funding through the African American Heritage Preservation Program.

Barbara is well-versed in project review and historical research for National Register nominations, with experience as a Section 106 reviewer at the Georgia SHPO and as an architectural historian in Portland, Oregon. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Historic Preservation from Shepherd University and a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Since coming to MHT two years ago, she has worked in ORSR as an Architectural Survey Data Analyst, helping to identify re-survey needs and strategic opportunities for new survey work as well as enhancing our searchable database.  In her new position, she’ll be putting her hands-on experience from SCAD to good use in assisting grantees with their construction projects.

A native of Maryland, Barbara is thrilled to work with her fellow Marylanders to preserve the state’s historic resources. The OPS grant unit strives to directly support local communities in saving cherished sites, and we are delighted to add such a talented and enthusiastic member to the team!

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With all these changes occurring since the start of the new year, keep an eye out on our homepage in the right-hand sidebar for our open recruitments.  We’d love to have you join our team!  Applications are only open for two weeks, though, so check back frequently!

Announcing FY2020 AAHPP grant recipients!

We are pleased to announce the FY2020 African American Heritage Preservation Program (AAHPP) grant recipients! Twelve projects were awarded funding for preservation projects throughout the state. Jointly administered by the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust, the AAHPP provides capital funds to assist in the preservation of buildings, sites, or communities of historical and cultural importance to the African American experience in Maryland. The Commission and MHT are excited to support these projects, which include unique sites such as a World War II memorial park, an early 20th century bowling alley, a historic swimming pool, and tunnels that were part of the Underground Railroad.  Read more about all our newly funded projects below.

If you are planning to apply for funding for a project, the FY2021 grant round will begin in the spring of 2020, with workshops in April and applications due in July. For more information about the AAHPP, please contact Charlotte Lake, Capital Grant and Loan Program Administrator, at charlotte.lake@maryland.gov. For information about organizations receiving grants, please contact the institutions directly.

Project: Sotterley Plantation: Slave Cabin – Hollywood, St. Mary’s County ($78,000) Sponsor: Historic Sotterley, Inc.

Sotterley Plantation is a 1703 Tidewater plantation with more than 20 original buildings still standing. After its restoration, the 1830s slave cabin was dedicated to Agnes Kane Callum, a Baltimore resident whose great-grandfather was born enslaved at Sotterley, and who was instrumental in telling the story of Sotterley’s enslaved community. The grant project will include repairs to the cabin as well as accessibility improvements to the paths leading to it.

Project: Fairmount Heights World War II Monument –Prince George’s County ($12,250) Sponsor: Town of Fairmount Heights

The Fairmount Heights World War II Monument was built in 1946 to honor local citizens who served in the armed forces during World War II. The grant project will include repairs to the monument and site improvements within the park.

Project: Liberty Grace Church of God: Bowling Alley – Baltimore City ($100,000) Sponsor: Liberty Grace Church of God, Inc.

Liberty Grace Church of God was built in 1922 and has an early 20th century bowling alley in its basement. This historic bowling alley will be restored to working order. Read more about the bowling alley in our earlier blog post!

Project: Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church – Cambridge, Dorchester County ($100,000) Sponsor: Eastern Shore Network for Change, Inc.

The Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church was constructed in 1903 and is the oldest African American church still standing in Cambridge. This grant will fund structural repairs to the church, as well as repairs to windows and doors.

Project: Emmanuel Episcopal Church: Tunnels – Cumberland, Allegany County ($100,000) Sponsor: Emmanuel Episcopal Parish Incorporated

Emmanuel Episcopal Church was built atop the remains of Fort Cumberland, forming a series of tunnels beneath the church that eventually came to be used as shelter by African Americans escaping slavery on the Underground Railroad. Local oral traditions describe a quilt panel with a cross on a hill representing Emmanuel Episcopal Church as a stop on the road to freedom. This project will improve lighting and ventilation in the tunnels, as well as improve accessibility for visitors touring the tunnels.

Project: Warren Historic Site: Warren United Methodist Church and Martinsburg Negro School – Dickerson, Montgomery County ($100,000) Sponsor: Warren Historic Site Committee, Inc.

The Warren Historic Site is likely the last in Maryland where the traditional triad of buildings constructed in most post-Emancipation African American communities – the church, school, and lodge hall – still exist. The grant project will include roof and foundation repairs on the church, as well as roof, foundation, and floor repairs on the school.

Project: McConchie One-Room School – La Plata, Charles County ($99,000) Sponsor: Charles County Fair, Inc.

The McConchie School was constructed around 1912 to serve African American children in central Charles County. The school was closed in 1952, was converted to a residence, and had been abandoned by 1980. The Charles County Fair purchased and moved the building to the fairgrounds in 1990. The grant project will include structural repairs so that the school can continue to be used as a museum.

Project: Zion United Methodist Church – Federalsburg, Caroline County ($100,000) Sponsor: Zion ME Church

Zion Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1931 and features stained glass windows and ornamental woodwork on its tower. The grant will fund accessibility and drainage improvements to the site, as well as structural repairs to the building.

Project: Robert W. Johnson Community Center: Swimming Pool – Hagerstown, Washington County ($100,000) Sponsor: Robert W Johnson Community Center, Inc.

In 1959, the North Street Swimming Pool was constructed as part of the Robert W. Johnson Community Center in Hagerstown’s Jonathan Street Neighborhood. It was the only pool in the city where African Americans could swim, and the pool itself is relatively unchanged since it was built. The grant project will repair the swimming pool so that it can be returned to community use.

Project: Ellsworth Cemetery – Westminster, Carroll County ($65,000) Sponsor: Community Foundation of Carroll County, Incorporated

Six African American Union Army veterans established the Ellsworth Cemetery in 1876 to provide a burial place for the African American residents of Westminster. The grant project will include mapping of the cemetery and conservation of grave markers.

Project: Asbury M.E. Church – Easton, Talbot County ($100,000) Sponsor: Historic Easton, Incorporated

Asbury M.E. Church was dedicated by Frederick Douglass in 1878. The church also served as a temporary high school for Black students in the 1930s and is now both an active church and a community center. Grant funding will be used to make structural repairs and accessibility upgrades to the fellowship hall within the church.

Project: Fruitland Community Center, Wicomico County ($44,000) Sponsor: Fruitland Community Center, Inc.

In 1912 local community members built the Morris Street Colored School, now known as the Fruitland Community Center, for Wicomico County’s African American children. The building is still used for educational purposes, with summer and after school programs for children as well as an archive. The grant project will include roof replacement, accessibility improvements, and upgrades to the electrical and mechanical systems of the building.

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Fort Frederick Colored School

By Peter Morrill, Curator Program Manager, Department of Natural Resources

Along the south side of Big Pool Road in Washington County, Maryland, sits a non-descript vacant house.  It’s easily overlooked by passersby, but hidden beneath additions, layers of asphalt “brick” and aluminum siding, lies a 19th-century one-room schoolhouse built to serve the area’s African American community.  Though it is not immediately recognizable by the casual observer as a school, a closer look reveals that much of the school’s original fabric remains intact and waiting to be restored in order to tell its story about Maryland’s racially segregated past and one of the county’s most interesting families.

The Fort Frederick Colored Schoolhouse, or the Williams Schoolhouse as it is also known, survives despite later alterations, including the porch and two-story addition at right.

In 1857 Nathan Williams, a free black man, purchased about 115 acres of land in Washington County, including the remains of the colonial Fort Frederick, and began what would become a successful farming operation.  Beginning in the 1870s, the family operated a schoolhouse for local African American children; family members also taught at the school.  By 1892, a 36’ by 24’ by 12’ frame school had been constructed by the county and was designated the “colored” school for the Indian Springs Election District, #11.  The teacher was Charles A. Williams, and the school enrolled 14 pupils.  By 1895, it was determined that this schoolhouse was unsatisfactory and that a new one should be built.  For $3, the Williams family deeded a quarter-acre parcel of their land to the county for the erection of a new school.  This school was completed by 1900 for a cost of $297.76 and remained in service until 1914, when it became a residence.  Over the years, the original one-room schoolhouse became virtually unrecognizable: the door was relocated, porches were added, and the interior was divided into three rooms.  A two-story addition was also added to the west, further obscuring the tiny school’s historic form.  The house has long been known as the Hornbaker House after the family who owned the house from 1950 until 1973, when they sold it to the State for inclusion into Fort Frederick State Park, which had been formed in 1922.  The Maryland Department of Natural Resources rented the property as a residence for a number of years, but it is now vacant.

DNR staff, including Charlie Mazurek, Historic Preservation Planner (second from left), and Peter Morrill, Curator Program Manager (right), have been instrumental in raising awareness of the importance of this structure and in seeking funding for its preservation.

Thanks to a generous grant from the African American Heritage Preservation Program[AR1] , donations from the Friends of Maryland State Parks and the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Department of Natural Resources will begin to peel back the layers and restore the schoolhouse to its circa 1900 to 1914 appearance.  In collaboration with staff from the Maryland Historical Trust, selective demolition has been carried out to begin to identify the original locations of windows and doors, identify later additions to the structure, and document these changes prior to the beginning of restoration work.  In the coming months, later additions will be removed and the exterior of the schoolhouse will be returned to its former appearance for the first time in over 100 years.  Once complete, the school will serve as a gateway to Fort Frederick State Park and an educational center to interpret the rich history of the Williams Family and the experience of African American families living in Washington County after the Civil War and emancipation.


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Curator Program Manager Peter Morrill looks for physical evidence
of the schoolhouse’s historic form and finishes.

Further reading:

Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties form: https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/medusa/PDF/Washington/WA-V-206.pdf

Preservation Maryland Six-to-Fix: Historic Resources in Maryland’s State Parks: https://www.preservationmaryland.org/programs/six-to-fix/projects/current-projects/historic-resources-in-marylands-state-parks/

 [AR1]Link to: https://mht.maryland.gov/grants_africanamerican.shtml


Black Panther’ – History and Archaeology of a U-boat

Upcoming Lecture – 7:00 pm October 15, 2019

U-1105 ‘Black Panther’ – History and Archaeology of a U-boat

Speaker: Aaron Stephan Hamilton

Author of German Submarine U-1105 ‘Black Panther’ The Naval Archeology of a U-boat

Tickets are free, but each individual must register to guarantee seating. Register here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/u-1105-black-panther-history-and-archaeology-of-a-u-boat-tickets-68283262075

U-1105 was the last German U-boat to cross the Atlantic. It departed England for Portsmouth, New Hampshire on 19 December 1945 under the command of U.S. Navy LCDR Hubert “Hugh” T. Murphy.  LCDR Murphy and a prize crew of 38 delivered U-1105 after a harrowing 14-day crossing.  They endured winter storms, heavy seas, and mechanical failures throughout their voyage without being briefed on the importance of their mission.  The crew speculated and “agreed about why it was so necessary to get this one back to the states.  .  .  the boat was built in 1943 and had snorkeling equipment for charging batteries while submerged.  .  . it was completely covered with rubber coating to help escape our sonar and their periscope and optical equipment [was] better in some ways than ours.  The batteries could go longer without charging and required less watering.”  (December 12, 1985 letter from William Ferguson who served on Murphy’s prize crew during U-1105’s Atlantic crossing).

Figure 1. US Navy LCDR Hubert T. Murphy receiving the Bronze Star
(Photo courtesy of Janet Murphy).

The specific combination of technologies on U-1105 attests to a dramatic shift in U-boat tactics in response to Allied victories during May 1943.  U-1105 was the only Type VIIC U-boat equipped with a snorkel, the rubber coating Alberich and the advanced hydrophone array GHG Balkon that conducted a wartime patrol.  It represents a critical evolutionary stage in the development of the modern submarine. 

Figure 2. U-1105 ‘Black Panther’ maneuvering in Holy Loch, Scotland in 1945.
(Photo courtesy of the Royal Navy Submarine Museum).

The Maryland Historical Trust is hosting a lecture on October 15, 2019 at 7:00 pm by Aaron S. Hamilton, author of German Submarine U-1105 ‘Black Panther’ The Naval Archeology of a U-boat, published June 2019.  It is a must-read for individuals intending to visit the U-1105 ‘Black Panther’ Historic Shipwreck Preserve or the exhibit at the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum.  Aaron is an academically trained historian and member of the Battle of the Atlantic Research and Expedition Group who has spent the past six years researching U-1105 as part of a broader study of the technical and tactical evolution of the U-boat in the last year of WWII.  

Figure 3. Aaron Stephan Hamilton at the U-1105 ‘Black Panther’ Historic Shipwreck Preserve.

Join MHT on October 15th to learn more about the history of U-1105 and how it ended up at the bottom of the Potomac River.  Aaron will also show a ten-minute film of U-1105 taken by the U.S. Navy in 1948 during salvage training. This film has never been seen by the public.

Follow the links below to learn about the U-1105 ‘Black Panther’ Historic Shipwreck Preserve and the Piney Point Lighthouse Museum:

https://mht.maryland.gov/archeology_U1105.shtml

https://www.stmarysmd.com/recreate/PPL/