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.

3D Visualization for Archaeology and Open Educational Resources (OER)

By Chris Givan (JPPM Digital Education Coordinator) and Noah Boone (JPPM Digital Education Content Developer)

Photogrammetry is a technique for creating 3D models, which is increasingly common in cultural and research contexts. At Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum, we’ve been using photogrammetry to create models of archaeological sites and artifacts that may not be accessible to visitors or which may be of interest to folks for whom the park is inaccessible because of its location. Thanks to a project funded by an IMLS CARES Act Grant for Museums and Libraries, we’ve begun to provide photogrammetric models as Open Education Resources (OER) and are exploring how to replicate, at home or in the classroom, the experience of visiting archaeological sites or interacting with artifacts.

Photogrammetry software creates 3-dimensional data by analyzing photos taken at multiple angles around a subject. This can be done using a variety of programs, both proprietary (Agisoft Metashape, Reality Capture, etc) and free-and-open-source (Meshroom, MicMac, etc). This process requires a high degree of overlap between photos by moving the camera or subject in small increments, such as with small rotations on a turntable. The programs identify like points between these photographs and construct a 3-dimensional point cloud (below, left). This point cloud can then be further processed to create a 3-dimensional model that can be viewable and distributable for a variety of purposes (below, right).

Side-by-side comparison of a point-cloud, left, and a mesh, right, in Agisoft Metashape. The rectangles surrounding and overlapping the image are Agisoft’s estimation of where the camera was when a corresponding photograph was taken.

Photogrammetry is incredibly scalable and results are primarily dependent on camera equipment. This method can be used with drone photography for creating models of landscapes and buildings and macro-photography can even be used to create models of insects. Photogrammetry offers many exciting possibilities to look at things in a different light and look at things at angles or scales that would otherwise not be possible.

We’re using our models from photogrammetry in a number of ways. First, we will be making models available as resources for anyone with a use for them on JPPM’s SketchFab page. SketchFab is a website for hosting and sharing 3D models, which includes contributions from cultural institutions around the world. We particularly like SketchFab because museum accounts allow you to restrict downloads if dealing with artifacts or sites for which you have received permission to make the models viewable but not redistributable.

Below are two objects on SketchFab that we have scanned with photogrammetry. The model of the site known as Sukeek’s Cabin includes annotations, an additional benefit of using SketchFab that allows us to add educational content directly to models.

However, publishing on SketchFab does limit interactivity and we want to replicate some of the physicality of visiting sites or seeing artifacts up close. There are also practical limits to what can be included in annotations. To achieve more interactivity we’re using the service Genial.ly. SketchFab models can be embedded directly into Genial.ly “microsites” with rich media or additional interactivity. Below, we used photogrammetry to model an “alphabet plate” found at Sukeek’s Cabin. We’ve used Genial.ly to simulate another dimension of “handling” the object by encouraging viewers to reassemble 2D views of the fragments. Even though this additional interaction is 2-dimensional, it derives from photogrammetry of the plate. On an interesting note, we were able to do this by photographing the plate while it remained in its display at JPPM’s Visitor’s Center, and the interaction we’ve simulated is not actually possible in person given preservation needs.

To enable even more interactivity, we’re using Unity, a game engine for creating both 3D and 2D content. Unity is commonly used for indie games but its streamlined experience and support for computers, mobile devices, and web browsers makes it excellent for education–as does a large community of users and assets to help speed development. By shifting from SketchFab and Genial.ly, where we’re limited to either visualizing a model in 3-dimensions or simulating additional interactions with the model from 2-dimensional perspectives, Unity enables interaction with archaeological sites and artifacts from the first person perspective or with controllers that do a better job approximating the feel of an object.

In the video below, you can see a very early experience of “walking” around the Sukeek’s Cabin site here on park property. Despite the ghostly reconstruction (because parts of it are hypothetical or not known with confidence*), there is still a sense of hominess when inside and the stairs in the corner invite further exploration. In the distance, we have added a representation of the Peterson house. Newly emancipated, Sukeek and family were still living within sight of their former captor’s home. From the first person perspective, the house feels watchful–a feeling difficult to replicate in SketchFab or Genial.ly, missing from the site today, but true to the limits newly-freed families often found on their freedom.

A user explores the virtual environment around the Sukeek’s Cabin site. The photogrammetric model is visible on the ground as are interactive hotspots. A “ghost” of the home can be toggled on and off to get a sense of what it would have looked like.

We use these results in Open Education Resources (OER): free and openly-licensed resources that encourage reuse and remixing. (For more information, see this explainer from the University of Maryland or visit our Provider Set on OER Commons for examples.) For OER, photogrammetry offers a way to present lots of information with each resource. Photos and videos preserve how an artifact or archaeological site looks from a limited set of views, but digital models can preserve how a subject looks from any point of view, even those that may not be practically accessible. Where photogrammetry excels as an educational tool, though, is in approximating being able to tangibly interact with an artifact or site. While most interactions still rely on 2D screens, the opportunity to move and manipulate 3D models within those 2D interfaces helps replicate some of the sense of holding an object. As AR/VR and 3D printers improve, having a 3D model of an artifact or site will only improve in educational effectiveness.

*In addition to the current staff at JPPM, we are indebted to conversations with Kirsti Uunila and Ed Chaney for guidance on how the cabin would have looked.

Freedmen’s Communities in Maryland

After years of African American resistance to slavery and self-emancipation, as well as investment as Union soldiers in the Civil War, Maryland abolished slavery in 1864 when voters approved a new state Constitution.[1] Land ownership carried important practical and symbolic protections following emancipation – property served as a homeplace for Black families that white enslavers had separated, as a means for self sufficiency through farming and raising livestock, and as an important message of individual rights and citizenship. In these post-war years, some white landowners sold property to African Americans, although this land was often less than ideal; it might be swampy or have dense forests that needed to be cleared.[2] Despite these challenges, African Americans developed small enclaves of houses and farms that grew in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These communities also built churches, schools, and fraternal organization lodges.[3]

Some of these important places have been documented in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (MIHP) – our repository of places with known or potential value to the history of the State of Maryland. We have provided some highlights below and encourage you to share in comments if you know of other communities near you!

Rossville, Prince George’s County

Located north of Beltsville in Prince George’s County, Rossville’s origins date to 1868, when six African American men purchased a third of an acre of land to construct Queen’s Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church. Prior to the purchase, local African Americans had already created a cemetery on the property. The first church was a small log structure that burned in the late 1890s, but Queen’s Chapel continues to exist today in a 1956 brick building across Old Muirkirk Road from the cemetery and original site.

Queen’s Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church, Prince George’s County (PG:62-21). Photo source: MIHP

In the 1880s, more land in the Rossville area became available after the death of a local white farmer. African Americans, many of them employed at the nearby Muirkirk Iron Furnace, purchased 12 surveyed lots and soon built residences. A fraternal organization called the Benevolent Sons and Daughters of Abraham also purchased a lot and constructed a lodge in 1889. This organization served a very important role in the community by providing social services and financial assistance to members in a time when many white institutions refused to work with African Americans. This building – a two-story, front-gabled frame structure – still exists and now is home to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Black History Program.

Abraham Hall, Prince George’s County (PG:62-7). Photo source: MHT staff

The lodge building also served as a school for the first two decades of the twentieth century. However, Rossville residents pressured the County Board of School Commissioners for the construction of a dedicated school in the community. A building committee of local community members supervised the construction of a new school in 1922, which was partially funded by the Julius Rosenwald Fund’s School Building Program. (Philanthropist and former president of Sears, Roebuck and Company Julius Rosenwald created this special program to provide communities and local boards of education with financial and technical assistance for the construction of new, state-of-the art school buildings in 15 states in the rural south.) The school had two rooms with a capacity of 48 students. Today, the former schoolhouse serves as the American Legion Post 235.

Bacontown, Anne Arundel County

In 1860, the locally prominent Dorsey family freed an enslaved woman named Maria Bacon and gave her 30 acres of property. Sources indicate that Bacon was already living on this land prior to her manumission. Bacon, her three children, and several other manumitted African Americans formed the community known as Bacontown in northwestern Anne Arundel County near the Howard County line. The oldest building in the area is the late nineteenth-century Mary Elizabeth Henson House, the home of founder Maria Bacon’s daughter.

Mary Elizabeth Henson House, Anne Arundel County (AA-893). Photo source: MIHP

Like Rossville, Bacontown also had a fraternal organization lodge built by the Benevolent Sons and Daughters of Abraham, a cemetery, and a church. The Bacontown community constructed the existing Mt. Zion Church building in 1913, which replaced an earlier log church that previously stood nearby. The stucco-covered Mt. Zion Church with a center steeple and entry reflects Gothic Revival architecture, a style that was common in late nineteenth and early twentieth-century church buildings.

Mt. Zion Church, Anne Arundel County (AA-892). Photo source: MIHP

Unionville, Talbot County

On the Miles River Neck, a cape northeast of Easton, eighteen African American Union soldiers returned from Civil War service and founded the town of Unionville. A local white man named Ezekiel Cowgill sold and leased lots to them with the intent of creating a new community. (Cowgill was a Quaker, a religion with many adherents who were abolitionists in the years before the Civil War.) The name that the founders chose for the town sent a significant and courageous statement in an area where many white residents supported the Confederacy.

In 1892, in the center of town, local community trustees constructed St. Stephen’s A.M.E. Church, detailed with Gothic Revival features including a pointed arch door and window openings and a three-story, pyramidal roofed tower. To the rear of the church is a cemetery where all 18 of the founding Civil War veterans are buried: John Blackwell, Ennels Clayton, Isaac Copper, John Copper, Benjamin Demby, Charles Demby, William Duane, William Doran, Horace Gibson, Zachary Glasgow, Joseph Gooby, Joseph H. Johnson, Peter Johnson, Edward Jones, Enolds Money, Edward Pipes, Henry Roberts, and Matthew Roberts.

St. Stephens A.M.E. Church, Talbot County (T-789). Photo source: MIHP

To serve as a school building for Unionville, the Talbot County School Board relocated an existing school from McDaniel, a small town northwest of St. Michaels, during the Great Depression in 1932. As described in a reminiscing newspaper article, movers hauled the circa 1910 school building across the land and the structure traversed the Miles River on a purpose-built scow (a wide, flat-bottomed boat). The building, built with frame construction, lapped wood siding, and a steeply pitched clipped gable roof, ceased operations as a school in 1957.

Unionville School, Talbot County (T-794). Photo source: MIHP

Freedmen’s communities tell important stories in the history of Maryland. Some of them have been destroyed, and others are threatened by development and systemic economic disinvestment. Documenting these places in the MIHP is one way to help preserve their legacy. You can search the MIHP via MHT’s cultural resource information system, known as Medusa, on our website: https://mht.maryland.gov/secure/medusa/.


[1] “A Guide to the History of Slavery in Maryland,” Maryland State Archives and University of Maryland College Park, February 2008, https://msa.maryland.gov/msa/intromsa/pdf/slavery_pamphlet.pdf.

[2] George W. McDaniel, Hearth and Home: Preserving a People’s Culture (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982), 188-190.

[3] Michael Bourne, Orland Ridout V, Paul Touart, and Donna Ware, Architecture and Change in the Chesapeake (Crownsville, MD: MHT Press, 1998), 10.

Maryland Heritage Areas Funding Helps Share the Story of Frederick Douglass

By Ennis Barbery Smith, Assistant Administrator, Maryland Heritage Areas Program  

Public domain image of Frederick Douglass from the Met, Rubel Collection, via Wikimedia Commons

Frederick Douglass – the widely recognized abolitionist, human rights activist, orator, writer, and son of Maryland’s Eastern Shore – is one of the original pillars of Black History Month. Although documentation indicates he was born in February 1818, he did not know the exact date. After fleeing Maryland to self-emancipate, he chose to celebrate his birthday on February 14, and celebrations of February 14 as “Douglass Day” popped up shortly after his death in 1895. Eventually, Carter G. Woodson laid the foundations of Black History Month in February – in part – because Black communities were already celebrating Douglass’s life and contributions around this time.  

While the exact date was uncertain, Douglass knew the location. In the first chapter of one of his autobiographies, he says, “I was born in Tuckahoe, near Hillsborough, and about twelve miles from Easton, in Talbot County, Maryland.”  

The entrance to Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe
Photo by Mark Sandlin, provided courtesy of Talbot County Tourism

The new Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe is taking shape as a place where visitors can come to reflect on Douglass’s time in Maryland, not just during Black History Month, but in any season – even during a pandemic, when many indoor history museums have limited capacity.   

Talbot County acquired the 107 acres of shoreline and wetlands for the park in 2006 using Program Open Space funding. Cassandra Vanhooser, Talbot County’s Director of Economic Development and Tourism, said that it was clear to her immediately when she learned about this land, in close proximity to Frederick Douglass’s privately owned birthplace, that the new park was well positioned to honor Douglass’s legacy and to share the story of his life with visitors.

The County pulled together a team of historians, local leaders, and Frederick Douglass descendants to guide the development of the new park. In 2018, the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) awarded a matching grant to Talbot County for the creation of two plans:  a master plan to map out the park’s infrastructure and an interpretive plan to explore the stories that the park will evoke for visitors. After a series of public meetings and many hours of behind-the-scenes work, the County hopes to share these plans with the public in March of 2021. 

A view of the landscape at Frederick Douglass Park on the Tuckahoe
Photo by Mark Sandlin, provided courtesy of Talbot County Tourism

Ms. Vanhooser described the park’s unspoiled wetlands and viewshed, saying, “This is the landscape into which Douglass was born, the world that shaped his youth.” She went on to say “What Douglass was able to accomplish in his life is extraordinary by any measure. His words transcend time and place. They are as inspiring today as they ever were, and that is why we are telling Frederick Douglass’s story here.” 

When visitors make their way to the park today, they will find serene, undeveloped views of the Tuckahoe River, evocative of what Douglass would have seen in his lifetime. Four new interpretive signs located at the park describe Douglass’s life on the Tuckahoe, his journey away from Maryland to freedom, and his important roles as a conductor on the Underground Railroad and as an internationally recognized voice for the abolition of slavery.  

Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford unveils one of the new interpretive signs on September 1, 2020.
Photo by Melissa Grimes-Guy, provided courtesy of Talbot County Tourism

The park is also one stop on a series of four driving tours, shared here, that guide visitors through the landscapes and the places that Douglass experienced in Talbot County. The new interpretive signs and the website showcasing the driving tours were funded in part by the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area (SCHA), with funds from MHAA.   

Gail Owings, Executive Director of SCHA, spoke of the importance of the new park. She said the local heritage area is thrilled to be able to support the County’s efforts. She added “the views of the landscape and water – they set the stage for Douglass’s life,” emphasizing how closely tied the park’s viewsheds are with what Douglass would have seen in his youth, an important time that he reflects on in his writings.  

Visitors can also explore Douglass’s connections to other regions of Maryland by following this state-wide driving tour developed by Maryland Office of Tourism

Announcing FY2021 African American Historic Preservation Program Grant Recipients!

By Charlotte Lake, Ph.D., Capital Grant and Loan Programs Administrator

We are pleased to announce this year’s African American Heritage Preservation Program (AAHPP) grant recipients! This is the tenth year of grants since the program’s launch, marking $10 million total in funding awarded to 128 grant projects. The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust jointly administer this program to promote the preservation of Maryland’s African American heritage sites. Grants fund construction projects at important sites throughout the state. This year’s projects include museums, cemeteries, an interpretive memorial, a historic lodge, community centers, and a historic school. Read more about our newly funded AAHPP grant projects below.

Project: Laurel Cemetery – Baltimore City ($88,000) | Sponsor: Laurel Cemetery Memorial Project, Inc.

Incorporated in 1852 as Baltimore’s first nondenominational cemetery for African Americans, Laurel Cemetery became known as one of the most beautiful and prominent African American cemeteries in the city. Descendants attempted to purchase the cemetery, but the owner prevailed against their legal challenges and leveled the cemetery for development in 1958. As a result, much of the cemetery currently lies beneath the parking lot of the Belair-Edison Crossing Shopping Center. Grant funds will support repairs to the retaining wall and construction of a pathway with interpretive signage in the unpaved portion of the cemetery, where recent archaeological investigations have identified undisturbed burials.

Project: Historic Oliver Community Firehouse – Baltimore City ($100,000) | Sponsor: African American Fire Fighters Historical Society, Inc.

Baltimore’s African American Fire Fighters Historical Society will use grant funds to acquire the historic firehouse, Truck House #5, through the City’s Vacants to Value program. The overall project will rehabilitate the building and convert it into the International Black Fire Fighters Museum & Safety Education Center.

Project: African American Heritage Center – Frederick, Frederick County ($100,000) | Sponsor: The African American Resources-Cultural and Heritage Society Incorporated

Grant funds will support the creation of a new center for African American heritage within a commercial space inside a modern parking garage. The project will reconfigure the commercial space and add accessibility improvements so that it can be used for exhibits, collections, and public programs to share Frederick County’s African American heritage and present this history within a broader regional and national context.

Carver School, photo courtesy of City of Cumberland

Project: Carver School – Cumberland, Allegany County ($100,000) | Sponsor: Mayor and City Council of Cumberland

Built in 1921 to accommodate the growing African American population of Cumberland, Carver School (previously known as Cumberland High School and the Frederick Street School) soon attracted students from outside Allegany County, including attendees from nearby areas of West Virginia. The school was renamed in 1941, when Principal Bracey held an election and students voted to name the school after Dr. George Washington Carver, who consented by letter to having the school named after him. The grant will fund necessary repairs to the building so that it can be rehabilitated for community use.

Project: Diggs-Johnson Museum – Granite, Baltimore County ($100,000) | Sponsor: Friends of Historical Cherry Hill A.U.M.P., Inc.

The Cherry Hill African United Methodist Church, now known as the Diggs-Johnson Museum, was built in the late 19th century, and functioned as a church through the 1970s before its conversion to a museum in the 1990s. The museum documents the history of the African American community of Baltimore County, and in particular the enslaved and free African Americans of Granite, many of whom worked the area’s granite quarries. The grant project will fund repairs to the church’s foundation and grave markers in its burial yard.

Kennedy Farmhouse, photo courtesy of John Brown Historical Foundation

Project: Kennedy Farm / John Brown Raid Headquarters – Sharpsburg, Washington County ($99,000) | Sponsor: John Brown Historical Foundation, Inc.

This grant will fund repairs to the timber and chinking of the Kennedy Farmhouse, a log building used as the headquarters by John Brown and his band in planning their famous raid on Harper’s Ferry. While the raid was planned, the farmhouse also served as living quarters for the five African American members of the band:  Dangerfield Newby; Lewis Leary; Shields Green; John Copeland, Jr; and Osborn Anderson. The raid on Harper’s Ferry is considered a pivotal moment in the lead-up to the American Civil War.

Project: Galesville Community Center – Galesville, Anne Arundel County ($45,000) | Sponsor: Galesville Community Center Organization, Inc.

Of the fifteen schools in Anne Arundel County built using money provided by the Julius Rosenwald Fund, which supported the establishment of African American schools throughout the southern United States, only six survive today. The grant project will fund repairs to the roof, siding, and windows of the Galesville Rosenwald School, built in 1929, which now serves as a vibrant community center.

Howard House, photo courtesy of Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Project: Howard House – Brookeville, Montgomery County ($100,000) | Sponsor: Department of Natural Resources – Maryland Park Service

The Howard House, currently in ruins, is the last intact building associated with Enoch George Howard. Born enslaved, George Howard purchased his freedom and eventually became a prosperous landowner, donating land to establish Howard Chapel and a community school. The grant project will restore the stone house’s exterior to its original appearance for interpretive use.

Project: Bazzel Church – Cambridge, Dorchester County ($100,000) | Sponsor: Good Shepherd Association

In 1911, the Bazzel Church was either built on or moved to its current site, where the original 1876 chapel stood before it burned down. The church, located in Bucktown, is best known for its association with Harriet Tubman, whose family members reportedly worshipped at the original church building. Initial stabilization of the church was completed in the summer of 2020, and the grant will fund the next phase of repairs, eventually leading to the rehabilitation of the building for use as an interpretive center.

Project: Mt. Zoar AME Church – Conowingo, Cecil County ($32,000) | Sponsor: Mount Zoar African Methodist Episcopal Church

Mt. Zoar African Methodist Episcopal Church was built in 1881 and the earliest known burial in the adjacent cemetery dates to 1848. Over 30 veterans are buried in the cemetery, including soldiers whose graves are marked with Grand Army of the Republic flag holders. The grant project will fund repairs to the cemetery and grave markers.

Prince Georges African-American Museum & Cultural Center, photo courtesy of Prince George’s African-American Museum & Cultural Center at North Brentwood, Inc.

Project: Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center – North Brentwood, Prince George’s County ($20,000) | Sponsor: Prince George’s African-American Museum and Cultural Center at North Brentwood, Inc.

Through exhibitions and educational programs, the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center shares the county’s untold stories of African Americans. The grant-funded pre-development project will involve the design of facility renovations and an addition to provide support space and affordable housing space for African American artists.

Project: Millard Tydings Memorial Park – Havre de Grace, Harford County ($25,000) | Sponsor: The Sgt. Alfred B. Hilton Memorial Fund, Inc.

Established as Bayside Park in the late 1800s, Millard Tydings Memorial Park includes recreational amenities as well as memorials to those who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Grant funds will help construct a new monument dedicated to Sergeant Alfred B. Hilton, Harford County’s only recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. The monument will include permanent interpretive material about Sgt. Hilton and the role of his U.S. Colored Troops regiment in the Civil War.

Project: Union of Brothers and Sisters of Fords Asbury Lodge No. 1 – White Marsh, Baltimore County ($91,000) | Sponsor: The Union of Brothers and Sisters of Fords Asbury, Inc.

In 1874, Dr. Walter T. Allender constructed and donated this building to the Baltimore County School Commissioners for use as an African American School, initially known as Colored School 2, District 11. The Union of Brothers and Sisters of Ford’s Asbury Lodge No. 1, an African American benevolent society, held monthly meetings on the second floor of the school building until 1922, when Baltimore County Public Schools donated it to the lodge. The grant project will fund repairs and accessibility improvements that allow the building to be used by the public again.

If you are planning to apply for funding for an AAHPP project, the FY2022 grant round will begin in the spring of 2021, with workshops in April and applications due July 1. For more information about AAHPP, please visit our website or contact Charlotte Lake, Capital Grant and Loan Programs Administrator, at charlotte.lake@maryland.gov.