Today is International Women’s Day and we are shining a spotlight on world-renowned conservator and paint analyst, Dr. Susan Buck! Susan has worked in the field of paint and finishes analysis since 1991 and completed her PhD in Art Conservation Research at the University of Delaware in 2003 where she won an outstanding dissertation award from the College of Arts and Sciences. Her private conservation work includes analysis and treatment on objects and architecture for many institutions including the World Monuments Fund Qianlong Garden Conservation Project in The Forbidden City in Beijing. Susan has conducted paint analysis on numerous buildings throughout Maryland and MHT is lucky to have worked closely with her on major restoration projects such as the Maryland State House, the old Treasury Building, and the James Brice House.
Paint is one of the most prominent features of any given space, whether it is on the exterior covering of the dome of the State House or the interior finishes of the main rooms of the Brice House. Proper analysis of paint layers is essential, therefore, to understanding the original colors as well as the pigments and various ingredients used in each layer. During the State House dome restoration, Susan constructed a full chronology of paint layers from the most recent all the way to its original construction. Her analysis concluded that the dome was painted approximately 20 to 30 times in 235 years—and identified the soft, creamier color now visible on the dome. Her analysis also helped to determine proper preparation of surfaces and makeup of the paint ensuring a successful restoration. Her work at the Old Treasury has helped to determine the earliest window configurations as well as identifying a redwash that covered the brickwork.
Susan worked both inside and out at the James Brice House collecting samples from the interior plaster finishes and walls, the woodwork, the exterior cornice, and even a yellow wash on the brick masonry. Based on her analysis, paint and plaster conservators are able to recreate painted finishes throughout. For example, she discovered 16 layers of paint in the entry, beginning with a deep yellow distemper on top of a sanded plaster which gave the appearance of stone. There are three different generations of modern plaster skimcoats sandwiched between the 16 generations of surviving wall paints in this cross-section, some of which can be related to later paints on the cornice. Conversely, the door leading to the study only had six generations. It is likely that all the woodwork in this room was originally painted blue, and in the cross-section below it is possible to see that the distinctive blue paint became discolored and degraded before it was painted over with the tannish grain-painting sequence in the second generation. Generation 3 is a tan paint, which is followed by later paints that can be aligned with woodwork paints in the entrance hall. The photomicrograph of the paint stratigraphy shows that the earliest three paint generations became quite dirty before being painted over, so considerable time elapsed between those repainting campaigns.
Dr. Susan Buck has been leading the way in paint analysis and conservation for over 30 years, and MHT cannot wait to continue working on projects across the state with her and other visionary women in preservation. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Instagram pages throughout the rest of the month as we highlight projects from the National Park Service Underrepresented Community Grant project that is just wrapping up. This project is documenting sites related to the women’s suffrage movement, and the first post was about 817 North Charles Street in Baltimore.
We are pleased to announce this year’s African American Heritage Preservation Program (AAHPP) grant recipients! Jointly administered by The Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Maryland Historical Trust, the AAHPP promotes the preservation of Maryland’s African American heritage by funding construction projects at significant 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.
Mount Auburn Cemetery – Baltimore City ($100,000) | Sponsor: Mount Auburn Cemetery Company
Dedicated in 1872 and originally known as “The City of the Dead for Colored People,” Mount Auburn Cemetery was one of the first—and now only remaining—cemetery owned and operated by African Americans in Baltimore. It is a unique representation of the values and burial traditions of this community from the late 19th century to the present. Grant funds will support repairs to damaged decorative and security fencing, as well as resurfacing inner roadways.
Hoppy Adams House – Annapolis, Anne Arundel County ($100,000) | Sponsor: Charles W. “Hoppy” Adams Jr. Foundation, Inc.
Celebrated African American radio broadcaster for WANN Annapolis, Charles “Hoppy” Adams Jr was widely known for spreading soul and R&B music to Black and white audiences. Adams hosted popular concerts at Carr’s Beach, an important venue on the “Chitlin Circuit” during segregation. This project will rehabilitate the home Adams built for himself in 1964, which was left to the elements when he passed in 2005. Future phases of work will convert the space into a museum and event space to celebrate the life of Hoppy Adams and the unifying effect of R&B music during this divisive era.
Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church – Arnold, Anne Arundel County ($86,000) | Sponsor: Mount Calvary United Methodist Church
Mt. Calvary United Methodist Church began gathering on this site between 1832- 1842, making it the oldest African American congregation in Arnold. Grant funds will support the replacement of the 40-year-old roof and repairing the deteriorating handicap ramp that is currently causing moisture intrusion for the church, as well as adding a second ramp.
Eastport Elementary School, 3rd Street – Annapolis, Anne Arundel County ($100,000) | Sponsor: The Seafarers Yacht Club, Inc.
Originally built in 1918 as Eastport’s school for African American children, Eastport Elementary School closed when Anne Arundel School finally integrated, nearly a decade after Brown v Board of Education. Today, the building is owned by the Seafarers Yacht Club, Inc., formed in 1959 by a group of Black men with a shared interest in boating. They purchased the vacant building in 1967 after they were inspired to form their own club in response to marinas that routinely refused Black boaters to dock at their piers, as well as yacht clubs that denied membership to Black captains. This grant project will fund interior and exterior repairs and security improvements.
Old Wallville School – Prince Frederick, Calvert County ($27,000) | Sponsor: Friends of the Old Wallville School, Inc.
A representation of the segregated educational facilities of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Old Wallville School is a one-room wooden schoolhouse that was used to educate African American students in the unincorporated village from 1880-1934. In 2006, the building was moved and placed adjacent to Calvert Elementary School. Now restored to its appearance in the early 1930s, it is used as a popular heritage tourism destination. This grant project will fund rot and roof repairs, structural signage replacement, and painting to protect the building from the elements and heavy use.
Parren J Mitchell House and Cultural Center – Baltimore City ($100,000) | Sponsor: Upton Planning Committee, Inc.
Originally built 1880, this rowhome is probably best known for its resident Parren Mitchell, the Black Congressmen to represent Maryland. This renovation project will return the long-vacant building to its historic role as a center of political and social life for the community and region as the new Parren Mitchell Center, which will serve as an events and retreat center. Grant funds will support exterior masonry restoration and repointing, window restoration, and accessibility improvements.
Boyds Negro School – Boyds, Montgomery County ($50,000) | Sponsor: Boyds Clarksburg Historical Society, Inc.
Built in 1895, Boyds Negro School is Montgomery County’s only remaining one-room schoolhouse for African American children that is regularly open to the public. This project will focus on engineering and site work to protect the building and grounds from flooding. It will also add a handicap ramp to make the building ADA accessible.
Richard Potter House – Denton, Caroline County ($50,000) | Sponsor: Fiber Arts Center of the Eastern Shore Inc.
Richard Potter published a book in 1866 – The Narrative of the Experience, Adventures and Escape of Richard Potter – documenting his experiences from when he was kidnapped in Greensboro, Maryland, enslaved in Delaware, and eventual escape and return to Caroline County to what is now known as the Richard Potter House (c.1810). The site is included as part of the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom. This project will restore the first floor of the home to its 1855 interior, using it as a museum and classroom space.
Mt. Zion Memorial Church– Princess Anne, Somerset County ($86,000) | Sponsor: Somerset County Historical Trust, Inc.
Mt. Zion Memorial Church survives as one of the few late-19th century African American churches in Somerset County and its intact condition enhances its architectural significance. Inside, one of the most distinctive features of the building — the early-20th century bead board ceiling – is at risk due to a leaking roof. While Mt. Zion is no longer used to hold regular church services, it does reflect the lasting influence of Methodism on the African American community in Somerset County. Grant funds will repair severe water damage.
New Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church – Berlin, Worcester County ($67,000) | Sponsor: New Bethel United Methodist Church, Inc.
Founded in 1855, New Bethel is the oldest African American Methodist congregation in Worcester County. Known as the Godfather of gospel music, Rev. Charles Albert Tindley was a member of the church in boyhood, and attended when he would visit from Philadelphia as an adult. The grant project will fund roof replacement and carpentry repairs.
Ridgley Methodist Church – Landover, Prince George’s County ($50,000) | Sponsor: Mildred Ridgley Gray Charitable Trust, 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. They will also build an addition to provide support and affordable housing space for Black artists.
St. James African Union First Colored Methodist Protestant Church – Towson, Baltimore County ($30,000) | Sponsor: St. James African Union Methodist Protestant Church, Inc
In 1881, the St. James African Union First Colored Methodist Protestant Church was built on property believed to be the first documented African American landholding in Towson. The church began as a one-story wood-frame building and was raised to two stories in 1906 to accommodate the congregation’s growth. This project will fund structural repairs to the roof framing and chimney, as well as full roof replacement.
Buffalo Soldier Park – Eden, Wicomico County ($74,000) | Sponsor: Greater Washington Dc Chapter Of The Ninth And Tenth (Horse) Cavalry Association, Inc.
Named “Buffalo Soldier House” for his time in the United States 9th Cavalry Regiment Company C, Thomas Polk, Sr. built a two-story home on his property sometime in the late 1920s and rebuilt it in 1962-63 after it was destroyed in a fire. This project will focus on the pre-development and renovations needed to convert his home into the Buffalo Soldier Living History Site, which will include a visitors’ center and exhibit space.
Adams Methodist Episcopal Church and Cemetery – Lothian, Anne Arundel County ($80,000) | Sponsor: Adams U.M. Church
Adams Methodist Episcopal Church site contains two church buildings: the original 1883 church, a simple weatherboard-sided late-Victorian structure; and a more modern brick church, completed in 1968. Work for this project will focus on the brick church and on the graveyard on site.
If you are planning to apply for funding for an AAHPP project, the FY2024 grant round will begin in the spring of 2023, with workshops in April and applications due July 1. For more information about AAHPP, please visit our website or contact Ivy Weeks, Capital Programs Administrator, at email@example.com.
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.
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.
Women in Maryland Architecture – Baltimore Architecture Foundation, Inc.
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.
Recovering Identity: African American Historic Context Study in Frederick County – Frederick County, Maryland
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.
Growing a County: A Study of Anne Arundel’s Agricultural Heritage – Anne Arundel County, Maryland
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.
Modeling Wooden Shipwreck Deterioration in the Potomac River: Interdisciplinary Approaches – Program in Maritime Studies, East Carolina University (via ECU Foundation)
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.
Historic Preservation of Cedar Haven & Eagle Harbor, Maryland – Cedar Haven Civic Association on the Patuxent River, Inc.
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.
Herring Run Park Comprehensive Archaeological Investigations – Towson University
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.
Applegarth Tubman Medicine Hill Historic Preservation Project–Stage Four (MHT) – Applegarth Tubman Medicine Hill Preservation and Education Foundation, Inc.
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.
The Search for Lord Dunmore’s Floating City– Institute of Maritime History, Inc.
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.
St. John’s College Campus History – St. John’s College
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For information about organizations receiving grants, please contact the institutions directly.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
***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.
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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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/.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.