Preparing for Future Floods

By Nell Ziehl, Chief, Office of Planning, Education and Outreach

IMG_3652

Hoopers Island

As we turn from Ellicott City’s disaster response to recovery, and watch hurricanes threaten Florida and Hawaii, it’s hard not to think about all the places throughout Maryland that are prone to flooding. We built our earliest towns, cities, roads and rail lines along the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. As ports and fishing industries boomed, we developed more. And let’s be honest: we all love to live and play near water.

IMG_8038

Westernport, located on the Potomac

With support from the National Park Service and the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund,the Maryland Historical Trust has hired Preservation Design Partnership, LLC to help us think about how to plan for and adapt historic buildings and districts threatened by flooding from tides, coastal surges, flash floods and sea level rise. Earlier this summer, we accompanied Dominique Hawkins and her team to riverine and coastal communities in western Maryland, Cecil County, Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County, and the Eastern Shore, to try to get a handle on what property owners and local governments face when preparing for floods.

IMG_3739

Mill No. 1 on the Jones Falls in Baltimore City

Before the end of the year, we hope to release a paper to help guide our agency, local governments and partner organizations as we consider how to maintain the integrity of our irreplaceable historic sites while preparing for increased flooding and precipitation. I’m sure we won’t have all the answers, but it will, we hope, be a starting point for a conversation that we look forward to continuing with all of you.

Cumberland’s Youth Summit

By Kathy McKenney, Historic Planner/Preservation Coordinator, City of Cumberland

With a Certified Local Government grant from the Maryland Historical Trust, the Cumberland Historic Preservation Commission and staff have partnered with Braddock Middle School to develop a first-ever Youth Summit. During the 2015-2016 school year, this project is bringing together local youth, educators, and preservation partners to investigate and engage with historic places in our city. The summit will give participating students real-world experience with a day focused on hands-on preservation maintenance and intensive sessions on using architecture as artifact, archival research, and place-based interpretation. Summit participants will visit, discuss, and analyze designated historic sites such as churches, the C&O Canal, and the Footer Dye Works Building. The students will craft stories about these places for their peers and the community at large. Project partners include the City of Cumberland’s Historic Preservation Commission, Allegany College of Maryland, the National Park Service C&O Canal National Historical Park, and Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority.

Cumberland Youth Summit 1

Visit to Dan’s Rock

On October 16, 2015, eighth grade students traveled to Dan’s Rock to understand cultural landscapes and to begin learning more about their community, while discussing “sense of place” and what places were important to them within their community. They began to interpret the layers of human visitation to the site over the years and asked other visitors to the site about their experiences and what drew them there. The students developed a hashtag to begin using for social media posting: #SaveOurHistory #BraddockSummit2015.

On October 23rd, students, accompanied by a staff member from Cumberland’s Economic Development department, traveled to five Cumberland neighborhoods (Dingle, Decatur Heights, Johnson Heights, White Oaks, and Rolling Mill) to learn more about cultural and architectural resources. They visited sites both with and without formal designation, such the city’s working class neighborhoods ranging from mid-nineteenth century to mid- century modern. Students selected a neighborhood for further research and are now learning more about documenting resources. The students will craft stories about these places for their peers and the community at large.

Cumberland Youth Summit 2

Youth Summit Neighborhood Visits – Decatur Heights

On November 20th, members of the project team, as well as staff from the Allegany County Library System, met with the students in the classroom to introduce them to sources for continuing their neighborhood research. Their research will result in the preparation of a report that they will present to the Cumberland Mayor and City Council at a public meeting in the near future. In the spring of 2016, students will participate in activities including a service learning project in and around Canal Place, a hands-on preservation maintenance opportunity and an additional heritage tourism activity. We’re looking forward to the results of this great program!

For more information, please contact Kathy McKenney, Historic Planner/Preservation Coordinator, at 301-759-6431 or kathy.mckenney@cumberland.md.gov.