4-4-12: What Do You Do With a Shot Tower When It Stops Being a Shot Tower?

April 4, 2012 at 7:59 am 5 comments

Eastern Avenue Pumping Station / former Public Works museum

The Eastern Avenue Pumping Station (and former Public Works museum) is one of the buildings Baltimore City is having appraised. Photo by Stephanie Hughes.

For the historic buildings of Baltimore—when is the city the best landlord?  And when would those buildings benefit from having private owners?

That’s the question a lot of people are pondering after the city announced recently that it’s hiring an Annapolis-based firm to appraise the value and condition of 15 historic city-owned buildings.  Some of the buildings are currently leased by organizations, such as Orianda House, which is used by the non-profit group Outward Bound; others stand vacant; and several, such as the Valve House at Clifton Park, are in various stages of disrepair.

Tom Hall talks about the possible uses for these buildings with architect, architectural historian, and city planner Charlie Duff.  He’s the president of the neighborhood revitalization group Jubilee Baltimore.

The 15 buildings to be appraised are the Peale Museum, the Eastern Avenue Pumping Station, Upton Mansion, Roland Park Water Tower, West Arlington Water Tower, Engine House No. 6 on Gay Street, Cylburn House and Park, McKim Free School, the War Memorial, the Old Town Friends’ Meeting House,  President Street (Railroad) Station, Superintendent’s House at Clifton Park, Valve House at Clifton Park, and Orianda Mansion, Crimea Estate in Leakin Park.

NOTE: An earlier version of the web copy stated that the Shot Tower is vacant–that was incorrect.  It’s operated by Carroll Museums, and is available for tours.

Entry filed under: History, On Air, Policy. Tags: , , .

4-4-12: Good Cheer 4-4-12: Parsing the Primaries

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael Blum  |  April 4, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Mr. Duff made the one most important point that Mayor S R-B needed to make and didn’t — that with possibly the only exceptions being the Roland Park Water Tower [and the War Memorial, I would imagine], these “landmarks” began as privately-owned functions and only devolved to the City due to neglect, abandonment or chance. Some of them are very odd things indeed to be owned by a City, that’s for sure.

    Mr. Duff’s command of the facts and history of these structures is of course overwhelmingly impressive. IMHO when the time comes for the City to seriously consider “privatization” of these structures, he should be on the select committee that reviews and approves the sales.

    On a lighter note, think of the corporate naming possibilities: the Exxon Peale Museum! The M&T Bank Shot Tower! The Taco Bell Cylburn House! The Martin Marietta War Memorial!

  • 2. Matthew Hankins  |  April 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    The Shot Tower is not vacant. It is administered by the Carroll Museums and it is open for tours. http://www.carrollmuseums.org/
    A simple internet search would reveal that the building is indeed open. While I appreciate that your program is discussing this topic, publishing that the museum is vacant is detrimental to the organization that has been trying to preserve it.

    • 3. Charlie Duff  |  April 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

      Sorry Matthew! I didn’t know. I’d love to take a tour.

      • 4. Michael Blum  |  April 5, 2012 at 9:17 am

        This is for Tom Hall / Sheilah Kast — please consider instituting a repeating feature for Tom and Charlie Duff — say, every week on Wednesday morning — “Around the City with Charlie Duff” — where each week they concentrate on a different little piece of Baltimore: a building, or a neighborhood, or a process, or a plan. No one knows Baltimore’s deep roots AND history AND current / future potential like Charlie Duff, and I would think his insights would be VERY popular with the Maryland Morning audience. If you can do “Inside Maryland Politics” you can do “Around the City with Duff” … please consider this! I’m sure you can come up with a catchy title if that would help. Think of Dan Rodericks and his weekly “Legal Matters with Astrachan/Rubin” show — a real must-listen. This could be all of that, and more!

  • 5. mdmorn  |  April 4, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Matthew — thanks very much for pointing this out. We’ve made a correction.


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