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Baltimore County News

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Date: Feb 19, 2015

Baltimore County Tourism logoTeri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner
Department of Planning

Since 1976, Baltimore County’s Landmarks Preservation Commission has been dedicated to recognizing and preserving important structures that represent the diverse history of Baltimore County.  With the assistance of citizens, numerous sites representing the important contributions of African Americans have been designated Baltimore County Landmarks.  These unique places serve as physical reminders of the accomplishments of African American communities, which is especially important as many buildings associated with African American history have been lost before they could be discovered.   In celebration of Black History Month, let’s highlight some of Baltimore County’s most interesting landmarks that represent its diverse history.

The “Landmark Lodge No. 40 Free and Accepted Masons” is located in the historic African American community of Winters Lane in Catonsville.  Established in 1904, the lodge is affiliated with the historically significant “Prince Hall” Masonic organization and serves as a constituent Lodge of the Most Worshipful (M.W.) Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Maryland.

photo of Landmark LodgeThe building was constructed ca. 1896 for Morning Star Baptist Church and acquired by the Lodge in 1931. There are many fraternal organizational buildings in Baltimore County still intact, but few survive in African American communities.  As the only active chapter of Prince Hall Freemasons meeting in the County, the Lodge serves as a historic link to African American fraternal organizations in the United States and represents an important cultural aspect of African American life, both past and present.

photo of Hazel Thomas HouseThe small historic African American community of Chattolanee is located along Greenspring Valley Road and immediately north of the railroad grade of what was the Greenspring Branch of the Western Maryland Railroad.  Developed around the establishment of the Green Spring Church, the community dwellings, including the Hazel Thomas House, built ca. 1890, are simple examples of the Gothic Revival-style that survive to tell the story of this African American settlement. 

photo of Lutherville Colored SchoolThe historic community of Lutherville, best known for its collection of beautiful 19th century buildings, is also the home of The Lutherville Colored School House.  Constructed ca. 1908, School No. 24, District 8, is one of the few surviving examples of school buildings constructed exclusively for African American children in Baltimore County. Although the State required Counties to provide teachers for African American children after the Civil War, most early schools shared space with other community activities.  Built exclusively as a school, this sturdy building was lovingly restored and now serves as a museum dedicated to the history of African American education.  

photo of Worthington Slave BarracksLocated in Granite, the log and stone remains of the Worthington Slave Barracks survive as a physical reminder of slavery in Baltimore County.  Associated with the Worthington family of Granite, Thomas Worthington and his heirs were once one of the largest land owners and slaveholders in Baltimore County, rivaled only by Charles Ridgely of Hampton.  The Barracks are situated in the center of Rezin (Thomas’s son) Worthington’s 19th century landholdings along with a slave and separate family cemetery. 

 

photo of Dowden ChapelIn the Perry Hall area of Baltimore County, the Dowden Chapel and Cemetery is a unique 19th century African American church that also once served as a school.   Deeded to five African-American Trustees by Nicholas Gatch in 1853, the intent was to expand the Methodist Episcopal Church’s strong presence in Baltimore County. The current Chapel presents a unique and distinctive representation of ecclesiastical architecture from the mid-19th century that has been largely unaltered since its original construction. The cemetery has many excellent and well-preserved examples of home crafted grave markers that demonstrate the considerable effort, artistic endeavor and skills of the African Americans who created them. Although the Chapel is no longer officially affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Trustees responsible for the care of the Chapel and cemetery still maintain the building and grounds for the use of its congregation. Once a year the Chapel is opened for a homecoming for its many generations of members.

photo of Lyon SchoolThe Ernest Lyon Nursery School building was constructed ca. 1945 on a dedicated lot within the Ernest Lyon Defense Housing Project in Turner Station. The project was developed under the Federal Works Administration to address the housing needs of defense workers who were employed at the Sparrows Point plant of Bethlehem Steel.  Intended specifically for African American families, the complex and community buildings were designed by noted African American architect Hilyard R. Robinson, who was a pioneer in incorporating modern architectural styles into public housing projects and believed these well designed buildings would improve the quality of life for African Americans.  As war housing was being sold or demolished, the Federal government sold the building to the Turner Station Progressive Association in 1953. The building continued to serve the residents as a branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, a YMCA, and as a post for the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).  The structure is an important surviving example of the childcare works completed under the Lanham Act; the first time government supported pre-school was subsidized for all children, regardless of race or financial need.  It is also the only surviving example in Baltimore County.

To learn more about Baltimore County Landmarks and Historic Districts, you can find us on the web at baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/planning/historic_preservation.

Plus, you can visit the Enjoy Baltimore County Tourism website for a schedule of inspiring programs celebrating Black History Month.


photo of kids on an indoor playgroundLinda S. Grossman, M.D., Chief, Bureau of Clinical Services
Baltimore County Department of Health

Physical activity is important to your child’s health year-round, but staying active during the winter can be challenging.  While outdoor activities are good for kids, sometimes it is just too cold, windy and wet to be outside for long. 

There are lots of ways to keep your children active indoors. Keep in mind your child and his or her interests:

·        Turn on the music and dance! Let your child pick the music, make up moves and have a dance party.

·        Make an indoor obstacle course. In a basement or activity room, make tunnels to climb through by draping blankets on chairs or a table, use pillows, cushions, and stools for things to climb over, and include stations for activities like jumping rope, jumping jacks or hula hooping.  When they have mastered the course, time them to see if they can do it faster.

·        Develop a game or a competition.  Throw rolled up socks at a target on the wall or on a door or into an indoor basketball hoop for points or have a competition about who can do the most jumping jacks. 

·        Get an active board game or play a videogame which involves physical activity. Twister is clearly active, but even games that require some movement like Guesstures or Footloose can help burn some energy.

·        Consider a gym or indoor pool membership for the winter if the facility is child friendly.

·        Visit community resources – walking around a museum or visiting a science center or the B&O Railroad Museum provides some activity and a change of scenery.

·        Visit a mall and play a variant on “I Spy” – who can spot ten blue things first or find a red flower in a window.

·        Find an indoor playground or go roller skating. If a fee is required, it may be worth it for an active outing on a cold, wet weekend day.

Also, check out our recent blog about outdoor play ideas.

For more ideas on keeping your children active this winter, visit kidshealth.org.


 
 
Revised September 26, 2016