Baltimore County Now
By Josh McCready, Communications Assistant, BCPL
Personalized help is waiting for customers of the Baltimore County Public Library through the “My Librarian” program. This new program at BCPL allows people to schedule a free 60-minute appointment with a librarian.
Anyone can get help with downloading books, audiobooks and magazines to their mobile device; assistance with job searches, résumés and email setup. They can learn more about the library’s many databases; find out how to do genealogy research; get basic computer help including Microsoft Office; learn how to manage their BCPL account using the library’s mobile app and much more. In order to receive the best possible service, we recommend having a valid Baltimore County Public Library card.
Customers can request an appointment online at www.bcpl.info/mylibrarian or in person at any of our 19 branches. Once a request has been completed, a librarian will contact the customer within three days to set up an appointment. They may be contacted by phone or email for more information prior to setting up an appointment and to determine whether an appointment is the best option. For quick email or phone questions, we are still encouraging customers to use our Ask a Librarian service (bcpl.libanswers.com).
For more information visit www.bcpl.info/mylibrarian.
Public Safety Information Specialist
Carbon monoxide (CO) is deadly. A byproduct of any combustible fuel, CO is tasteless, odorless and colorless. Death from CO poisoning can happen in a matter of hours.
The most recent national data shows a mortality rate of 430 deaths per year. At least 15,000 people are sent to the emergency room every year because of CO. It doesn’t have to happen.
CO is measured in parts per million (ppm). The higher the ppm level, the greater danger and the less time it will take to become seriously ill – or die.
The longer a person is exposed to CO, the greater the chance for serious illness or death.
At 200 ppm, a patient will experience mild headache, fatigue, nausea and dizziness after two to three hours. As the ppm rise, the symptoms intensify.
At 800 ppm, a patient will experience convulsions after 45 minutes and may become unconscious and die within two to three hours.
Death by carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable.
What precautions should you take?
- Install CO detectors in your home. The CO alarm saves lives by letting you know you have a CO problem.
- Place one near sleeping areas and one in the living areas.
- Test CO alarms once a month.
- CO alarms have two sounds. One sound is the alarm and the other sound means the battery is low. Test them to know the difference.
- If the battery is low, replace it.
- If the alarm sounds, leave immediately and get outside to the fresh air. Call 911 from a fresh air location. DO NOT open the windows or doors other than your exit door. Fire fighters will need to take a reading of the CO levels to determine the source of the leak.
- CO detectors are sold in national chain stores and hardware stores.
- Keep generators at least 15 feet from doors and windows.
- Never use gas or charcoal grills inside the home.Don’t use gas ovens to heat the house.
- Check gas appliances regularly as they can be a source for CO leaks.
- Never leave your vehicle running in the garage even if the car tailpipe is facing out of the garage. Take the vehicle outside.
- In the event of snow, clear tailpipes on all vehicles.
- Clear snow from dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace vents. During a major snowstorm, you’ll probably need to do this a few times.
- Leave the fireplace vent open after putting out the fire. You may close the glass doors, but not the vent. Hot embers produce CO if air is cut off. If you must close the vent, place the embers and ashes in a metal container; place it outside, away from the house.
Stay safe – get a CO alarm!
Teri 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.
The 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.
The 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.
The 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.
Located 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.
In 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.
The 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.