Baltimore County News
Many unexpected treasures are virtually hidden away in Baltimore County’s libraries, historic buildings and archives. The fall edition of smARTS, the Baltimore County arts and culture show, features some special collections that offer a window into our history. Highlights include a series of “Retro Snapshots” featuring historic photographs of Towson, Dundalk, Reisterstown/Glyndon and Catonsville.
Host Carolyn Black Sotir and Tom Beck, Chief Curator of the library and gallery at UMBC, discuss photographs from the UMBC special collections, including a Matthew Brady photograph of the first black U.S. Senator and a Civil War artist’s designs for Colored Regiment flags.
Additional segments feature iconic Baltimore photographs by A. Aubrey Bodine and the story of “Flying Boats,” the first trans-Pacific commercial aircraft built at the Glenn L. Martin Company in Middle River.
Viewers can also find resources for discovering family and neighborhood history at the Historical Society of Baltimore County and Baltimore County Public Library.
smARTS airs Thursdays and Fridays, 7:00-7:30 p.m. and Tuesdays 11:30 a.m.- noon on Baltimore County cable channel 25. SmARTS segments also are available on YouTube.
smARTS is a production of the Baltimore County Commission on Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Baltimore County Public Schools and BCPS-TV.
Annual Award Honoring African-American Heritage in Baltimore County
Today, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced a new Baltimore County endeavor that will take place every year during Black History Month and be presented to deserving recipients.
The award is named for Baltimore County resident Louis S. Diggs, a respected and distinguished authority on County African-American history. Diggs’ research and historical perspective has guided him to publish 10 books; organize tours in the community; present lectures; and manage the Diggs-Johnson Museum in Granite.
“No one has done more to preserve and promote African American history in Baltimore County than Mr. Louis Diggs,” stated Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “An award such as this is long overdue, and we in Baltimore County are so fortunate to have this notable expert on African American history right here in our own community.”
After surprising Diggs with the declaration of naming the award for him, Kamenetz revealed the 2016 recipients – Audrey Simmons and Ray Banks, who together brought the Hubert V. Simmons Museum for Negro Leagues Baseball to fruition.
The Simmons Museum is located in the Owings Mills library.
Teri Rising, Historic Preservation Planner
Department of Planning
May is Preservation Month! Since 1973, this annual event organized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation provides an opportunity for communities and organizations to showcase how they celebrate and save historic places all year long. Exploring Baltimore County’s historic spaces is a great way to highlight the efforts of those who have worked hard to preserve the places that matter for Baltimore County.
In 1981, the community of Glyndon became the first Baltimore County Historic District designated through the joint effort of residents, interested citizens and the Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission. Now there are eleven residential districts, each one set aside for the purpose of preserving, promoting and protecting the unique aspects of their neighborhood so they can tell a story about why they were created. With their carefully preserved architectural styles and distinctive features, Baltimore County’s Historic Districts offer residents a variety of beautiful and interesting places to live. From Emory Grove in Glyndon to the Town Hall in Relay, the preservation of the homes and buildings that characterize these districts, provide a sense of place and source of civic pride to those who work tirelessly to preserve their community.
Whether you are doing homework or paperwork, historic buildings offer unique spaces that provide creative inspiration to those who work there. All over Baltimore County historic buildings have been adaptively reused and rehabilitated to serve the needs of a new generation. Examples include the former Fullerton Police & Fire Station, adaptively reused for the 6th District office of the Baltimore County Council, and the original Baltimore County Jail in Towson, whose former cells now provide office space to businesses instead of law breakers. Baltimore County’s collection of historic schools, like the former Franklin Academy building in Reisterstown, now the Reisterstown branch of the Baltimore County Public Library, and the Carver School in East Towson, now the East Towson Carver Community Center, have been adaptively reused for the purpose of offering community services. Finding creative ways to use our historic buildings has helped enhance the artistic, cultural, and historical characteristics of our Baltimore County neighborhoods.
Baltimore County’s many historic parks provide interesting places for recreation and learning opportunities. They also serve as important places for communities to come together. Through the joint efforts of neighbors, community activists, and the Baltimore County Government, these parks have been thoughtfully set aside so citizens have a place to explore and discover Baltimore County history.
Visitors to the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum will learn about the life of Benjamin Banneker. Considered to be the first African American man of science, exhibits and artifacts provide additional information on his important historic contributions. At Cromwell Valley Park, visitors can follow trails that lead them to preserved farm buildings and remnants from our agricultural and industrial past. Maintaining these historic parks provide places that matter for generations to enjoy.