Doors Open Baltimore – Part 2


Quick recap from part 1, Saturday, October 22nd was the third annual Doors Open Baltimore, a partnership between the Baltimore Architecture Foundation and AIA Baltimore, providing people the opportunity to visit numerous historic venues all throughout the Charm City and its surrounding neighborhoods.  Over 50 buildings were open to the public on the self-guided tour.  Of the 11 venues I planned to see, I only made nine.  Here are the remaining 4 sites I saw:

Phoenix Shot Tower

“The Merchant’s Shot Tower was named for the lead shot that was manufactured there from 1828 to 1892. Molten lead was dropped from a platform at the top of the tower, traveling through a colander-like device into a vat of cold water to create the shot. Annually, the tower produced 2.5 million pounds of shot, used for small game hunting. At over 234 feet tall, it was the tallest structure in the United States for nearly two decades. Although the tower was slated for demolition in 1921, a group of Baltimore citizens banded together to save the building, purchasing it in 1924 and later donating it to the city to be preserved.”

Women’s Civic League

“When constructed circa 1790, this house was one of several built side by side, and is now the only surviving example of these early Jonestown homes. Baltimore’s second mayor, Thorowgood Smith, in office from 1804 to 1808 called 9 N Front Street home. The Women’s Civic League sponsored the restoration of the home in 1972, and continues to maintain the building. The Women’s Civic League was formed in 1911 to promote safe, healthy living conditions in Baltimore as well as to beautify the city. The organization has sponsored the planting of thousands of trees throughout Baltimore and hosted Flower Mart from 1911 to 1999.”

Carroll Mansion

“The Caton-Carroll mansion was the winter home of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, last living and only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. While this late Federal-style house has a restrained outward appearance, the interior is anything but. Various members of the Carroll family lived in the mansion until 1856 when it was deeded to the Sisters of Mercy. In the years that followed the house served as home to a saloon, an immigrant tenement, Baltimore’s first vocational school, a recreation center and ultimately, a public museum.”

Reginald F. Lewis Museum

“The Reginald F. Lewis Museum opened in 2005, representing the character, pride, struggle and accomplishments of Maryland African Americans. It is named for Reginald F. Lewis, a Dunbar High School alum who went on to attend Harvard Law School, and demonstrate tremendous business success, becoming the first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Before his death in 1993, Lewis expressed interest in building a museum to African American culture; the Reginald F. Lewis Foundation provided a $5 million grant for the construction of just such a museum in Baltimore. The award-winning building is one of the most unique and significant constructions in the city in recent history, and was the first major building in downtown Baltimore designed by African American architects. The building’s five-story atrium provides ample light to the core of the building, which includes space for special exhibitions, a recording studio, a 200 seat auditorium and a resource center.”*

Additionally, there was an exhibition on display entitled “Kin Killin’ Kin“.  A very powerful series of images by artist James Pate reflecting the “…deep love for youth, and even greater concern for the epidemic of youth violence in the African American community.” The exhibition is in place until January 8, 2017. I’d highly encourage if you;re in the Baltimore area, definitely check it out.


Overall, I was very impressed with the image of Baltimore’s history.  Having not lived in Baltimore or visited the city as frequently as I have, let alone self touring through downtown and other parts, the Charm City’s ambiance is definitely growing on me.  I anxiously await next year’s function, and other future events in Baltimore.


*quoted information courtesy of Doors Open Baltimore individual site listings.



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