ON THE SOAPBOX:|
Like Scarlett OHara, I will think about that tomorrow. Today, I have something to be happy about.
The Baltimore City Historical Society is historical fact. The inaugural meeting was held in May in the small Ceremonial Room at City Hall.
The Societys founders expected few people. What they got was a room crowded to overflowing—literally.
There were so many people who came to City Hall to sign up as charter members of the Society that the guards stopped letting them come in! (Membership forms were taken to the people trapped in the street, however.)
Needless to say, I was, and am, excited about this. I was one of the lucky ones who made it to the ceremony. And though there were no pipers and no one swore on a Bible, the mayor came and wished us luck, and there were tears in my eyes.
Finally! A group that will chronicle Baltimores unique history. That will educate Baltimores youth on what has come before and how they can be a part of what comes after. That will create a storehouse-sized library of reference books about our city. And that will only be the beginning.
Though the Society has not had its first real meeting, Im going on record right now as to whats at the top of my wish list. Its a fund—lets call it the Baltimore City Historic Building Trust Fund.
What this fund will do is buy endangered buildings and broker them for restoration and development. Or offer mortgages and dollar-house-type deals to young couples who wish to take a chance on houses in endangered neighborhoods.
Perhaps Citizens Planning and Housing Association (CPHA) will help the Society identify historic areas that need shoring up, and the Fund will go in and work with the neighborhood to make sure that happens.
Perhaps the Society will create a new Baltimore Historic designation and lobby for legislation to make that designation impregnable.
Perhaps...well, perhaps a lot of things. All remains to be determined.
But even if none of my wishes come true, I will continue to be a member of this new Society. For, if nothing else, it will be a place to come together with other people who value Baltimore and its history.
Break out the Champagne! We are begun.
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This story was published on May 30, 2001.