Preservation Maryland staff at the Park Mill sign, 2018.

Six-to-Fix Update: Mill Labor History Signs Installed Along Baltimore’s Jones Falls Valley

12/19/2018
By Meagan Baco

With grant funding from the Baltimore National Heritage Area, Preservation Maryland has completed a two-year project to illustrate the labor history of the intact mill villages and buildings along the Jones Falls Valley in Baltimore City’s Hampden neighborhood by researching, designing, and installing eight new interpretative signs.

The Jones Falls provided the power that fueled manufacturing in Baltimore in the 19th and 20th centuries. The string of mills built in the valley along the river had an indelible economic and social impact on the surrounding areas, the effect of which can still be felt to this day. Many residents, workers, and visitors experience the neighborhood and its mills everyday – in fact, Preservation Maryland’s offices are located in Meadow Mill. Each of these signs, installed in pedestrian-friendly and active areas, helps tell the story of the residents of the Jones Falls and provides context for the neighborhood’s sustained redevelopment in the mill village’s historic development patterns.

Jennifer Nolley of Terra Nova Ventures with Civil War Trails, 2018.

This project is a Six-to-Fix priority of Preservation Maryland, and the organization served as project manager. Each sign includes a multiple access points for information via a map, architectural diagrams, and historic photographs. Robust historical research was conducted by Nathan Dennies of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation and board member of the Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance. Detailed design work to ensure legibility and visual appeal was completed by Hampden resident Paula Bogert of PJ Bogert Graphic Design. Preservation Maryland worked with fellow non-profit Civil War Trails to utilize their proprietary printing and manufacturing expertise to ensure that each sign was sustainability made and durable.

The sign locations are:

Additional support for many of the signs came from the generosity of the current property owners including Clipper Mill Property Owners Association, Himmelrich Associates, Remington Properties, and Terra Nova Ventures, who will own and maintain the signs.

These signs offer the opportunity for the public to experience a self-guided tour of the Jones Falls Valley, but that experience does not stop at the signs. For those interested in learning more about each mill and accessing multi-media content online, additional historical information for each location is hosted by Baltimore Heritage, Inc. on their Explore Baltimore geocoded online map and mobile app. With the signs and the digital tour together, this project served as an example of inclusive and interactive interpretation for historic resources in Maryland’s neighborhoods.

An event showcasing the new research, uncovered historic images, and neighborhood history will be planned along with tours. In the meantime, the public is invited to find each sign on a self-guided tour.

Visit the Jones Falls

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Meagan Baco · Director of Communications

Meagan Baco shares the stories of the Old Line State’s important history and unique places – and the people working to preserve it, through Preservation Maryland’s website and publications.

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