Demolition of one of the Woodberry stone houses, 2019. Photo by Fred Scharmen.

Preservation Maryland Statement on Demolition of Historic Stone Buildings in Baltimore

05/22/2019
By Preservation Maryland

In response to the startling demolitions of two historic stone homes from the 1840s in Baltimore’s Woodberry neighborhood on May 21, 2019, Preservation Maryland issued the following statement:

As the statewide historic preservation advocacy organization, Preservation Maryland feels compelled to denounce the recent demolition of 3511 and 3525 Clipper Road, two historic stone buildings in Baltimore’s Woodberry neighborhood, and voice our concern over the precedent this type of demolition presents.

When the demolition of these historic structures was first proposed in 2018, there was overwhelming local opposition, which prompted the assurances of the developer to identify opportunities to integrate the historic structure into the design of the new construction proposed for the site. Despite those public assurances and conceptual designs, which showed the retention of the buildings, the structures were demolished without public notice on the morning of May 21, 2019.

In addition to this betrayal of the public trust, the demolition project itself also appears to have been conducted without meeting the basic safety standards required in these situations to control hazardous materials. Despite being required by law, no signage was posted notifying the public of the impending demolition. Stone, paint, wood, and the associated debris of the historic buildings now lay in a heap on the site – a public safety hazard and a tragic loss of history.

Baltimore City Councilman Leon F. Pinkett III and Woodberry neighbors, 2019.

Preservation Maryland recognizes not every building can be saved. This situation, however, sets a troubling precedent where public concern is disregarded, assurances are ignored, and demolition occurs without basic safety precautions. The loss of these buildings also underscores the need to take a hard look at the demolition review process in Baltimore City and to address the challenges citizens face to guide development in their own neighborhoods.

Baltimore’s history deserves much better than the bulldozer’s blade. Moving forward, Preservation Maryland stands ready to work with community members and elected officials to prevent a repeat of this loss of this kind across Baltimore.

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