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BAF Tours

Virtual Histories

The Baltimore Architecture Foundation (BAF) and Baltimore Heritage present a series of 30 minute live virtual tours and presentations focusing on Baltimore architecture, preservation, and history.

Upcoming Virtual Histories
December 04, 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm / Virtual Histories

Virtual Tour of Baltimore’s Historic Hospitals

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Virtual Histories Recordings

Commemorative Monuments & Adaptive Use (Jackson Gilman-Forlini)



Commemorative monuments and memorials are frequently valued for their historical significance as well as their role in representing collective memory.

But despite the durable materials from which they are constructed, the symbolic meaning of commemorative structures is often impermanent, as evidenced by recent changes in public opinion toward Baltimore’s Confederate monuments. Generally, the impermanence of collective memory presents a problem for preservationists at these sites since preservation guidelines presume significance of a resource to be inherent to the building material – and therefore permanent.

Using the Baltimore War Memorial as a case-study, this talk will propose a solution to the problem of monument preservation by applying the modern principles of adaptive reuse to their management. In order to preserve the relevance and symbolic usefulness of these places, the physical markers of their symbolism must periodically be updated to reflect contemporary value-systems and ideas.

About the Presenter

Jackson Gilman-Forlini is the Historic Preservation Officer for the Baltimore City Department of General Services, where he manages the preservation of city-owned historic landmarks, including the Baltimore War Memorial. He holds a B.A. and M.A. in Historic Preservation from Goucher College, where his thesis dealt with the adaptive reuse of monuments and memorials. He is frequently quoted in The Baltimore Sun and has written for Maryland Historical Magazine and the architecture blog McMansion Hell.

Baltimore’s Remarkable Infrastructure: Gas Lamps to Clean Water (Tom Liebel)



Did you know that Baltimore became the first city in the United States to install gas street lamps? Or that Baltimore’s drinking water is some of the best in the country?

Based on his international best-selling mega-hit book “Industrial Baltimore”, Tom Liebel will present an overview of Baltimore’s remarkable legacy of progressive public infrastructure. From street lights to clean water, Baltimore has led the way with a proud legacy of public infrastructure.

About the Presenter

Tom Liebel, FAIA, LEED Fellow is a Vice-President with Moseley Architects, and has been involved in integrating sustainable design principles into a variety of ground-breaking adaptive use and historic preservation projects over the past twenty years, with these projects recognized with multiple awards for design, smart growth, sustainable design and historic preservation.

Tom is involved in ongoing research exploring the relationship between sustainability, preservation and urban design, with a particular emphasis in the use of urban adaptive use projects to promote neighborhood revitalization and civic engagement.

Tom served two terms as Chair the Maryland Green Building Council, serves on the Maryland Advisory Council for Historic Preservation, Chairs Baltimore City’s Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation, and serves as the Moderator for the American Institute of Architect’s Strategic Council.

Poole and Hunt to Clipper Mill: A History of Adaptive Use (Nathan Dennies)

Woodberry was once home to the largest machine shop and iron works in the country. Poole & Hunt thrived alongside the booming textile industry of the Jones Falls Valley.

It grew and remained a site of heavy industry for well over a century, was later adapted by a flourishing arts community, and after a tragic fire, was transformed into Clipper Mill: a mixed use development that includes manufacturing, residences, design and engineering firms, fine dining, and more.

This presentation will cover the history of the Poole & Hunt Machine Shop and Iron Works, including the impressive things they made here, from the columns of the Capitol Building in Washington DC to contributions to both World War efforts. Discover how this site of heavy industry has changed over its 170 year history to meet the various needs of its users. And learn about the role of historic preservation in adapting historic sites for modern uses.

About the Presenter

Nathan Dennies is the Associate Director of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation. He serves as chair of the Greater Hampden Heritage Alliance, and on the boards of the Friends of The Jones Falls, Baltimore City Historical Society, and the Greater Baltimore History Alliance. Nathan has spent the past 6 years researching the industrial history of the Jones Falls Valley and lives in Woodberry.

Baltimore’s Treasures (Meg Fairfax Fielding)

Baltimore is a city filled with a wide range of architectural treasures. From tiny temple-like structures, to gem-like carpenter gothic churches, to robust Richardson Revival edifices, to castle-like school buildings, our architecture has something to delight everyone. But some of these treasures are off the beaten path and not everyone knows about them.

Take a spin through Baltimore with BAF past president, Meg Fairfax Fielding. Although she is not an architect by training, she’s “architect adjacent.” She is doing a deep dive on Palmer & Lamdin properties in and around Baltimore, as well as searching out 18th century brick churches along the Chesapeake Bay. Meg loves to explore Baltimore and the surrounding areas. By day, she is the head of the History of Maryland Medicine at MedChi, which was founded in 1799, but on weekends, you might find her on a lonely road on the Eastern Shore searching for a small, ancient church. Follow her on Instagram at PigtownDesign.

Baltimore: The Home of America’s Best Garden Cities (Charles Duff)

The Garden City Movement, devised by an odd London genius named Ebenezer Howard, has shaped most British development, and the best British development, for more than a century. Baltimore has more good examples of Garden City design and development than any American city.

Join Charlie Duff to explore the English movement and the wonderful places where Baltimore architects and developers learned what the Garden City movement had to teach. Charlie has been exploring Anglo-American connections for a decade as he worked on his book The North Atlantic Cities, and he is delighted to know where Baltimoreans got the ideas for some of his, and our, favorite places.

Charles Duff is a planner, teacher, developer, and historian. Since 1987, Mr. Duff has been President of Jubilee Baltimore, a non-profit group that has built or rebuilt more than 300 buildings in historic Baltimore neighborhoods and is leading the development of the Station North Arts District. He has been President of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation and Chairman of the Board of the Patterson Park Community Development Corporation. A graduate of Amherst College and Harvard University, he lectures widely and has taught at Johns Hopkins and Morgan State. He co-wrote Then and Now: Baltimore Architecture in 2005 and contributed to The Architecture of Baltimore. His book The North Atlantic Cities has just been published.

Restoring the Roland Water Tower (Suzanne Frasier)

The 115 year old Roland Water Tower is one of only two remaining towers in Baltimore City. At its location on one of Baltimore City’s highest points, it offers sweeping views of Baltimore’s beautiful cityscape from its rooftop-level belvedere.

A civic monument of architectural beauty, exemplifying the design principles of the City Beautiful Movement, the Roland Water Tower is a gateway landmark anchoring the communities of Cross Keys, Evergreen, Hampden, Hoes Heights, Keswick, Medfield, Roland Park and Wyndhurst . It is situated on a valuable tract of urban green space that is currently compromised by a chain-link fence.

The Friends of the Roland Water Tower is a grassroots advocacy group committed to restoring the Tower to a state of engineering stability and aesthetic beauty, as well as exploring strategies to foster stewardship for the Roland Water Tower and surrounding green space for future generations.

About the Presenter

Suzanne Frasier, FAIA, is Chair of the Steering Committee of the Friends of the Roland Water Tower. Suzanne is also a BAF Board Member and Past President of AIA Baltimore. Suzanne is a licensed and registered architect with over 20 years of professional experience in the design and construction industry prior to becoming a full-time academic. She is Chair of the Department of Undergraduate Design at Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning where she has been a faculty member since 2005.

Transforming the Noxzema Factory into the Fox Building (Jessica Damseaux)

The Fox Building is an adaptive reuse of a 20th century Noxzema factory located in Hampden just blocks from the Avenue on 36th Street. Noxzema got its start in Maryland and became famous for its skin cream in little blue glass jars.

The building has been transformed into a vibrant mixed-use community of apartments and artist workspaces. Many of the building’s original features have been retained and restored including the original maple wood flooring, glass block windows, soaring 15’ factory ceilings, and massive mushroom shaped concrete columns. The renovation was designed to meet the requirements of both National and State Historic tax credits.

The result is a decidedly modern mixed use building that celebrates its industrial origins. It includes 96 loft style and studio apartments with original concrete floors and modern kitchens, studio artist space and gallery, and common areas including a theater, gym, and pool.

Learn about its transformation from the architect.

About the Presenter

Jessica Damseaux, AIA, is a Principal at Alexander Design Studio and was Project Manager/Architect for the Fox Building. Jessica’s background includes multiuse, multifamily, commercial, and institutional projects of varying scales. She has managed complex projects, coordinating consultants throughout design and construction, as well as led projects through LEED certification. She has served on the Lecture Series Committee for AIA Baltimore as well as the chapter’s Board of Directors.

Virtual Histories: The Garrett Jacobs Mansion (Lisa Keir)

The Garrett-Jacobs Mansion is a National Register Historic Landmark, a contributing structure to the Mount Vernon Historic District, and arguably the finest example of Gilded Age architecture in Baltimore.

It comprises parts of 4 rowhouses built in the 1850s (7, 9, 11 and 13 West Mount Vernon Place). Over a period of 60 years, the Mansion grew from one elegant rowhome (No. 11) located in the finest residential community of Baltimore, into a showplace celebrating the wealth and good taste of its owner.

21 year old Mary Frick Garrett arrived at No. 11 West Mount Vernon Place in 1872 as the bride of Robert Garrett, scion of the Garrett family, grown fabulously wealthy through its ownership in the B&O railroad.

About the Presenter:

Lisa Keir is a Trustee of the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion Endowment Fund and a life-long fan of historic architecture. She developed a tour of the Mansion and trained docents to lead the tours.

The Taste and Tour, which features a signature cocktail and an hour-long tour of the principal rooms of the mansion, is held (during non-virus months) on the second Tuesday of the month. For a cocktail suggestion for June, she suggests a mint julep, the signature drink of the Triple Crown races, usually run in June.

The Future of Workplace Design (Panel Discussion)

Baltimore Architecture Foundation and Baltimore Heritage teamed up with the Baltimore Museum of Industry for a panel discussion about the future of the workplace.

How will the design of the workplace have to change as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic? Explore the intersection of architecture and new public health protocols through this hour-long conversation with three practitioners.



Suzanne Frasier, FAIA, Associate Professor and Chair | Department of Undergraduate Design, School of Architecture + Planning | Morgan State University


Amah Dokyi, Under Armour

Benjamin Boyd, PLA, Mahan Rykiel Associates

Ehren Gaag, AIA, Gensler

Photo courtesy Patrick Ross

Preservation Trends in Baltimore and Beyond (Eric Holcomb)

In the 54 years since the 1966 Historic Preservation Act, Historic Preservation has evolved into a sophisticated profession that has sought to holistically preserve our past through the careful study and recognition of America’s built environment. In Baltimore, historic preservation has become an essential component to neighborhood revitalization, leading Baltimore’s most successful neighborhood revitalization stories.

But where are we now? Where is Historic Preservation going in Baltimore? Eric Holcomb, the Executive Director for the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, will lead a discussion on where the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) is now, and the many initiatives currently underway.

About the presenter

Eric obtained a Liberal Arts degree from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Master’s Degree in Preservation Studies at Boston University. He worked for several remodeling and restoration companies as a tradesman until he joined the staff of the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) in 1994. In 2004, the staff of CHAP merged with the Department of Planning. In 2014, he became the Executive Director of CHAP and Division Chief where he has worked to further integrate and coordinate historic preservation into Planning activities. He is the author of City As Suburb: A History of Northeast Baltimore Since 1660. In 2016 he was awarded with the Mayor’s Medallion for Meritorious Service and in 2018 the Honorable mention for the 14th annual Richard A. Lidinsky, Sr. award for Excellence in Public Service. He is married and has two boys, a one-eyed dog and a cat with a crooked tail.

You Will Find It Handy: Documenting Green Book Sites in Md. (Anne Bruder)

The Green Book was created as a guide by and for African Americans to safely find everyday amenities like restaurants, shops, and motels in a segregated America. Historian Anne Bruder studied the Green Book to identify sites in eleven states. Research of Green Book sites documents the physical legacy of Jim Crow-era segregation and has revealed over 100 sites in 26 towns across Maryland.

About the Presenter
Anne E. Bruder is an architectural historian. Her work has allowed her to investigate several post-World War II structures in the suburbs, including the Atomic Energy Commission Building in Germantown, Montgomery County. As a transportation historian, her interests in 20th century events, travel and the built environment come together in the Green Book studies. She is the author of “Playing and Staying Along Maryland’s Highways,” which is the poster presentation regarding buildings in eleven states that are listed in The Green Book, and a contributor to the Green Book overview poster “You Will Find It Handy.”

Ms. Bruder also contributed and presented on the exhibit “Ms. Mod”: Women’s Contribution to Mid-Century Modernism in Maryland,” about the work of twelve 20th Century women architects in Maryland. She received her AB from Smith College and her MAH from the University of Virginia. Ms. Bruder lives in the Baltimore high rise designed by Mies van der Rohe.

The Row House as Classical Architecture (Charlie Duff)

When we think of classical architecture, we usually think of ancient temples, or the cathedrals and palaces that Renaissance architects built in imitation of classical antiquity. We don’t usually think of row houses.

We should. In the years between 1600 and about 1850, the years when the people of the North Atlantic world wanted classical architecture, they invented the row house and built the first row house cities.

How Suffragists Built Baltimore’s First Recreation Center (Jackson Gilman-Forlini)

The women’s suffrage movement. Cast-in-place concrete. Katherine Hepburn. What do these three things have in common? The Roosevelt Park Recreation Center, of course!

In this installment of Virtual Histories, BAF board member Jackson Gilman-Forlini will present his ongoing research into the origins and architecture of Baltimore’s first rec center. Completed in 1911, the Roosevelt Park Recreation Center was the culmination of a years-long campaign by a tenacious group of Progressive Era reformers who, despite skeptics, believed they could improve the lives of working-class people through recreation.

Faces and Places of Maryland’s Women’s Suffrage Movement & Legacy

During this short presentation, attendees will learn about the people and places of Maryland’s long and diverse Women’s Suffrage and voting rights movement. As part of Preservation Maryland’s multi-year public history project commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the organization teamed up with the Maryland Historical Trust, Gallagher Evelius & Jones, and Maryland Women’s History Center to create the Ballot & Beyond podcast series. Meagan Baco, Director of Communications will highlight some of the remarkable women featured on the Ballot & Beyond podcast and the contributions they made to the on-going fight for equal rights in Maryland and America.

Uncovering the Stories of the Peale

Hear some of the many stories of the historic Peale Museum building, from its origins as the first purpose-built museum in the country, to the introduction of gaslight technology to the city, to its role as Baltimore’s first City Hall and public high school for people of color. Get a glimpse of what is coming next as the Peale relaunches as a center for Baltimore stories and studies, and a laboratory for reinventing the museum for the 21st century in the creative and innovative spirit of the Peale family.

Pioneering Women of Architecture in Maryland

Women have been professionally practicing architecture in Maryland for over 80 years, yet little is known about those from earlier generations. AIA Baltimore and BAF research of state architecture records have uncovered a number of women architects who practiced through the lean years of the World Wars and the Great Depression, designing buildings in Maryland and across the country.

Architect Jillian Storms will share the stories of these pioneering women and the buildings they designed. Jillian Storms, AIA is an architect and capital programs manager at the School Facilities Branch of the Maryland State Department of Education. She is a former President of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation. Jillian led the Early Women of Architecture project, culminating in a traveling exhibition featuring twelve women practicing architecture from the 1920s to the 1960s. Jillian continues to work with BAF to bring more stories of women architects to light and document their projects.