RENEWAL OF TWO HISTORIC
DEVELOPING THE FUTURE
At the Preservation Society, we honor the past while keeping an eye towards the future to ensure that Fell's Point and Federal Hill remain vibrant neighborhoods to work, live and play. Economic development, adaptive reuse, and the activation of public space are at the heart of this mission.
The Fell's Point Fun Festival began in 1967 as a fundraiser to raise money to fight against a project that would have linked 1-83 and 1-95 and demolished an extensive area of Fell's Point. Thanks to the initial organizers of this festival our neighborhood fought back and Fell's Point as we know it was saved. Since then, the Annual Fell's Point Fun Festival has grown to cover 6 city blocks in the heart of our beautiful historic, eclectic, and unique neighborhood.
As part of its mission to preserve Fell’s Point the Preservation Society has sought to revive South Broadway as a major commercial and residential corridor from Hopkins Hospital to Thames Street. Since the late 1960’s the Society has sponsored the Fell’s Point Fun Festival. Initially a fund raising effort for the Road Fight, the Fun Festival now provides an opportunity to show case the many businesses located along South Broadway in the Historic District. So successful has the Fun Festival become that over one hundred thousand people attend the Fall weekend event to celebrate the neighborhood, visit and patronize local businesses and enjoy the festival atmosphere of Baltimore’s first seaport.
In addition, The Society has worked closely with Fell’s Point Main Street Inc. to provide a frame work and resources for investment in storefront renovations and improvements along the Broadway Corridor. As part this partnership the Society has furnished guidelines for the restoration and rehabilitation of storefronts as well as promoting tax credit programs for these projects as allowed by city, State and Federal governments this for National Register Historic District.
The Preservation Society is continually looking for opportunities to create programs that creatively use historic preservation and contemporary retail and business trends to rejuvenate and reinvent this landmark commercial corridor. Through these actions the Broadway has manage to retain much of its historic character while at the same time providing for future growth and development.
Established in 1964, the Commission for Historic and Architectural Preservation’s focus is to ensure that Baltimore’s historic architectural heritage is protected and maintained as an irreplaceable legacy that has contributed to Baltimore’s unique character and diversity. Working with CHAP the Preservation Society created the first National Register Historic District in Maryland with the successful application of Fell’s Point to the Registry in 1969.
Again the Society partnered with CHAP to create a CHAP Historic District in Fell’s Point. This pairing of the local CHAP district with the National Register District has created the opportunity for the restoration and rehabilitation of hundreds of historic structures through the use of tax credit programs offered by these historic districts.
As the number of restorations and rehabilitation projects in Fell’s Point increased, the Preservation Society organized a design review committee that provides neighborhood design review required by CHAP for building permits. Known as the Fell’s Point Design Review Committee, this committee, meeting under the auspice of the Society, comments on the design, compatibility with the Fell’s Point historic district and adherence to the CHAP guidelines of submitted projects and reports its comments to CHAP as part of the neighborhood review process.
With the ultimate collapse of the shipping, warehousing and manufacturing industries in Fell’s Point in the 1970’s large tracts of vacant land became available for reuse along the waterfront. In looking at underutilized tract that surrounded Fell’s Point the Preservation Society sought ways to ensure that future development would be compatible with the scale and nature of the existing historic district. Working with various neighborhood committees, CHAP and Zoning the Society contributed to evolution of plans for waterfront development that maintained land usages compatible with the scale of the historic waterfront while allowing for new growth and building construction.
As the neighborhood along South Broadway has changed and the nature of retailing reinvented, the Society has focused its attention from the redeveloped and reimaged vibrant waterfront to the challenges the facing South Broadway along its blocks from Fell’s Point to Hopkins Hospitals. As the waterfront is a part of historic Fell’s Point so too is the view corridor from Hopkins to Thames Street.
Much of the commercial activity along south Broadway is gone as are the many institutional usages that served the neighborhood. In order to address the issues of under investment and vacant properties the Society, as it did with the waterfront issues, is partnering with various city agencies, as well as neighborhood and preservation organizations to begin to evolve a new vision for land use opportunities that respect the existing historic nature of South Broadway as it connects Fell’s Point with Johns Hopkins.In this way the Society looks to combine historic preservation with today’s development goals to form a new neighborhood that respects the past, but will serve Fell’s Point well into the future.