April images


Board-close up


Imagined Worlds Priestess

Mysterious Codex Seraphinianus



Aerial photo of St. Mary’s City, courtesy Historic St. Mary’s

Miami 2

Miami 1Thanks
Monument Lighting


The distinctive doors at Grace & St. Peter's

courtesy Steve TAtti

Springtime in Mount Vernon

April, 2014 Volume 2, Issue 3 

Dear (Contact First Name),

After a long winter, spring is finally here, and there’s no better place to welcome it than in Mount Vernon!

The warmer weather and longer nights make it easy to stay out later, so why not check out one of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s innovative new programs at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall?

The Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra

“The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has classical performances and world-class musicians, but we are so much more than that,” says Laura Soldati, Director of Public Relations, “We are innovative in our programming, and make a strategic effort to have programming and outreach initiatives that could potentially reach every person in our community – in every age group and demographic.”

The BSO is encouraging a new generation of classical musicians through programs like the Baltimore Symphony Youth Orchestra, a 200-student ensemble that performs throughout the year, and also performs with the BSO in Side-by-Side programs in which they join Orchestra members onstage. Another program, called OrchKids, introduces classical music to Baltimore’s elementary school students in East and West Baltimore.

It’s all part of Maestra Marin Alsop’s goal to build a symphony culture that reflects the diversity and multi-dimensionality of the city of Baltimore.

“Music is a language that bridges all others… what could be more basic and shared than that?” Maestra Alsop says.

Saturday Mornings at the Meyerhoff


One BSO program reaches an even younger audience. Called the BSO Music Box, this Saturday morning concert series is geared towards babies and toddlers ages 6 months-3 years old and their families.

Hosted by actress and storyteller Maria Broom, each half-hour concert features a small ensemble of BSO musicians. The Moo, Baa, Neigh performance on Saturday, April 26, celebrates the barnyard noises of sheep, pigs, horses and cows with some sprightly clarinet music by Mozart.

“These concerts aim to instruct infants and toddlers in music and appreciation through sound and touch. You’d think a 6-month old wouldn’t be able to understand the connections between sound and touch, but they do!” Laura says.

Arrive 30 minutes beforehand, and your child can meet the ensemble musicians. And since the performance takes place in the relaxed environment of the Meyerhoff’s Lobby, you won’t have to worry if your kids want to get up and start dancing!

“Our Family Series has always been a special part of Baltimore,” says Eileen Andrews, VP of Marketing and Communications. “Many Baltimoreans’ had their first introduction to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra by attending a Family Series or Mid-Week Education performance 20 or 30 years ago. Our Music Box Series is the latest in that tradition. And,” She added, “You never know – your children could really love classical music!”

Itzhak Perlman, courtesy BSO

Other April BSO performances in Baltimore include world-renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman on Saturday, April 12 at 8 pm and Sunday, April 13 at 3 pm.

Perlman will actually conduct the orchestra while playing the violin -it is an awesome sight to behold! He will conduct Hector Berlioz’s visit, fiery “Symphonie fantastique” as well as perform Beethoven’s Romance Nos. 1 & 2 and Mozart’s Symphony No. 27.

For a complete list of BSO programming and to order tickets, check out their website: http://www.bsomusic.org. The Meyerhoff is located at 1212 Cathedral Street. Phone 410-783-8000.

Washington Monument Restoration Update

Atop the scaffolding, Tom discusses water damage

The Washington Monument has been closed to the public since 2010. But this week, we were invited by The Mount Vernon Place Conservancy to tour the restoration progress along with the Mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

“I value Mount Vernon as an anchor of the city,” the Mayor said, “And I want to protect the Washington Monument as a historical treasure for generations to come.”

Tom McCracken, vice president at Lewis Contractors, explained how 200 years of water leaks have weakened the beautiful structure. “The original roof was composed of stepped layers of marble slabs with no waterproofing,” he said, which allowed water to penetrate the 4-foot thick walls and caused major damage.

Tom showed us evidence of lichen stains and took us down a narrow circular staircase into the basement, where ‘round the clock heaters are helping to dry out the foundation.



Along the basement walls, the restoration crew made an amazing discovery – dozens of signatures dating back as early as the 1820s.

“There’s a mystery inside every building; there are always surprises and secrets,” Tyler Tate, Lewis Contractors president, told The Baltimore Sun.

The $5.5 million restoration project entails masonry conservation and restoration of the monument’s original cast iron fence, mechanical systems, and interior finishes.

The four entrances to the monument will be dismantled, repaired and rebuilt.

Interestingly, the scaffolding erected around the cylindrical monument supports itself and doesn’t bear weight on the fragile monument. And the good news is, at the monument’s very top, George Washington’s only problems are minor and cosmetic. Workers can see evidence that the Washington statue had been hit by lightning. A lightning rod system was added during a previous restoration effort in 1982.

Scheduled completion for the restoration of the outside of the monument is expected to be November 1, 2014 — that’s plenty of time to have our annual Monument Lighting celebration!

The inside restoration will continue through next spring and should be finished in time for a grand reopening — and the monument’s bicentennial — on July 4, 2015.

The monument’s new interior will feature a small museum with state-of-the-art lighting and controls that will more easily facilitate outdoor programming in the Mount Vernon squares.

We’re proud to witness the restoration’s progress, and we’re looking forward to the monument’s reopening. We believe it will regain its place as one of Baltimore’s top tourist attractions, and further enhance our Mount Vernon neighborhood.

For complete project details, including a great video, be sure to check out The Mount Vernon Conservancy’s website: http://mvpconservancy.org/


Welcome, New Mount Vernon Members!


I’d like to take a moment to welcome the newest members of our Mount Vernon Cultural District:

  • The Baltimore School for the Arts
  • Old Saint Paul’s Church
  • St. Mary’s Spiritual Center & Historic Shrine
  • Catholic Charities
  • The Orion Group!

You’ll be hearing more about these fantastic institutions in upcoming issues of The Mount Vernon Newsletter.


Other Mount Vernon News




The Washington Monument isn’t the only historic Mount Vernon site to receive a makeover — next year, the 275,000-square-foot Central branch of The Enoch Pratt Free Library will undergo renovations.

The Maryland Board of Public Works recently approved $4.8 million to complete the design plans. The entire renovation will total $96 million.

The renovations will include interior improvements, such as new bathrooms and air conditioning systems, a restoration of the Edgar Allan Poe Room as well as an updated information technology system. There will be laptop and smartphone docking stations and a “tech-takeout” center that would allow visitors to download information onto their tablets and e-readers.

The library will remain open throughout the 3-year project, which is expected to begin in 2015.


April Events In Mount Vernon

Presented in Chronological Order


Center Stage
700 North Calvert Street | Phone: 410-332-0033 | Website





Twelfth Night

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Gavin Witt
Must Close April 13

Revelry, disguises, swashbuckling, and (of course) pining lovers abound in what some call Shakespeare’s most perfect comedy. Twins Viola and Sebastian, separated in a shipwreck and presuming each other dead, wash ashore in the beautiful but mysterious land of Illyria. A tale of mistaken identity and mismatched ardor unfurls as lords and ladies, servants and masters wind a topsy-turvy path to happiness.

Tickets are $19-$39. To purchase tickets, click here or call 410-332-0033.

Vanya photo


Zachary Andrews (Spike); Emily Peterson (Nina) and Tom Aulino (Vanya). Photo by Don Ipock/Kansas City Repertory Theatre
Vanya and Sonia
and Masha and Spike
By Christopher Durang
Directed by Eric Rosen

“A sublime state of hilarity.” –New York Magazine

“Deliriously funny!” – New York Times

In bucolic Bucks County, PA, Vanya and his sister Sonia have frittered their lives away living in the same farmhouse where they were raised. Their quiet existence of unease and regret, however, is rocked by the arrival of their glamorous movie star sister (and landlord) Masha, and her hunky boy toy, Spike. As their visit unfolds, a lifetime of sibling rivalry explodes into a weekend of comedic pyrotechnics. Presented as a co-production with Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

Performances will run from Wednesday, April 16-Monday, May 26. To purchase tickets, click here or call 410-332-0033.

Discounts available for groups of 10 or more, call 410.986.4008.


Enoch Pratt Free Library
400 Cathedral Street | Phone: 410-396-5430 | Website



The schedule is set for the 11th annual CityLit Festival at The Pratt Library! Headlined by National Book Award winner James McBride and singer-songwriter/novelist Wesley Stace, the spring celebration of the literary arts in Baltimore takes place on Saturday, April 12, 2014, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Take in twenty programs featuring dozens of fiction authors, poets, and memoirists, at the Pratt Library’s Central Library, 400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, 21201. Browse more than 50 exhibitors in the always bustling Literary Marketplace. Click here for the complete schedule.


Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument Street | Phone 410-685-3750 | Website

A Special Invitation


Lord Baltimore Hotel
Courtesy Baltimore Style

The Maryland Historical Society cordially invites you to its 2014 annual gala celebrating the arrival of Lady Baltimore to the museum. This opulent evening will take place at the newly restored Lord Baltimore Hotel on Saturday, April 12, 2014 from 6pm until midnight.

Enjoy dinner, cocktails, and dancing in the historic grand ballroom of the Lord Baltimore Hotel, which is now restored to its former glory.

Guests will also have exclusive access to the rooftop bar and spectacular views of Baltimore.

The Lord Baltimore Hotel recently completed a year-long, million dollar restoration. According to WBAL-TV, every facet of the 440-room hotel has been updated and now reflects its original, Art Deco grandeur.

“It’s an historic hotel and the fitting place to honor historic Lady Baltimore, who now graces the Maryland Historical Society entrance hall,” says Maryland Historical Society President Burt Kummerow.

In November 2013, the 8-foot Cararra marble goddess affectionately known as Lady Baltimore was moved from her 200-year old position atop the Battle Monument to an environmentally friendly location at the Maryland Historical Society.

Proceeds from the Lord & Lady Baltimore Gala will support the stewardship and interpretation of Lady Baltimore at the Maryland Historical Society.

Bonaparte Ball 2013
Guests at last year’s Bonaparte Ball,
courtesy Ken Stanek Photography

Opulent Evenings With
The Maryland Historical Society

It’s an annual tradition at The Maryland Historical Society to hold a gala benefiting our museum. Just like last year’s smash Bonaparte Ball (pictured), this year’s event is black tie attire.

Complimentary valet parking will be available at 20 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.
To order tickets securely online, click here. You may also order tickets by calling 410-685-3750 Ext. 399.

For a complete list of April events at The Maryland Historical Society, visit  www.mdhs.org.


The Garrett Jacobs Mansion
and Engineers’ Club
11 West Mt. Vernon Place | Phone: 410-539-6914 | Website

Silent Movie Series

On Tuesday, April 22 at 7pm, The Garrett-Jacobs Mansion Endowment Fund in partnership with The Engineer’s Club presents the latest installment in its 2013-2014 Silent Movie Series featuring Organist James Harp. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is April’s feature selection. The movie will begin at 7 pm at the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion. Tickets are $10. For more information, see this link.

The Garrett Jacobs Mansion is located at 11 W. Mt. Vernon Place, Baltimore.


The Maryland Humanities Council
108 West Centre Street | Phone: 410-685-0095 | Website

Tune into MHC’s Humanities Connection
Thursdays at 5:45pm on WYPR-FM


George Peabody Library Curator Paul Espinosa

Each week MHC’s Humanities Connection explores the intersection of the humanities and our daily lives, reflects on the past, present, and future, celebrates the power of literature, and demonstrates the importance of the humanities to understand the human experience.

Segments feature the voices of scholars and public humanities professionals throughout the state, cover historical milestones, and hidden cultural narratives. You may have recently heard Center Stage’s Director of Community Projects and Education Rosiland Cauthen’s commentary on their MHC grant-supported program Trayvon Moments, or President of Poe Baltimore Kristen Harbeson on Baltimore’s Literary Luminaries. Perhaps you caught local folklorist Elaine Eff’s reflection on the 100th Anniversary of Painted Screens in Baltimore. Listen to these and other podcasts on the WYPR website.

Does your cultural institution have a humanities-related story to tell? Contact MHC Communications Officers Michele Alexander, who produces the segment, at malexander@mdhc.org to pitch your story idea.

A tour guide talks about Edgar Allan Poe at the former home of J.H. B. Latrobe. Courtesy of the Maryland Humanities Council

Maryland Humanities Council Literary Walking Tours of Mt. Vernon Return in April

The Maryland Humanities Council’s popular walking tour of Baltimore’s cultural hub returns April 19th. The Literary Walking Tour of Mt. Vernon weaves history, architecture, and philanthropy into its literary narrative about the historic neighborhood. Tour-takers learn about the authors, poets and editors who sojourned there and share quotes by each featured literary luminary.

The walk, which takes about 90 minutes, spans from The Enoch Pratt Free Library where the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Karl Shapiro is highlighted, to the Gertrude Stein residence on Biddle Street. Participants will enjoy a special treat with a short presentation by curator Paul Espinosa (pictured left) at the George Peabody Library demonstrating some of the rare books in their collection.

The free tour is offered on the third Saturday of each month from April to September, during the Baltimore Book Festival, and Literary Arts Week in October. Fun and informative, the Mt. Vernon Literary Walking Tour is appropriate for high school ages and above. After the tour, walkers are encouraged to enjoy lunch at the Historic Owl Bar at the Belvedere Hotel with a 10% discount coupon for lunch.

Groups of 10 or more can schedule a tour outside of Saturday dates for a nominal fee. Space is limited for free tours and reservations are required. Call (410) 685-4186 or visit www.2014MtVernonLitWalkTour.eventbrite.com to make your reservation today.


Spotlighters Theatre
817 St. Paul Street | Phone: 410-752-1225 | Website


A tour guide talks about Edgar Allan Poe at the former home of J.H. B. Latrobe. Courtesy of the Maryland Humanities Council

Five Course Love

Book, music & lyrics by Gregg Coffin

Director: Fuzz Roark

Musical director: Michael Tan

Performances thru April 6

Four actors, five restaurants, fifteen zany characters! Mix ’em up and you have the ingredients for Five Course Love, a deliciously over-the-top musical comedy about five calamitous dates.

The evening begins at Dean’s Old-Fashioned All-American Down-Home Bar-B-Que Texas Eats, where a blind date goes char-broiled wrong. Next, at the Trattoria Pericolo, a mob wife has a secret rendezvous with her lover. At Der Schlupfwinkel Speiseplatz, a VERY interesting three-some is revealed, at Ernesto’s Cantina, Love and Lust battle for Rosalinda,
and finally . . . at the Star-Lite Diner, a mystery date is set!

For tickets, visit www.spotlighters.org or call 410-752-1225.

Spotlighters Theatre is located at 817 St. Paul Street, in Baltimore.

Trivia Time!
Congratulations abound to everyone who correctly answered last month’s question!

Just what was the original color of the fence around the Washington Monument?

Designed by the monument’s architect Robert Mills, the fence’s decorative color was applied several years after the monument’s completion by a painter named George T. Rosensteel. How can we tell? In the 1842 bill Rosensteel that sent to the Board of Managers, he says that it took him 37 1/2 days to paint the fence. According to Rosensteel, he used a ‘Bronze green paint.’

We would like to thank Lance Humphries, chairman of Mount Vernon Place Conservancy Restoration Committee, for providing these fantastic details to the Maryland Historical Society’s Library blog, Underbelly.

Ready for this month’s question?

Take a walk around our Mount Vernon neighborhood, and you can’t help but notice the beautiful cast- and wrought-iron that adorns our buildings. “[It’s] is a virtual catalog of local ornamental iron both cast and wrought,” writes Citypaper, “including fences, gates, window grates, railings, shoe-scrapers, roof crests, weather vanes, and two very French Quarter-ish cast-iron balconies on the south sides of 700 and 800 Cathedral Street.” You’ll find more examples along Park Avenue, in Mount Vernon Park, and throughout the campus of the Peabody Institute.

Much of this work was created by artisans right here in Baltimore. In fact, much of the wrought ironwork in other cities, including New Orleans, was made here in Baltimore, too!

Name the Baltimore ironwork company that created these masterpieces. Known as the oldest blacksmithing business in North America, they’re still in operation, today.

Email me your answer, and you could win a prize!


Laura Rodini
Executive Director, The Mount Vernon Cultural District

The Mount Vernon Cultural District Is Proud Partner of Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore






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