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5 th Alabama Infantry
12-28-2007, 08:26 AM
Baltimore’s President Street Station to Be Auctioned

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-md.ci.museum28dec28,0,1280016.story?coll=bal_tab01 _layout


This could be really bad . This building must be saved .

I , and many others, were down there marching at the annual April ceremony every years since 1988 to save President Street Station when it was a crumbling wreck. The Friends of President Station did a magnificence job of saving and preserving our history . Governor Schaefer attended the dedication ceremony and spoke eloquently about the effort.

This has to be stopped .

5 th Alabama Infantry
12-29-2007, 02:31 AM
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/

Baltimore Sun editorial on the side of preservation.

reb64
12-30-2007, 02:06 AM
I'd be curious to hear him weigh in with some info

Pvt_Idaho
01-01-2008, 03:26 AM
I work in Baltimore. I sadly knew the Baltimore Civil War Museum was closed as the Maryland Historical Society is financially strapped and fighting for its existence, but had no idea the plans were to sell the station commercially. Thanks for sharing this and let's see if we can do something about it.

Audrey Scanlan

Frenchie
01-01-2008, 11:47 AM
I'd be curious to hear him weigh in with some info

I not only live in Charm City, I also worked at the BCWM (and Fell's Point Maritime Museum). I've no idea what info I have that no one else can get. In my opinion, the President Street Station is doomed to be demolished and replaced by a Starbucks, unless someone figures out a connection between it and modern-day illegal aliens and can turn it into a monument to the injustice inherent in the Constitution and US of A, the evil of the white race, and a center for sheltering Hispanic criminals (only Hispanic ones) and signing them up as Democrats.

tompritchett
01-01-2008, 02:47 PM
unless someone figures out a connection between it and modern-day illegal aliens and can turn it into a monument to the injustice inherent in the Constitution and US of A, the evil of the white race, and a center for sheltering Hispanic criminals (only Hispanic ones) and signing them up as Democrats.

Meow!!!!!!! :wink:

5 th Alabama Infantry
01-01-2008, 08:38 PM
I not only live in Charm City, I also worked at the BCWM (and Fell's Point Maritime Museum). I've no idea what info I have that no one else can get. In my opinion, the President Street Station is doomed to be demolished and replaced by a Starbucks, unless someone figures out a connection between it and modern-day illegal aliens and can turn it into a monument to the injustice inherent in the Constitution and US of A, the evil of the white race, and a center for sheltering Hispanic criminals (only Hispanic ones) and signing them up as Democrats.


Thanks for the input.

A secessionist viper.

reb64
01-01-2008, 09:39 PM
I looked up the mayor to write a letter but it looks like a minority concerns only administration. in fact she has on her ebsite "a candidate for minorites" I interpret this as "take your problem to the back of the line" i say organize and vote them all out.

5 th Alabama Infantry
01-01-2008, 10:22 PM
I looked up the mayor to write a letter but it looks like a minority concerns only administration. in fact she has on her ebsite "a candidate for minorites" I interpret this as "take your problem to the back of the line" i say organize and vote them all out.


Your interpretation is absolutely correct. Thank you for the thought , but I don't believe it would do any good.

firstmdes
01-05-2008, 01:43 PM
Thanks for bringing this terrible situation to the forum. As a born and raised Baltimorean, I am horrified by this almost inevitable loss of history in our city! I visited the CW Museum not long after it opened and enjoyed the story it told. Now that I work for a museum which interprets the history of the B&O, I realize even more how important the site is to Baltimore and the rest of the country. Alas, I feel the fight has been lost on this building.

Go to President Street and look around. There are hotels and office buildings galore which dwarf the station. The site is not very accessible, the city is not concerned about its condition or significance. Honestly, the City of Baltimore and the State of Maryland only pick and choose what history we get to keep. I worked a long time at the MD State Archives and saw the pitiful budget it was given to preserve all MD records all the way back to 1634. Books, papers and photographs were falling into dust before our eyes! I think their entire budget is about $1.5 million! That is far less than $1 for each item in the institution! What is so important about old books and papers?

I would love to see the station saved and interpreted for all to see, but it is not a priority for our politicians or most Americans. History...what's so important about that? This attitude is found all through America. We would rather watch American Idol and let the boring history sites become Starbucks. I bet more Americans go to Starbucks than museums anyway! ;-)


Thanks for listing to my rant!
John P. Maranto

tompritchett
01-05-2008, 06:31 PM
History...what's so important about that? This attitude is found all through America. We would rather watch American Idol and let the boring history sites become Starbucks.

Unfortunately you are so right and, because, we as a nation do not learn from history, we are often doomed to repeat it. As to the reason that most Americans could care less about history, I have to fault much of our educational system that teaches history only as a series of facts and dates to be memorized rather than as a discussion on how events are inter-related to each other.

firstmdes
01-06-2008, 07:57 AM
As to the reason that most Americans could care less about history, I have to fault much of our educational system that teaches history only as a series of facts and dates to be memorized rather than as a discussion on how events are inter-related to each other.

So true! I have met some history teachers, in high school and college, who could put an insomniac to sleep with their rambles. I come from a family where history was always pushed. Our family trips were always to somewhere with history, Williamsburg, Boston, Philly, the Henry Ford Museum,...I could go on for awhile. We never went to Disney World or the like.

In high school, I had a teacher, Mr. Morgan, who could make almost anyone love history. He would come to class dressed in period clothes to fit the lesson; he passed around a cannon ball when we talked about the bombardment of Ft. McHenry; along with lots of other great things. He made history come alive! Of course, he loved history and continued it outside of work. He volunteered with the Ft. McHenry Guard and educated people even without the help of a paycheck. Now that is a history teacher making an impact!

I guess the question is: How do we get Americans to love history more than American Idol, Starbucks and the Super Bowl commercials? Maybe we need to take some of the money out of the public school athletics budget and put it into history, or education in general. It would be great if people were as passionate about the President Street Station, or the preservation of Gettysburg and Antietam as they are about their kids' pee-wee football games. Some parents even fight and kill to get their kids' a future in sports. What percent of these kids even come close to having a sports career anyway?

What do you all think? Should we do more living histories to spread the word? Tone down the mega-events so the spectators actually learn something? Do we try to get into the classrooms and teach with our hobby?

More of my 2 cents...

Shermans_Neckties
01-07-2008, 09:42 AM
To see what you've missed and may never see again, click here:

http://www.angelfire.com/biz/presidentststation/

Che
01-07-2008, 09:46 AM
Dang... I visited PSS a few years ago. Nice museum... not very exciting, but a quite refuge from the hub-bub of the city. There's a monument to te Polish officers who were killed in the Katin Forest just around the courner isn't there?

If the site is lost, can the building be moved somewhere else... perhaps to the grounds of the B&O Railroad Museum maybe?

Filthy_Confederate_Scum
01-07-2008, 10:30 AM
If the site is lost, can the building be moved somewhere else... perhaps to the grounds of the B&O Railroad Museum maybe? I think the article said B&O would like to have the building but leave it in situ as a satellite to their main museum, but they don't have the money to buy it, let alone move it.

The remaining building isn't even really the train station per se, just the main entrance of what used to be a much longer structure. The connecting building where people actually boarded the trains was torn down years ago.

CheeseBoxRaft
01-07-2008, 10:37 AM
Sounds like another Rhodes Tavern in the making.

For those who don't remember, Rhodes Tavern was the scene of many historic events in Washington DC. It last commercial use was as a porn shop so the owner couldn't understand why anyone would want to perserve it, but British officers had once dined there by the light of the burning White House during the War of 1812. The presevationists were more than willing to compromise with the developer too. They would have been content with just keeping the facade of the tavern and even incorporate it into the face of a modern building, but the developer got tired of negotiating and just up and tore it down in the middle of the night in 1984 when no one was around to stop him.

ThumbStall
01-07-2008, 11:08 AM
As to the reason that most Americans could care less about history, I have to fault much of our educational system that teaches history only as a series of facts and dates to be memorized rather than as a discussion on how events are inter-related to each other. Rote memorization of facts and dates has not been a part of our "educational" system in years. Not that it matters. History isn't even taught in public schools anymore anyway.

firstmdes
01-08-2008, 10:20 AM
Rote memorization of facts and dates has not been a part of our "educational" system in years. Not that it matters. History isn't even taught in public schools anymore anyway.

The true practice of rote memorization may not have been a part of the US school system for years, but that does not mean the spirit of it does not exist. History, if taught in US schools, can be presented in a very boring way. Dates and names are given and students must regurgitate them for tests, then they move on to the next time period forgetting what they 'learned' and not understanding why they did so anyway!

Not many teachers, including at the college level, can pull students into history and make it fun to learn. Most teachers from my education didn't even seem to enjoy the subject themselves! I believe the point of the above discussion was about the lack of enthusiasm for history in the US. If we cannot get kids to enjoy it, we certainly won't get American Idol watching adults to love it! Without loving or, at the very least, respecting history, we cannot expect our historic sites to be saved. Millions of dollars to save a building? What is the point of that? These are the questions being asked by most Americans today.

As to moving the building elsewhere in Baltimore, good luck! Half the city is dealing drugs and killing each other while the other half is trying to knock down the city and 'gentrify' it. Million dollar condos are more important to the powers that be than some 140+ year old structure which witnessed the first real bloodshed of the Civil War! The B&O Railroad Museum would love to have the President Street Station for its own, but money is a major hurdle. They have no where to move it on their campus and if previous owners/managers could not keep the museum in the black without the expenses it would take to move it, how is the B&O to move it and still make money? We would just have two former museums after that. (Don't forget, the B&O recently took over management of the Ellicott City Station in 2006...another financial burden to shoulder.)

Maybe we will be lucky and some rich history lover will step forward and save it from the wrecking ball! I can dream, right?

Shermans_Neckties
01-08-2008, 11:39 AM
The B&O Railroad Museum would love to have the President Street Station for its own, but money is a major hurdle. Money is always an object, but the B&O Museum is better off financially than most museums. After the 2003 collapse of the Roundhouse roof they bounced back pretty well with lots of corporate and private donations; a stunning tragedy-to-triumph event.

But that should not be surprising because train museums attract the general public better than Civil War musuems. Little kids love trains and there's lots to do at the B&O. PSS had a nice display, but seriously it didn't have much to offer. Sad, but true.

CheeseBoxRaft
01-08-2008, 12:24 PM
What do you all think? Should we do more living histories to spread the word? Tone down the mega-events so the spectators actually learn something? Do we try to get into the classrooms and teach with our hobby? I'm having my doubts about reenactors as "teachers." I've been watching LH presentations at parks, museums and in the classroom for years and, quite frankly, while I see an increase in the quality of the material culture, I'm also seeing a remarkable decrease in basic communication skills by reenactors, especially those who narrate LH demonstrations.

"As you can see, the... uh... friction primer... is... uh... I mean... has been put in... uh... inserted in the, um.... hole.... and... uh... the lanyard is... uh.... um...."

I've seen members of the public turn and walk away from what would otherwise be a quality demo because the speaker can't string two words together without tripping over his or her own tounge. Knowing the subject is one thing, but you've got to be able to talk and think at the same time without reading from a script and be comfortable with the sound of your own voice.

So, IMO, before we as reenactors/living-historians start blaming the educational system for failing to teach history, maybe we should get our own house in order first because on the whole, I don't think we're doing a very good job.

7thMDYankee
01-09-2008, 04:49 AM
John,

I'm responding in my capacity as a high school history teacher because I think you bring up some very important points. I'd like to address each one in turn, so please bear with me.

Regarding Mr. Morgan. I have no doubt he loved his discipline the way he did - as I do mine. However, your adoration of his pedagogy is, for a lack of a better way to put it, obvious. You were raised to respect history and find interest in it by your family ventures. Such favorable attitudes by students go great lengths to strengthen the love for a subject.

I have students who go on vacations and bust at the seams until the end of the summer to share the sights they've seen and places they've gone. I've also had indifferent students who've gone all the way to Hawaii, but for whatever reason couldn't bring themselves to "waste time" visiting the Arizona Memorial!?!?! They sit in the class together, but have dramatically different perpsectives and take dramatically different "lessons" away from the classroom.

You asked: "How do we get Americans to love history more than American Idol, Starbucks and the Super Bowl commercials?"

I love it! It is so true! It is a paraphrase of what I've shared with many parents in conferences. However, money is not the answer. Most of the fanaticism swirling around pee-wee leagues, though, are not directed at future sporting careers, but rather the lucrative scholarships that many sports bring. While I teach high school I have conversed with elementary aged children who are already planning their sport related college career to offset the rising costs, etc... how sad. Why are they not equally pursuing academic scholarships?

You also asked: "Do we try to get into the classrooms and teach with our hobby?"

My answer is 'yes,' but likely not how you intended the comment. I believe the best history is taught by people who have a passion for it - and I believe re-enactors do fit the bill. So why are more re-enactors not teachers?

Teaching is a third career for me. I made the move about 7 years back and have been thrilled ever since. During my previous two careers all I dreamed about was being able to do for a living what I did for fun - history. That is my reality. I had to adjust to slightly less than spectacular pay, but if you love what you do... I know I'll never be wealthy off teaching, but it's only money; and it doesn't compare with loving your job while looking forward to getting up every day for new challenges and opportunities.

Having said this, though, doesn't address your main concern - how to get people interested in history. I can't do it, you can't do it, no one can. I know at best 20% of my students actually like the subject, 30% are tolerant, 30% could care less, and 20% hate it. I sense society is likely at about the same ratios.

No measure of money will ever bring those numbers into favorable light. Awareness and respect for the past will. It also wouldn't hurt to have a little relevancy as well. That is why my kids get flooded with stories written by soldiers, citizens, and anyone else who told a story from the past; and there is no coincidence that many of our authors are the youngest people I can find to represent the past.

When a clasroom of 16 year-olds read the story of a 17 year-old who lied about his age to go fight in the trenches of France during the Great War they are interested. When an 18 year-old shares his stories from the ball turret of a B-17, they are hooked. When a 14 year-old describes the Battle of Stones River as seen from her basement and the effect it had on her family during the WBTS, they read with curiosity.

Sorry for the rambling... My point is only that as an educator inspiring everyone to "love" history is a tall order to fill. I think it is more the job of society in general - museums making their presentations relevant and interesting, discussions about the past as well as how the team did the previous weekend, etc... The story of OUR past resides with everyone, for everyone, and needs to be cultivated by everyone.

Thank you for your time.

hendrickms24
01-09-2008, 05:08 AM
Money is always an object, but the B&O Museum is better off financially than most museums. After the 2003 collapse of the Roundhouse roof they bounced back pretty well with lots of corporate and private donations; a stunning tragedy-to-triumph event.

But that should not be surprising because train museums attract the general public better than Civil War musuems. Little kids love trains and there's lots to do at the B&O. PSS had a nice display, but seriously it didn't have much to offer. Sad, but true.


I really think that B&O Museum was lucky in that fact that the roof collapse when it did! The museum was getting prepared for the Parade of the Iron horse and had lot of monetary donations. It was also well before Katrina, the Tsunami disasters which placed a huge drain on the US citizen pocket book. This lack of monetary donations give museums in general come from donation fatigue at least in my eyes.

Of course what do I know?

tompritchett
01-09-2008, 05:17 AM
However, money is not the answer. Most of the fanaticism swirling around pee-wee leagues, though, are not directed at future sporting careers, but rather the lucrative scholarships that many sports bring. While I teach high school I have conversed with elementary aged children who are already planning their sport related college career to offset the rising costs, etc... how sad. Why are they not equally pursuing academic scholarships?

The answer is simple - compare the amount of money involved in academic scholarships versus athletic scholarships for one and compare the numbers of each. In both cases, the athletic scholarships typically come out ahead.

7thMDYankee
01-09-2008, 05:29 AM
Tom,

Well, that was a rhetorical question of mine... I feel confident that just about everyone on this board knew the answer to that question.

I find it sad that people will complain about an extra $150 a year in taxes to build and improve schools, but gladly fork over $2000 in season tickets (if that little - I honestly have no idea - I know the local pro football team sold seat licenses that were well over $1500 or something ridiculous).

There must be a great quote from an ancient Greek or Roman about a society placing higher values on entertainment rather than knowledge. I think it was back in the 1920s that teachers were paid on average twice of what professional baseball players made... I'd settle for one week's worth of their salary now! But I digress, apologies all around.

tompritchett
01-09-2008, 06:09 AM
Well, that was a rhetorical question of mine... I feel confident that just about everyone on this board knew the answer to that question.

True but it goes to the very heart of the problem - a very misplaced set of priorities in our education system. Here in Easton, our school district was spending well over 10 million dollars on an atheltic complex (with cost over-runs) while classes were being held in trailers (since rectified). As a history teacher, if you wanted to take your class on an all day field trip where an entrance fee was required per student, would the school pay for the gas and entrance fees or would your students have to raise the money themselves?

7thMDYankee
01-09-2008, 07:22 AM
There is no money in our budget for field trips... athletics, well, there are home games and away games.

To be honest, I've taught and coached (in fact this is the first year I'm not coaching). There are great aspects to team sports and timeless lessons and values that can come from them. Thus, I don't necessarily see them as a waste of money or any such thing.

However, as I sense you may be suggesting - it is sad one must suffer/lack for the other is either regrettable.

Coaching, though, would be much more palatable for me if it were still about the game. I had coaches in high school that taught me much about competition, hard work, dedication, etc... Funny thing about that stuff, I don't remember any scores of any games; but those values have stayed with me. I tried to impart them on my players. I was successful to some degree with many kids, but many others couldn't see beyond what they thought might be scholarship money hanging off the end of their noses. A shame.

Anyway... I have really gotten away from the topic, sorry again.

tompritchett
01-09-2008, 08:19 AM
To be honest, I've taught and coached (in fact this is the first year I'm not coaching). There are great aspects to team sports and timeless lessons and values that can come from them. Thus, I don't necessarily see them as a waste of money or any such thing.

I don't have a problem with athletics per se. In high school I played two years of junior varsity football, wrestled on the junior varsity team for two years and ran track and cross country my last two years , lettering in both during my senior year. It is the over emphasis when it comes to prioritizing funding where I have the problem.

7thMDYankee
01-09-2008, 11:14 PM
I agree.

(Did you know a message had to be 10 characters? That's funny, penalized for being brief!)

tompritchett
01-10-2008, 12:41 AM
(Did you know a message had to be 10 characters? That's funny, penalized for being brief!)

Learned it a while back. Fortunately smilies and exclamation marks count towards the ten characters.

5 th Alabama Infantry
01-11-2008, 12:28 PM
There will probably be a march to the station on Saturday April 19 , 2008 to commerate the events of April 19 , 1861 and to make the public aware to the possible loss of this historic building. . Federal and Confederate troops would be encouraged and welcomed to participate. I will try to keep you advised as plans develop.

5 th Alabama Infantry
01-11-2008, 09:48 PM
I think that's "commemorate." Sorry for the error.

5 th Alabama Infantry
01-13-2008, 07:51 AM
Steve Bunker , formerly of Baltimore, who along with Ralph Vincent, Bob Reyes and many others worked to save President Street Station had the following Letter to the Editor in THE SUN, today, Jan. 13, 2008.


City must protect historic train station

When a museum opens in a major American city, it's not supposed to shut down less than a decade later. And yet that's just what has happened to the Baltimore Civil War Museum and the Fells Point Maritime Museum under the stewardship of the Maryland Historical Society ("Save the station," editorial, Dec. 29).
Both institutions were the outgrowth of community efforts to create educational opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Those at the Maryland Historical Society responsible for the closings should hang their heads in shame for their failure to keep faith with this public trust.

The city now has the future of President Street station - the historic building that housed the Civil War Museum - in its hands. It should not compound the Historical Society's failure by giving in to the desires of commercial developers who see this as another potential real estate boondoggle.

It is shortsighted to view these properties only in terms of their potential to increase the city's tax base.

President Street station, in particular, is one of Baltimore's most prominent historic sights. It is America's oldest existing urban rail passenger station, having been built in 1849 on the site of an earlier station, some of which still exists only inches below ground.

It is a well-documented landmark of the Underground Railroad that is important to the African-American community.

And it was the sight of the beginning of the Battle of Pratt Street - also known as the Baltimore riot of April 1861 - which resulted in the first combat fatalities of the Civil War.

The city should seriously consider the B&O Railroad Museum's offer of stewardship.

Heritage tourism is an important economic force in the area and will only increase with the coming 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

At the very least, a public-private partnership should be encouraged, with covenants on the properties to protect and promote the historic significance of the buildings and Baltimore's role in the growth of our nation.



Steve Bunker
Gray, Maine



The writer is president emeritus of the Friends of President Street Station.

firstmdes
01-14-2008, 07:20 AM
Here is an article from today's (1/14) Baltimore Sun. Could this be the good news we have hoped for?


http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/bal-to.archcol14jan14,0,7841652.column

5 th Alabama Infantry
01-14-2008, 09:47 AM
Here is an article from today's (1/14) Baltimore Sun. Could this be the good news we have hoped for?


http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/bal-to.archcol14jan14,0,7841652.column


Thank you John . I hadn't seen that.

firstmdes
01-14-2008, 11:13 AM
Point taken. I too have seen bad presentations by reenactors, but I have also seen some reenactors hold the attention of many people. I watched a comrade of mine discuss mechanical pencils and paperwork with a couple of soccer moms and was amazed at how interested these women were. Granted, not all reenactors can do this, but some of the better ones may be able to pull this off in a more structured educational setting.

I certainly am not advocating an armed takeover of the US school system, just a partnership, if you will, between professional teachers and us weekend-warrior types! ;-)

firstmdes
01-14-2008, 11:20 AM
David,

Thank you for your well thought response! This is exactly what I was hoping to get from my diatribes on history and teaching. We have a civil discussion about an important historical building!

Your points were well made and I agree with them. I know that things are not as simple as I might have made them sound in my earlier postings. I suppose the best bet we have is to keep hammering away and hope more people get the message and the bug. At the museum at which I work, everyone walks through the doors with a different expectation. Some like the technology, some the social side, while others just like history. We need to find the interest in each visitor and cultivate it the best we can. Maybe the bug will be passed on through the generations and eventual cause the interest in history to increase. If we are lucky, one day, more people will have visited a musuem or history site than a Starbucks!


John

firstmdes
01-14-2008, 11:26 AM
There is no money in our budget for field trips...

One nice thing at my place of business is a grant from the State of Maryland directed at getting Baltimore City schools out on field trips, particularly the poorer quality schools. The school's admission fees to the museum are covered by the grant and these kids get to visit a quality museum at no cost to their families.

Many of these inner-city kids are wonderful! The elementary school kids are so well behaved and they listen to what you have to say to them. Let's hope they get the history bug from their visit and come back on their own.

It would be great if more schools throughout the country could take advantage of grants like these.


John

firstmdes
01-14-2008, 11:27 AM
There will probably be a march to the station on Saturday April 19 , 2008 to commerate the events of April 19 , 1861 and to make the public aware to the possible loss of this historic building. . Federal and Confederate troops would be encouraged and welcomed to participate. I will try to keep you advised as plans develop.

Be sure to keep us posted on this event. Maybe a big turnout would help to open some of the eyes of the Baltimore politicians! (I know, I'm dreaming!)


John

firstmdes
01-14-2008, 11:31 AM
Mark,

I agree that the collapse was a blessing in disguise. If any of you reading these posts has not made it to the B&O since the reopening, you should go now. They have expanded the exhibit space and improved the museum all around.

The problem is that the visitorship through the Baltimore area, if not the whole Mid-Atlantic area, is way down. People are not going to museums as much as before. Without visitors, the museums dry-up. Look at the President Street Station! For the B&O to take over the former museum, more money would be needed. Check out the article written in today's Sun (I posted it higher up in the thread). Courtney Wilson of the B&O has a great idea for the use of the old PW&B station!


John

Robert A Mosher
02-05-2008, 09:04 PM
bump

Robert A. Mosher

firstmdes
02-10-2008, 12:33 PM
Just an update...

Looks like a number of organizations are mobilizing to save the station from development. The Harriet Tubman Historical Society out of Wilmington, Delaware recently sent a letter to Baltimore's Mayor Dixon asking her to do her best to save this historic gem. One of the best parts of their appeal to the mayor is that they are using the Underground Railroad and African American history as their reason the site should be saved. Now we have lovers of Civil War history and lovers of African American history working on the Mayor!

Let's hope the site is saved and placed on the NPS National Historic Landmark list!


John