Finally Settling Back In…

So despite all that has gone down recently, it actually feels pretty good to be getting back to schoolwork right now. It’s been a pretty freaking hectic past couple weeks on my end. Literally two weeks ago to the day the ceiling in the bedroom of my apartment caved in and trapped me underneath a massively heavy pile of rubble. My girlfriend had to call the fire department to actually come in and break me out with an axe, otherwise I might still be in there…Who knows?

So needless to say it’s been a rough go of it lately. I didn’t have access to my computer for 4 days as it was buried underneath the debris, which basically put me way behind in all my classwork. Between that and talking to lawyers and absentee landlords, I honestly didn’t even get a chance to seriously look at the class project until this weekend.

That being said, after spending a solid day on both Saturday and Sunday on it, I feel like we are in pretty good shape. This week I’m planning on kind of going into overdrive to catch up on some lost time. That involves two visits to two different archives to try to locate some unique historic photos of the market and its buildings.

Tomorrow I’m actually going to the University of Baltimore Special Collections to go through what looks like a very promising box of items pertaining to Hollins and the surrounding area. One is actually from a pretty lengthy study that Greater Baltimore Committee commissioned on the Poppleton neighborhood (basically Hollins Market) of southwest Baltimore. It’s organized according to block numbers and supposedly contains tons of photos and historic data on the various buildings on each block. So we’ll see what the turns up.

Also on Thursday evening, I going to the Maryland Historical Society to check out some old photos of the Market that they have in their special collections. I feel a little less uncertain/optimistic about what that will turn up, but again who knows?

Aside from that I put together a skeleton of the digital storymap/walking tour guide, and Google Sheet with the photos I’ve identified so far, both of which I shared with everyone in the class. The idea is to update that as we are able to get old photographs of the various buildings in the market. In many instances I would imagine that we will have to take our own photos of the buildings since I doubt that any will exist for some of them. It’s hard to say at this point. Either way, it’s worth a shot to see what turns up in the archives. My personal preference is to find old photos, especially if you are doing a walkthrough of the “past” of Hollins Market. I also put together a draft of a thesis statement/introduction which can serve as a guide for a narrative of our guided tour of the past of the Market. I’m hoping everyone on the “past” team can take a look at that and let me know what they think. I personally think it probably is too long and sounds too academic, two problems I have historically (pun intended) had a hard time shaking.

Anyways, let me know. Looking forward to class tomorrow and Zella’s!

Reflecting Development

So honestly I don’t know what the title of the project should be. I was thinking a lot about it and to me it seems like it would be appropriate if the title reflected the fact that Hollins is potentially on the precipice of significant changes.

We talked about Warhorse and how Scott Plank has bought a lot of the real estate in the area. It seems like there are serious moves underway (behind the scenes and not) to remake the market/potentially gentrify it. However I was also thinking about how the guy at Black Cherry Puppets was telling us how he’s seen several developers come and go in the neighborhood and none of them were up to the task of “remaking” it, whatever that means; for better or worse.

I don’t know much about Warhorse or how serious their approach is but I do think it would be worth drawing attention to the fact that Hollins is changing and that part of what we are doing is bearing witness to both the present and the past in order to help locals guide the future. I don’t know the degree to which the locals perceive the neighborhood to be threatened by gentrification? As someone who has been in the city longer than me said to me once “Baltimore in general is kind of gentrification proof”. Like I said, this leaves me no concrete ideas for a name really, but I think we will come up with one if we can really buckle down on the precise vision for what we are hoping to accomplish.

Another thought that came to my head, probably because I have been writing on the dubious nature of integration in the suburbs all week, was the Hollins and Sowebo generally maintain a relatively high percentage and image of “integration”. Of course thats a tricky term because its impossible to quantify what it actually means. However, it’s extremely apparent in Hollins that there are families and people, both white and black, who have been in the market for a long time. It’s hard to find that elsewhere in the city as it’s almost always one way or the other.

I don’t know if it makes sense to draw attention to that somehow through our project, or reflect it in the name. Honestly it probably makes more sense to not even touch it and sort of let that reality exist as an unspoken reason for what makes the Market neighborhood worth preserving.