Buchheit takes over city Heritage Area

ARCHITECTURE

Architecture column

January 07, 2008|By Edward Gunts | Edward Gunts,SUN ARCHITECTURE CRITIC

Jeffrey Buchheit, a former assistant director of the American Association of Museums, has begun work as director of the Baltimore City Heritage Area, an arm of the mayor's office that promotes the city's cultural heritage.

He replaced Bill Pencek, a preservation expert who left last year to join the state government.

Buchheit, 39, has 15 years of experience in museums, including administration, governance, exhibit design, volunteer management and collections management. Before joining the museum association in 2000, he was executive director of the Historical Electronics Museum in Baltimore. He also served as president of the Small Museum Association for two years, and he currently serves as president of the board of directors for the Cylburn Arboretum Association in Baltimore.

"The city is moving in an exciting direction with regard to our Heritage Area," Mayor Sheila Dixon said in appointing Buchheit to the job. "I am confident that Jeffrey will lead us into this new era with great enthusiasm and ability."

A resident of Original Northwood, Buchheit said two of his top priorities for 2008 are planning for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, including the 1814 Battle of Baltimore, and promoting legislation that will make the Baltimore City Heritage Area a National Heritage Area.

As part of its operation, the heritage office awards grants to local attractions and organizations to fund capital improvements. In 2007, awards included $5,000 to the Baltimore Maritime Museum to repair and restore the deck stripping on the USS Torsk, docked in the Inner Harbor; $9,000 to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum for the restoration and adaptive reuse of the Leonard J. Buxton - Lounge Cafe car; and $8,000 to the Baltimore Museum of Industry to repair its entrance and prepare an area for a new orientation exhibit.

Also, $5,000 to the Great Blacks in Wax Museum for roof repairs; $9,000 to the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park to reconstruct parts of its marine railway apparatus; $5,000 to the St. James Development Corp. to renovate and restore a property on West Lafayette Avenue for use as its corporation headquarters; and $9,000 to the USS Constellation Foundation to repair damage caused by water intrusion and rot in the upper levels of the hull.

All of the money must be matched with private funds before it can be spent.

Landmark hearings

Two buildings will be considered for addition to Baltimore's landmark list and emergency "special list" during tomorrow's meeting of the Commission for Historical and Architecture Preservation.

The buildings nominated for landmark listing are the former Pennsylvania Railroad Co. district office building at 200 E. Baltimore St., now vacant and owned by the Baltimore Street Parking Co.; and Castalia, a Laurence Hall Fowler-designed residence at 200 Tuscany Road, owned by the Calvert School.

The Baltimore Street building was designed by Parker and Thomas and built in 1905 to 1906, part of a wave of buildings that rose downtown after the Great Fire of 1904. It is the last surviving building on the north side of the 200 block of E. Baltimore; its neighbors have been replaced by a parking lot.

Castalia was built in 1928 by Virgil Hillyer, the first headmaster of the Calvert School. The school's leaders last year sought permission from community groups to tear down the house, possibly to make way for an amphitheater.

The preservation commission meets on the eighth floor of the Benton Building, 417 E. Fayette St. The hearing on the Baltimore Street building is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. The Castalia hearing is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.

Shoreline visionary

Architect George Notter, the lead author of the so-called "Notter Study" that was commissioned in the 1980s to guide development along the Fells Point and Canton shorelines in Baltimore, died Dec. 26 in Montgomery County after a long bout with Alzheimer's disease. He was 74.

He was a partner of Anderson, Notter and Finegold, later Notter, Finegold and Alexander, and a past president of the American Institute of Architects. He was a longtime member of the city's Architectural Review Board. While with Anderson, Notter and Finegold, he also worked on the Harbor Lofts, the conversion to loft apartments of a former warehouse on the west side of downtown Baltimore.

Jewish Museum hours

Starting this month, the Jewish Museum of Maryland will be open five days a week, up from four in 2007.

During January and February, the museum at 15 Lloyd St. in East Baltimore will be open from noon to 3 p.m. Fridays with a tour of its historic synagogues at 1 p.m. Beginning in March, Friday hours will be noon to 4 p.m., and tours of the synagogues will be offered at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The museum is also open from noon to 4 p.m. Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with synagogue tours at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

ed.gunts@baltsun.com

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