The Bal­ti­more Ar­chi­tec­ture Foun­da­tion and Bal­ti­more Her­itage

The Dundalk Eagle - - COMMUNITY CALENDAR -

present “How Suf­frag­ists Built Bal­ti­more’s First Recre­ation Cen­ter.” This is a free event held from 1-1:30 p.m.. Reg­is­ter on­line at www. eventbrite.com.

The women’s suf­frage move­ment. Cast-in-place con­crete. Kather­ine Hep­burn. What do these three things have in com­mon? The Roo­sevelt Park Recre­ation Cen­ter, of course! In this in­stall­ment of Vir­tual His­to­ries, BAF board mem­ber Jack­son Gilman-For­lini will present his on­go­ing re­search into the ori­gins and ar­chi­tec­ture of Bal­ti­more’s first rec cen­ter.

Com­pleted in 1911, the Roo­sevelt Park Recre­ation Cen­ter was the cul­mi­na­tion of a years-long cam­paign by a tena­cious group of Pro­gres­sive Era re­form­ers who, de­spite skep­tics, be­lieved they could im­prove the lives of work­ing-class peo­ple through recre­ation. This ini­tia­tive was led by Edith Houghton Hooker, one of the most in­flu­en­tial of Mary­land suf­frag­ists and later the ma­ter­nal aunt of ac­tor Kather­ine Hep­burn. The un­likely story be­hind the cen­ter’s cre­ation is matched only by its ar­chi­tec­ture: an un­usu­ally mod­ern de­sign for Bal­ti­more at the time and a wholly for­got­ten work by lo­cal ar­chi­tect J.B. Noel Wy­att.

De­spite mod­i­fi­ca­tions over the years, the build­ing re­tains a high de­gree of his­tor­i­cal in­tegrity and state of preser­va­tion. As a tes­ta­ment to the vi­sion of its founders, the cen­ter has re­mained an im­por­tant com­mu­nity fo­cal point for the Ham­p­den neighborho­od through­out its cen­tury-long his­tory and served as a model for recre­ation cen­ters through­out the city.

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