In the 1800s, Clipper Mill famously housed the largest machine shop in the country, Poole and Hunt Foundry and Machine Works. Machinery ranging from steam engines to locomotive parts was produced there and helped power the Industrial Revolution. Fast forward to 1995, long after it closed down, and an eight-alarm fire nearly destroyed what remained of the factory’s Assembly Building. But in the past two decades, the remaining Clipper Mill complex has been revitalized and is now home to a vibrant residential and commercial hub.
Later this month, visitors can take a peek inside and learn about the rich history of that complex and more than 50 other historic buildings with Doors Open Baltimore, a weekend-long effort from the Baltimore Architecture Foundation in partnership with AIABaltimore. That weekend, organizers will unlock the doors of notable buildings and landmarks in Baltimore, with open houses on Saturday, Oct. 28, and historic and Halloween-themed events on Sunday, Oct. 29, including a Day of the Dead celebration at the Walters Art Museum, and a spooky, private tour of the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum. (Advance registration is requested for Sunday’s special events at doorsopenbaltimore.org/events.)
Doors Open Baltimore kicks off with a lecture on Thursday, Oct. 26, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Earl G. Graves School of Business & Management auditorium at Morgan State University. Professor Dale Glenwood Green will showcase Maryland’s African-American architects who practiced prior to 1970, with a special focus on their education, experience and emergence.
The official tour begins two days later at the Maryland Historical Society, the official information hub for the event. There, visitors can pick up a Doors Open Baltimore map and brochure and take advantage of free admission to the museum and the historic Enoch Pratt House. The rest is up to the visitors, who head self-guide their own adventures throughout the city to any of the 50 other sites on the tour.
Is it actually possible to make it into all of them in one weekend?
“It would be an incredible feat,” said Nathan Dennies, spokesman for the event. “We should offer a medal to anyone who could accomplish it. Maybe next year!”
Doors Open Baltimore invites all visitors to make their own itineraries from the map, and to take advantage to public transportation whenever possible. For complete info on Doors Open Baltimore events and participating locations, visit doorsopenbaltimore.org.