Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.

After a three-month break, the Baltimore Eagle reopens today

Photo by Ed Gunts.

After a three-month hiatus, the lights are coming back on at the Baltimore Eagle.

The Charles Street leather bar, one of the largest LGBTQ-friendly night spots in the city, is reopening today under its third management team in three years.

There’s a new chain link fence motif in the front windows and two Leather Pride flags hanging over the entrance ramp. Managers posted messages online that doors will open Nov. 15. “If you’re not tied up Friday,” one posting says, “come to our place.”

Agora plans to expand two more buildings along Charles Street

A rendering of Agora’s plans for 1125 N. Charles St.

Agora is growing again.

Two months after it started to renovate the former Hynson, Westcott and Dunning building at 1030 N. Charles St., to provide office space for its staff, the company is planning to expand two more buildings one block away.

Johns Hopkins Health System unveils plans for $400 million, 12-story research tower

A rendering of the proposed research tower. Photo by Ed Gunts.

Johns Hopkins Health System plans to build a $400 million, 12-story research tower at its East Baltimore medical campus by the spring of 2023.

Hopkins representatives unveiled preliminary plans today that showed part of the research tower will be a new structure rising in place of the Brady Building, a seven-story structure that dated from 1915 and was demolished this year to make way for the new project.

Late Baltimore journalist Gwen Ifill to be honored on a U.S. postage stamp

Image via USPS

 A former Baltimore Evening Sun reporter will soon be honored on a U.S. postage stamp. 

Empty store reborn as a time machine for the ‘silver tsunami’ of Baby Boomer retirees

The vintage Chevy at Town Square in Perry Hall. Photo by Ed Gunts.

The first thing visitors see at the former Rite Aid is a turquoise 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan, parked next to a Sinclair gas pump with vintage Dino the dinosaur graphics.

All traces of the Perry Hall store’s shelves and pharmacy counter are gone. In their place is a simulated streetscape right out of small-town America, with a series of storefronts that hark back to the walkable shopping districts where people bought goods before big box stores (and Amazon) came along.

Visitors can pick up a Life magazine or Saturday Evening Post from the corner newsstand. Take in a ’50s movie at the town cinema. Select songs from a jukebox in the diner, or play records on an old Victrola.

This time machine of sorts is the central feature of Town Square, an 11,000-square-foot daytime activity center tailored for seniors, including those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It contains areas for games, exercise, dining and socializing, like other eldercare centers. What makes it so unusual is that everything inside the building is designed to bring back memories of the post–World War II era.

$50 million, 3,750-seat concert venue proposed for South Baltimore

A photo of a slide presented by Design Collective/Design 3 International

A “world-class” concert venue is in the works for South Baltimore. 

Baltimost: Druid Hill Park

Latrobe Pavilion Druid Hill
Latrobe Pavilion at Druid Hill Park. Credit: Eli Pousson/Baltimore Heritage, via Flickr.

Druid Hill Park

For some, it's the history. For others, it's nature. For still others, the draw is the zoo. Or the conservatory. Or recreation. Or the wildlife.

On any given day, hundreds of people find a reason to visit Druid Hill Park, the crown jewel in the necklace of public parks owned and maintained by the city of Baltimore. 

And even as part of it is undergoing reconstruction as the city installs underground tanks to hold Baltimore's drinking water, people find plenty of reasons to spend time there and want to protect it. 

The 745-acre park opened in 1860, and survives today as the city's largest and oldest municipal green space. Along with Central Park in New York (1858), Fairmount Park in Philadelphia (1812) and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco (1871), it was one of the first landscaped public parks in the U.S.

Recreational amenities include a public pool, disc golf courses, tennis courts, a 1.5-mile walking and biking loop, ballfields, basketball courts and picnic groves. The Friends of Druid Hill Park, an advocacy group, and the city's Department of Recreation and Parks organize events that help draw people, such as a farmers' market from June to September, walking and night hikes and fitness classes.

Like all parks, Druid Hill Park technically closes after dark, but it's never really dormant. Around the clock, people tend to the plants in the conservatory, care for the animals at the zoo, clean up after visitors. And when day breaks, they're ready do it all over again. 

When Mayor Thomas Swann dedicated Druid Hill Park in 1860, he said it was meant to be a resource for "the whole people--no matter from what remote land, no matter what sect or religion they belong, no matter what field of labor, however elevated or however humble." Nearly 160 years later, it has lived up to that promise.

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Inspired by Philadelphia, the Maryland Zoo starts building a skywalk for animals

A colobus monkey at the Maryland Zoo. Courtesy of the Maryland Zoo.

At the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, visitors typically go from one exhibit to the next to see the animals on display. Starting next month, some of the animals will get a chance to move from one part of the zoo to another to see the visitors.

The Colobus Trail is the name of an $800,000 overhead walkway being constructed to give the zoo’s colobus monkeys a chance to leave the indoor confines of the Chimpanzee Forest building, part of the zoo’s African Journey section, and explore the outdoors for the first time.

Is July too hot for Artscape? BOPA head wants to explore other options

Photo by Tedd Henn

A July in Baltimore without Artscape?

It may sound like heresy to some, but the head of the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts (BOPA) wants to explore other options.

Donna Drew Sawyer, CEO of the agency that produces the annual arts festival, said yesterday that she and her staff would like to consider whether the three-day event should continue to be held in mid-July, typically the hottest time of the year in Baltimore.

Longtime homeless refuge closed in downtown Baltimore ‘until further notice’

Photo by Ed Gunts

One of the few sanctioned gathering spots for people experiencing homelessness in downtown Baltimore has been shut down “until further notice.”