A "Privy" Event in North Baltimore
Homewood House Museum will be host for and beneficiary of the 69th annual Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage, a tour of eight private homes and gardens and three public buildings in northern Baltimore and Baltimore County, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 13.
Visitors can tour all of the sites — including Homewood House at 3400 N. Charles St. — for $25, or pay $10 for admission to an individual site. A tour book with information on all the locations is included. Proceeds will be used to restore Homewood House's original 19th-century privy. Tickets may be purchased in advance through Homewood House or on the day of the tour at any house visited. For tickets or information, call 410-516- 5589 or visit the Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage Web site at http://www.mhgp.org.
Whether you define privy as "private or secret" or "an outhouse," the word aptly describes the 2006 North Baltimore Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage. Visitors will have the rare opportunity to see eight of northern Baltimore City and adjacent Baltimore County's most beautiful private homes, many of which contain collections of 18th- and 19th- century American and English furniture, decorative arts and paintings. Other homes boast some of the area's most magnificent private gardens. Also included on the tour are the Women's Club of Roland Park and Saint David's Church, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
The tour encompasses Roland Park and the adjacent Baltimore County area of Woodbrook to the north. Roland Park, laid out in the 1890s, made conscious use of the topography of the landscape to enhance a suburban development. Today, the area retains its original character and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Baltimore County just north of the city, like the area that became Roland Park, was home to country estates and summer residences in the 19th century, allowing it to retain much of its rural setting to this day. Homewood House Museum, a National Historic Site just south of Roland Park, was built as a summer residence in 1802 for Charles Carroll Jr.
Although there were originally many buildings on the Homewood property, only two contemporary with the house remain standing today: the barn or carriage house (now used as a theater), and Homewood's privy, located at what was the edge of Homewood's formal gardens. The survival of this type of structure is extraordinarily rare. Made of brick with a wood shingle roof and two entrances, the privy retains its original domed ceiling and chestnut paneling, as well as the remains of 100-year-old graffiti inscribed by students of the Country School for Boys (now Gilman School).
As with any historic structure, the privy's battle against the elements is ongoing. The funds raised through the North Baltimore Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage will support Homewood's efforts to stabilize the privy, repair the roof, repoint the bricks, and restore losses to the interior paneling.
"This is a terrific opportunity for Homewood, and the House & Garden Pilgrimage is always a fun day," said Homewood curator, Catherine Rogers Arthur.
The Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage is a non-profit organization whose primary purpose is to help preserve and restore architecturally and historically significant properties in Maryland. During its 69-year history, it has made major contributions to historic preservation throughout the state.
Homewood House Museum is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and noon to 4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Tours of Homewood are offered every half hour with the last tour beginning at 3:30 p.m. Museum admission is $6 for adults, $3 for students and children over 6 years of age, and $5 for seniors. Call 410-516-5589 or visit http://www.jhu.edu/historichouses for additional information.
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