October Compass - eNews from Baltimore Planning


A monthly eNewsletter from the Baltimore City Department of Planning

October 2015

A Message from the Director…

Baltimore’s history extends far beyond chapters in textbooks or scholarly articles; it is rooted in today’s neighborhoods, institutions, and the physical design of our City. History helps shape who we are and what we will become as individuals and as a city. Although what happened in the past will never change, our understanding of the past happens in the present, and is informed both by historical research and current events. Baltimore, known as the Monumental City, has more than 250 public monuments that intentionally remind us of the history that has shaped Baltimore.  

With the recent concern about the legitimacy, veracity, and place for Confederate monuments on public grounds, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake created a Commission to Review Public Confederate Monuments in order to make recommendations on their future.  Four members of the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation and three members of the Public Art Commission plus a Mayor’s representative will serve on this commission. 

Four monuments have been identified. (see the photos to the right)  We encourage you to visit the Commission's website and provide your comments.

Thomas J. Stosur, Director 

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Development Milestones

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Revisions to Article Six of the City Code


The Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation revamps Article Six of the Baltimore City Code.

Mayor and City Council have recently passed Ordinance 15-408 which revises Article Six of the Baltimore City Code.  A committee of CHAP commissioners, city staff and city stakeholders worked for several years to update the code that governs the powers, duties, and functions of CHAP.   Several changes have occurred:

The Special List has been replaced by the Potential Landmark List, allowing temporary protections to buildings during Landmark designation process,

Creation of a non-regulatory Historic Resources Inventory,

Clarifying CHAP’s role in reviewing city-owned structures, and 

Clarifying historic district designation process.  

The revisions to Article Six of the Baltimore City Code will allow for greater efficiency and clarity in the roles and duties of CHAP and will altogether strengthen historic preservation in Baltimore. 


TransForm Baltimore is the Zoning Code rewrite for Baltimore--the first new Zoning Code in over 40 years.  The goal of Transform is to create new zoning tools to promote mixed-use development, including new industrial mixed uses, improve urban design and the environment, preserve neighborhood character and simplify the development process.  This code is in City Council as Bill #12-0152 and has been under review since early in 2013.

We are pleased to report that the City Council Land Use Committee is now moving into voting sessions on this legislation.  These sessions, along with the Hearings for the Zoning Maps, are posted on their website.

We encourage you to urge your City Council representatives to support the legislation and enact this new code as soon as possible!

Public Confederate Monuments are Under Review

The Mayor’s directive to the Commission to Review Public Confederate Monuments is straight-forward, but the task itself is sobering and difficult. In directing the Commission to provide the best recommendations for Baltimore, the Commission must analyze and review a nuanced, multi-layered and painful history, and contextualize that history within today’s current events. Historical facts must be separated from misinterpretation and misinformation, and the symbolic meaning of these art pieces must be understood. The Commission must comprehend how these monuments reflect the beliefs and intentions of their donors and how the monuments convey those views today. The Commission will provide a forum to allow citizens to share how they experience the monuments. The Commission intends to place these monuments in an historical context that more accurately reflects the realities of the past, and explore how these monuments can best exist in Baltimore today. The actions of this Commission will not “erase” history, as some may fear, but rather illuminate and add to it.

Roger B. Taney Monument (1887)

These monuments were created by prominent sculptors at the behest of prominent citizens.  

The Roger B. Taney monument, placed in Mount Vernon Square in 1887, was donated by William Walters.  This monument is a copy of the original located in Annapolis, and was sculpted by William Henry Rinehart.


 The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument (1902) and Confederate Women’s Monument (1915-17) were gifts of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), an organization that helped create and advocate for a revised and glorified history of the Confederacy.  

The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument (shown to the left) is located on West Mount Royal Avenue, near Mosher Street, in Bolton Hill.  

The Confederate Women’s Monument also received funding from the United Confederate Veterans and the State of Maryland. Sculpted by J. Maxwell Miller, it is located at the intersection of North Charles Street and University Parkway in the Guilford neighborhood.

Confederate Women’s Monument (1915-17)

The Lee Jackson Monument (1948) glorifies these generals and the cause for which they were fighting.  Donated by J. Henry Ferguson, and sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser, it resides in Wyman Park, across from the Baltimore Museum of Art. 

Lee and Jackson Monument (1948)

The Commission will seek out testimony from experts in history, art history, and citizens. The Commission will also examine what actions other jurisdictions have taken regarding Confederate monuments in the U.S., as well as what other nations with complex pasts have done with their divisive monuments. This information will also be shared on the Commission’s website. Early next year, once this research is completed and testimony from experts and citizens alike has been provided, the Commission will craft recommendations on the future of each monument for consideration by the MayorOptions range from leaving the monuments in place as-is to wholesale removal.  

The Commission held its first public hearing on September 17th.  Three more public meetings are scheduled:

  • October 29, 2015 at 9:00 a.m.
  •  December 15, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. 
  • January 14, at 9:00 a.m.

For more information and to submit your comments about these monuments, please visit http://baltimoreplanning.wix.com/monumentcommission