Episode 5: The House that has Stood for 250 Years
In this episode, Frank visits a quirky, yet amazing non-profit that gives back to the community in so many ways, to attend a fundraiser for the oldest still-standing residence in Fell’s Point.
For a little over a year, a theatre buddy of mine has told me about how amazing Second Chance is. He said he goes there often to get props and set pieces. He also says that he shops there for his own house. He urged me to visit, knowing my interest in the nostalgic and weird.
Sadly, it took me filming this episode to get down there, but I’m kicking myself for not coming sooner. How often do you get to walk around in a place that has a three wheeled car, amazing columns, and air hockey tables??? Yes, it’s that frenetic. It also had a fake great-white shark’s head coming out of the wall. And it was for sale!!! I’m putting a few bucks away just so I can buy it.
But beyond just my geekiness for all things weird and historic, getting to go to this even was amazing. Especially because it encapsulates everything that is wonderful about Fell’s Point. Here is a group of people (the Fell’s Point Preservation Society) who not only fought and won to put this building on the National Historic Registry, but they are continuing to fight to keep it alive. How many buildings in America can boast that they are 250 years old?
My favorite comedian, Eddie Izzard once had a bit where he talks about comparing Britain’s history versus America’s history. The quote still resonates with me:
“Yes, and I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from. You tear your history down, man! ’30 years old, let’s smash it to the floor and put a car park here!’ I have seen it in stories. I saw something in a program on something in Miami, and they were saying, ‘We’ve redecorated this building to how it looked over 50 years ago!’ And people were going, ‘No, surely not, no. No one was alive then!’”
And while it’s a joke, it’s also so very, very true. How often do historic buildings in America get torn down for something new and flashy? How many places have lost the war with progress and are not a 7-11? And while this has happened here and there in Fell’s Point, there are definitely people who are ready to stand up and take a stand for the amazing, historic architecture that makes Fell’s Point so great. So keep that in mind the next time you stroll down the Belgian Block streets.
- The Preservation Society
- The Robert Long House
- Baltimore Sun article about the 250th Anniversary of the Robert Long House
- Maryland Historical Society article about the Robert Long House
- Second Chance
- Second Chance Facebook
- Mando for Kids
- Eddie Izzard
- Eddie Izzard’s History Bit (forewarning, there’s four-letter words in this bit)