Sunday, July 31, 2016

Another Baltimore Treasure Crumbles

My home town of Baltimore does not have a great track record when it comes to historic preservation, especially when it comes to theaters.  Many were bulldozed out of existence years ago, and most of the ones that are left have been adaptively reused out of existence.  Happily, there are a handful of exceptions, and I had hopes during the past few years that the Mayfair Theater on Howard Street (where I saw "Bonnie and Clyde" and "The Godfather" many years ago) might join the ranks of those exceptions.

Sadly, it is not to be.  The city-owned building has been allowed to deteriorate over decades, and now, except for the facade and the lobby, it is by now probably gone, if this story is correct.

Baltimore, a city with troubles piled on top of troubles, doesn't have the resources to properly care for priceless resources like this one.  The city government should have solicited bids for its re-use a long time ago, but historic preservation occupies a very low rung on its ladder of priorities.  Still, it had a stage house as well as a screen, and could easily have been re-used by one of the many performance groups taking root in the city.

If only all 50 states could join New Mexico in taking the lead to preserve historic theaters!  Perhaps, one day, it will happen  Hopefully, it won't be too late for most of the other endangered buildings like the Mayfair.

No comments: