Friday, April 16, 2010

Restoration Admiration (P*S*C* #24)

As one who favors repurposing objects instead of trashing them, there are two places I'd like to highlight from our recent trip to Baltimore: The Old Town National Bank and the Seven Foot Knoll lighthouse. Both were saved from destruction and live on, restored, as special landmarks in the Inner Harbor vicinity.
First, the bank. It was built in the early 1920's. A beauty of a bank at that! However, by the middle of the century, another bank took over this original bank (sounds familiar?). By the late 1980s the bank became a state building which eventually left, too. Leaving one very tired building vacated and in disrepair. A couple of years ago, the building was purchased by one who thought condominiums were the way to go, but then that market vanished as well. Instead, along came the idea to convert the building into a hotel - a Holiday Inn Express as a matter of fact. Which is where we stayed, thanks to a great deal from Hotwire.com. And now I can say I have slept in a bank!
What a grand building this is! You walk right into the two story lobby and see the former bank hub transformed into a beautiful, open space. The original heavy brass doors, the vaults, the bank president's office to the left, and an open dining area to the right are all there.

Our room was lovely as well with a color palette matching the golden yellow hues of the lobby with a warm red accent wall.

Though there was no pool, we certainly didn't miss it as we were always on the go in the city.

The free breakfasts each morning gave us just the jump-starts we needed...imagine them in this pretty lobby space!

Next the lighthouse. This is the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay from the 1820s. It was still in use in the early 1980s, but with advances made in technology, it became obsolete. However, restoration began once the lighthouse was moved to the Inner Harbor area and it reopened for the public in 1988. This is a charmer, too!

This type of lighthouse is called a screwpile lighthouse because of the inner core construction. I found it interesting to note that during the winter months, the animals were kept on the lower platform.

In the center is a list of all the lighthouse keepers in its history. I wonder what it would be like to be a lighthouse keeper sometimes....was it too confining, or was it just right for the right person to be surrounded by water on all sides?

The view from the lighthouse was impressive --- and a perfect spot for those visiting the Inner Harbor area to get a better view of the harbor itself as well as a view of the Baltimore skyline.

Kudos to you, dear Baltimore visionaries, for recognizing that structures from the past should be restored and presented to people in the present!

1 comment:

The Lindahl News said...

Diane P. - you and Dave should consider going! Thanks for commenting on FB.