April 27, 2022
Living Classrooms Foundation is honored to be part of the Baltimore and Washington DC communities for the past 36 years. Our programs and initiatives provide countless opportunities for youth, adults, and families and our newest “living classroom” continues the tradition. While looking towards the future, we can’t forget the importance of the past and the new Bauer Workforce Opportunity Center is a living testament to the impact history can have.
Our Project Serve construction crew has been steadily rehabbing the building and working with subcontractors to create a multipurpose space transforming the former Ferndale Fence and Awning Building located at the corner of Thames and South Caroline Streets. The 8000 sq. ft. building, named the Bauer Workforce Opportunity Center, has been redesigned to house multiple Workforce Development program including production, warehouse, and distribution in partnership with Under Armour and the Dwyer certified nursing assistant training spaces.
The Bauer Center can also be transformed for events with two large bays that open to water views across the street. Additionally, Atwaters will be adding a café into the corner and collaborating with our Fresh Start program to provide real world training to our students.
While countless hours were being poured into the building restoration and program development, a small team was working behind the scenes to research the history of the property. Loyola University intern, Eddie Fine, spent 4 months bouncing between the Pratt Library and Maryland Center for History and Culture, even making trips to the Maryland State Archives in Annapolis and the National Archives in Washington DC. Eddie is a dual Sociology and History major with a strong interest in documenting living histories.
A full and detailed account of the property’s history is still in the works. However, the Maryland State Archives hold the original deeds and provided clues to the early history. The land was originally owned by William Fell and passed to his son Edward. When Edward passed away, his wife, Ann[a] Bond Fell took control of the property. She sold it to the newly married Thomas Kell and Aliceanna Bond in 1767.
Research and construction material suggest that the distinctive house portion pictured above was built the following year. If confirmed, the building would be one of the oldest surviving structures in Baltimore.
Stay tuned for more historical reveals and updates on the ways the Bauer Workforce Opportunity Center is fulfilling its role as a “living classroom.”