Baltimore’s Arch Social Club is in the running to receive funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Partners in Preservation and Vote Your Main Street programs. The ca. 1905 building is one of the oldest, continuously operating African American men’s social clubs in the U.S. and was part of a major state-funded initiative to enhance Baltimore’s storefronts.

UPDATE: The Arch Social Club ranked within the top 11 projects by way of public support to win $118,000 in funding to be used for exterior and interior projects and programmatic support to launch an arts district along Baltimore City’s Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Arch Social Club is in the running with 20 other historic Main Street buildings across the country. On October 26, 2018, the sites with the most online votes will receive a share of a $2 million gift from American Express. If the Social Club is selected the funding will be used to restore the historic marquee and install exterior lighting to help launch a new arts and entertainment district.

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In Spring 2015, the City of Baltimore experienced protests in response to the death of Freddie Gray in a historically-African American commercial district that caused damage to dozens of storefronts. Without assistance, these storefronts remain in their damaged state and contribute to the real and perceived state of abandonment and decay in their respective neighborhoods. In November 2015, the Hogan Administration made the decision to fund a $650,000 large-scale facade improvement program for Baltimore’s historic storefronts – a result of intense advocacy by Preservation Maryland.

Many public and private partners came together including AIA BaltimoreBaltimore HeritageMaryland Department of Housing and Community DevelopmentCivicWorksLiving Classrooms, and theNeighborhood Design CenterApplications were accepted in 2015 with photographic documentation and architectural work taking place throughout 2016. In 2017, he Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development reported that several of the storefront improvement program were completed, including: 407 W. Franklin Street2021 W. Pratt Street, and several storefronts along Pennsylvania Avenue.

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