Meet Our Sponsor: Corpus Christi Catholic Church

The forbidding gray façade of Corpus Christi Catholic Church belies rich beauty within.

Home to some of the nation’s finest examples of Florentine glass mosaic, Corpus Christi is also home base for a close-knit, welcoming congregation.

Consecrated in 1891, the church was built by the five children of Thomas Courtney Jenkins and Louisa Carrell Jenkins in honor of their parents. It was designed by the Brooklyn architect Patrick Charles Keeley, designer of over 600 churches, with decorations made by an English company that participated in the design of the Houses of Parliament.

The church’s Florentine mosaics exemplify the lush coloring and imagery of the Pre-Raphaelites, contrasting with the church’s Gothic Revival exterior. Mosaics over the altar and throughout the church depict Biblical themes, the history of Catholicism in Maryland, and the history of the Jenkins family, which has roots in Maryland dating to the 1600s.

Fr. Marty
Father Martin Demek, pastor of Corpus Christi Catholic Church.

Father Marty Demek presides over the congregation. A native Baltimorean, Fr. Marty was educated at St. Paul Latin School, St. Charles College in Catonsville, and the Pontifical Gregorian University. He came to Corpus Christi in 2010 after serving at various parishes in the Baltimore area and in Manchester, MD.

Parishioners note the church’s warm, welcoming atmosphere. “You have basilica-level beauty in a small parish with a tight-knit yet welcoming, vibrant community,” says Sarah Bujno. “It’s a different experience than I’ve had with other churches.”

During the service, this spirit of welcome is evident during the passing of the peace. Rather than just greet their immediate neighbors with a simple handshake and a “peace be with you,” parishioners leave their pews and move throughout the nave, greeting old friends and new ones alike with kiss on the cheek or an embrace. “It’s an active community event,” said Bujno.

Corpus Christi also ensures equal representation of men and women at the altar during service, scheduling three female Eucharistic Ministers for each Sunday Mass to balance a male Eucharistic Minister, Fr. Marty, and his attending Deacon.

The church organizes a variety of opportunities for spiritual growth for children, teens, and adults. Children under five get their own “Liturgy of the Word,” which takes place during the 10:30 am Sunday mass, while kids between kindergarten through tenth grade receive Faith Formation on Sunday mornings before Mass and in preparation for sacramental rites of passage such as first communion and confirmation.

Adult parishioners may join a variety of committees that support the activities of the Church. Corpus Christi also sponsors marriage preparation classes (open to anyone planning to wed in a Catholic church), Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) for those interested in learning more about the Catholic faith, and Gays and Lesbians at Corpus Christi (GALA). The Social Justice and Community Service Committee also organizes social justice coffee houses with speakers on current issues and the church’s annual day of service.

The church’s spirit of community reaches well beyond church walls. With financial support from Ellicott City’s Church of the Resurrection, Corpus Christi’s long-running food program, directed by Beth Steinrock, served over 2,000 lunches last year from the rectory door. They also collect food donations from area schools, Whole Foods, parishioners, and neighbors, and partners with St. Francis Neighborhood Center in Reservoir Hill to distribute bags of groceries to those in need. Last year they distributed over 1,000 bags. They also participate in Tri-Church events such as the Lenten Education Series and Palm Sunday procession, and support MICA and UB’s Catholic student population.

Parishioner Denise Duval, who serves with the grocery bag program and also co-chairs the Social Justice and Community Service Committee, said she is “constantly amazed by the deep generosity and love of the Corpus Christi community.”

Mass is held on Saturdays at 4 pm and Sundays at 10:30 am; reconciliation on Saturdays at 3:30 pm or by appointment. To contact the church, call (410) 523-4161 or email mdemek@archbalt.org. If interested in volunteering, contact beth.steinrock@archbalt.org.

Meet ArtsCentric

Chicago The MusicalThe Bulletin proudly welcomes our newest sponsor, theater company ArtsCentric. Founded in April 2003 by twelve young Morgan State University graduates, the company has become a great provider of both enlightenment and entertainment for audiences across the city.

They perform at Motor House, the cool art incubator space at 120 W. North Avenue, an easy walk from Bolton Hill.

Upcoming shows include the musical Chicago (July 21–August 6), and Memphis (August 18–September 10), with four performances weekly, Fridays at 7:30 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and 7:30 pm, and Sundays at 5 pm.

Last year’s revival of the musical Dreamgirls garnered rave reviews, including in the Baltimore Sun.

The company’s talented group of artists, musicians, educators, composers and playwrights bring quality artistic works and creative services to the entire community. They mount a wide array of productions, including traditional, contemporary and original musicals, plays, and concert works. In partnership with schools, churches, and community-based businesses, they provide entertainment and educational shows that enhance many programs and events.

As a color-conscious organization, they are committed to strengthening the community through the power of theater as they re-examine traditional roles in the arts, advance original stories of specific cultures, and foster educational advancement.​

Purchase tickets online and find out more on their website, ArtsCentric.net, and follow them on Facebook.

Meet C&H Restoration and Renovation

C&H
Nick Cairns and Tim Horjus of C&H Restoration and Renovation.

Maybe you’ve seen them driving through the neighborhood, confabulating on a street corner, or making friends with the local canine population. Nick Cairns and Tim Horjus, owners of C&H Restoration and Renovation, seem to be ubiquitous in Bolton Hill. This is really no wonder though since Bolton Hill is where C&H got its start. 

Tim and Nick met years ago at the Area 405 building in the Station North Arts District. Each was working hard trying to pursue a career as an artist while also needing to earn a living. This shared existence planted the seed for the founding of C&H.

Tim grew up in the Midwest and cut his teeth in the trades helping his dad restore pipe organs and working as a house framer and general contractor. He came to Baltimore to attend graduate school at MICA, ultimately receiving an MFA from the University of Maryland. Along with doing carpentry work and floor refinishing, Tim taught art, from kindergarten to the graduate level. C&H is proud to have employed a few of his former students over the years.  

Nick hails from the Philadelphia suburbs, where he spent his childhood in a foundry, helping his father, a sculptor, make plaster and bronze casts. After college in Ohio and several years in New York and Boston, Nick moved to Baltimore in 2004. Here, he developed a small business using his moldmaking and casting skills to restore ornamental plasterwork in older homes throughout Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Gargoyle House
Gargoyle House

Having worked together on a number of smaller restoration and remodeling projects, Nick and Tim were given the opportunity in 2010 to help restore Bolton Hill’s well-known “Gargoyle House.” This beautiful, distinctive building had languished in disrepair for years; a tree had even started growing out of one corner of the house. Over the next two years, Nick and Tim helped bring this home back to its original glory (see more photos here.) During the course of this project, C&H was born.

C&H Restoration and Renovation specializes in the restoration and updating of historic homes. One of the most rewarding aspects of this work is getting the opportunity to play Sherlock Holmes. The darkened marks on floors indicating original wall locations, the joinery method of old joists, the oak parquet flooring installed over the original heart pine floors—not to mention century-old whiskey bottles, newspapers and baseball cards: these all become clues in that help Nick and Tim piece together the histories of these remarkable homes. 

The discovery process is the starting point of each project. Nick and Time then work to seamlessly and sensibly merge the old with the new. C&H loves to work with homeowners to find ways to combine the history of the house with a new vision, a way for homeowners to write their own chapter in the history of these grand old houses.

Perhaps, some century from now, a future house detective will come across C&H’s handiwork in some of these Bolton Hill homes.

Meet Memorial Episcopal

Memorial Episcopal interior

By Greta Brueck and Monty Howard

It’s not every day that you find a house of worship that describes itself as both “radically welcoming” and “diverse” — unless you live in Bolton Hill. Established in 1860, long before anything too radical or diverse was celebrated, Memorial Episcopal Church has evolved from a traditional neighborhood church that, sadly, discriminated in both senses of the word, into a passionately openminded parish that considers itself a force for constructive change within the Diocese of Maryland.

The main catalyst for Memorial’s evolution over the past century was Father Barney Farnham, who took over the church in the late 1960s in the midst of an extremely racially divided city. Farnham was a true leader in urban ministry, initiating outreach programs, free community meals, and support groups. He eagerly brought people together while also attracting those outside of what he dubbed the “white island.” Under his care, Memorial underwent a phoenix-like transformation.

Through continued devotion to social justice (one of its Core Vocations), the parish was one of the first in Maryland to hire a female priest, and it was also the first congregation to marry a same-sex couple.

So many of the roots planted by Father Farnham have grown into a garden now tended loyally by its current Rector, Reverend Grey Maggiano. Maggiano has been ardent and fearless in challenging his congregation and his community “to reach out in love — not judgement — and form real relationships.” You can read more of his ideas on his blog.

Rev. Maggiano also recognizes that along the road to tolerance, it is important not to forget the past. On Good Friday, he led his parish in the “Repenting for Racism: Stations of the Cross Walk.” in which 37 parishioners, neighbors and friends toured sites in the neighborhood where racism manifested itself through 1960s.

Selections from a recent student art exhibit at the church

Today, Memorial’s beautiful old stone structure stands mighty on the grounds of a loving new norm, celebrating differences both theological and human. In addition to worship services, neighbors enjoy a variety of events and opportunities hosted in the space: monthly neighborhood association meetings, galas, yoga, student art exhibits, the Samaritan Community— they even let one of the Bulletin’s co-editors teach his Sheng Zhen Gong classes there!

Forget age, race, marital status, sexual orientation—the more diversified the voices, the merrier the worship. And speaking of merry voices, don’t miss a chance to experience Memorial’s theater arts program, which hosts a Fall Drama and a Spring Musical every year.

All are welcome, always. A schedule of services and more can be found at Memorial Episcopal online.

Meet Belle Hardware

Mickey has emceed the Baltimore Beard and Mustache Club’s Charm City Championships.

By Mickey Fried

First off, there is no Mr. or Ms. Belle. But, there was an Isabelle, my grandmother.

In 1976, when Janice and Joel (my mom and pop) opened their first hardware store in Rosedale, Isabelle had retail experience and helped them get their new business off the ground. And, even more generously, she gave her name to the new enterprise.

From the start, my parents wanted a city location, so when the McMechen Plaza expanded in 1978, they doubled up and opened their Bolton Hill store.

Originally, Belle was on east end of the plaza, in the storefront furthest away from the grocery store. When my parents set up the shop there, I enjoyed the thrill of cruising my Big Wheel up and down the empty isles.

Back then, there was a shoe store next door, then a much smaller Rite-Aid, Wallock’s Liquor, and the laundromat. The grocery store at the far end was an A & P. When the shoe store closed a year later, the space was divided in two; Rite-Aid took most of it, and the Bolton Hill Carry Out moved into what was left. They had the best damn fried chicken in the city. REALLY!

Joel Fried and Maurice Jackson

Since my parents already owned two hardware stores, they decided a third was needed and acquired Cherry Hill Supply. While working in Cherry Hill, my mother Janice met the manager of the adjacent grocery store, Maurice Jackson, and eventually, in 1981, convinced him to join the Belle family.

Maurice had a master’s degree in loyal customer production, and had great skill for identifying just the right thingamajig for a job, complete with a lesson on how to use it. He practiced these arts at the Bolton Hill store for 32 years, until he retired in December 2013.

The Rosedale store was sold in 1982, followed by the Cherry Hill store in 1986. For a short period in ’86-’87, there was a fourth location in Roland Park on Cold Spring Lane. But they quickly decided that Roland Park wasn’t cool enough for a Belle Hardware.

 

My father Joel passed away last year. He always used to say that it wasn’t summer until you had your first sno-ball, and so to honor him, we created Sno-Ball Day on the Saturday before Father’s Day last June. I am planning to do it again this year.

Since I work in retail, I answer to nearly anything, but I prefer “Mickey,” which is my real name and not short for anything. (I hate that Toni Basil song, by the way.)

I’ve been cutting keys since I was 7 years old, but I’ve been a motorcycle enthusiast almost as long (remember my Big Wheel). I even briefly taught motorcycle safety in the early 2000’s.

So, if I wasn’t in hardware, there is a really good chance I’d be at the MVA in the Motorcycle Safety Program. Imagine if going to the MVA was like coming to Belle. You might look forward to renewing your license.

Check out the fun and like us on our Belle Hardware Face Book. And, drop by the store to say “hi.” But please, don’t sing me that song.

Each month, “Meet Our Sponsors” highlights one or two of the businesses and organizations that provide financial support for the Bulletin. We hope this will help readers learn more about the neighborhood, as well as encourage them to support the people who make this newsletter possible. See the list of our sponsors here.

Meet Jon Kaplan, Health Coach and Fitness Trainer

Jon on his around the country sabbatical last fall

Jon Adler Kaplan was voted Best Personal Trainer in 2008 by Baltimore Magazine, but he wasn’t always so passionate about health and wellness.

In fact, he first started teaching a fitness class while he was a communications major at Penn State University for a group of sorority women just to have fun.

“It was a social thing,” Kaplan said. “That’s when Jane Fonda was pretty big. They nicknamed me Jon Fonda.”

What started as a fun pastime soon became a way of life. When Kaplan moved to Baltimore for a job, he taught aerobics part-time at at the Downtown Athletic Club. A year later, he quit his job and took up fitness full-time.

In the 31 years that have passed since then, Jon has been involved in club management for a variety of facilities in Baltimore and Washington, DC. He helped to establish the employee wellness centers at Harbor, Union Memorial and Good Samaritan Hospitals.  

Jon helps organize the annual DanceWalk at Artscape, which benefits BMoreFit.

Jon received an Open Society Institute fellowship in 2008 to develop the Baltimore Fitness Academy—or BMoreFit, for short—which teaches young people to adopt healthier lifestyles. In 2009, he incorporated BMoreFit as a nonprofit and is continuing his mission to create healthier communities and reduce childhood obesity. The Board of BMoreFit merged with the Y of Central Maryland at the end of 2016.

Jon is currently building a Baltimore office for Infinity Wellness Partners. As WorkLIFE director he gets companies to embrace wellness so that employees are living healthier lifestyles. Jon also trains clients at Meadow Mill Athletic Club and at his home in Bolton Hill. 

“I had heard that women should do some weight training as they get older, as it helps build stronger bones and prolongs life, but I had always been uncomfortable in gyms where both the machines and people intimidated me,” explained client Kristine Smets,

“So, I was apprehensive when I first signed up to exercise with Jon. But after our first workout together I realized I need not fear. Jon really met me where I was—a reluctant, rather inexperienced athlete who needs lots of constant encouragement.” After two years, Smets has seen results. “I have better posture, am much stronger, and even have a little bit of muscle tone! I have not quit because Jon does not let me off the hook and once I am there, I have fun.”

Working in corporate wellness is the perfect fit for Kaplan. “It allows me to utilize skills I have learned from 31 years in the fitness industry, combined with my marketing and communications background, to promote a healthy lifestyle,” he said. “But the best part is seeing the transformations that take place. A lot of people don’t get that in their jobs. When you see someone who transforms their life, it changes yours.”

Jon is available to train you in his Bolton Hill home or is happy to coach you in your home to help you become the best you possible. You can reach Jon at 410-241-8444 or jonadlerkaplan@gmail.com.

Each month, “Meet Our Sponsors” highlights one or two of the businesses and organizations that provide financial support for the Bulletin. We hope this will help readers learn more about the neighborhood, as well as encourage them to support the people who make this newsletter possible. See the list of our sponsors here.

Meet Kristine Smets and Chainlines

Kristine Smets

By Greta Brueck

In the middle of Thanksgiving dinner, your great-uncle shocks the family when he relates that one of your 19th-century European ancestors was an infamous serial killer. Sure, Uncle Norm is on his third glass of wine—yet when pressed, he swears this lineage was confirmed by a late relative, who heard it from another relative, who heard it from someone else.

For weeks, you’re unable to stop thinking about this mysterious (and hopefully very distant) branch on your family tree. Is this ancestor for real? A few quick, disappointing Google searches leave you wondering where to even begin verifying such a story.

As it turns out, you may not even have to leave the neighborhood. Bolton Hill resident Kristine Smets is the owner of Chainlines, LLC, which specializes in genealogical and historical research. Kristine makes it her job to follow all the twisted, winding traces of your familial past—even into its darkest corners.

As a librarian for 20 years, with two degrees in history, Kristine is well cut out for the job.

“It all began with a box,” she says. “When we moved my mother-in-law from Chicago to Baltimore about six years ago, amongst the possessions was a box labeled ‘family history.’ I told my husband, “Don’t let me open that box, or you’ll never see me again.” 

But being human, Kristine couldn’t resist the temptation. She opened that box about a year later. When she did, she found that her father-in-law had begun documenting his family history. This discovery inspired her to start a little genealogical research of her own. “Before I knew it,” she says, “I had a [family] tree with 4,000 people in it!” She decided to take a class through Boston University so that she could take her new hobby to a professional level.

The name of her company comes out of her work as a professional librarian at the Hopkins Eisenhower Library and a freelance bibliographer, where she spent several years working with special collections materials and rare books.

“One of the clues that we use when we research rare books or books from the hand-printed era are the chain lines in the paper,” she says. “Chain lines are the lines that you can see when you hold up hand-made paper to the light. They were made by the frames in which the paper was made. I think the name is still apt for what I do as a genealogist: it’s a clue. And in genealogy and family history, we are looking for clues.”

A piece of handmade paper illuminated from behind to make chainlines visible. Photograph by Ambassador Neelix, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

The detective work can be both insightful and humbling. A big part of Kristine’s mission is to highlight the diversity found in family histories, and in doing so “promote acceptance and fight prejudice within our society.” Her work also helps give lonely or isolated people a sense of community and belonging.

Kristine plans to become a certified genealogist and expand her services to include DNA analysis. Read examples of her past and current research projects here, and—if you would like to dive a little deeper into your own “roots”—you can contact her directly at kristine@chainlines.com.

See an example of Kristine’s research work in her article about a neighborhood church in this issue.

Each month, “Meet Our Sponsors” highlights one or two of the businesses and organizations that provide financial support for the Bulletin. We hope this will help readers learn more about the neighborhood, as well as encourage them to support the people who make this newsletter possible. See the list of our sponsors here, including our two new sponsors, Jon Alder Kaplan and Unique Resources.

Meet Joe Palumbo, CPA

Each month, “Meet Our Sponsors” highlights one or two of the businesses and organizations that provide financial support for the Bulletin. We hope this will help readers learn more about the neighborhood, as well as encourage them to support the people who make this newsletter possible. See the list of our sponsors here.

Joe’s favorite destination – Hawaii

Not all CPA offices are boring. In fact, the welcoming, cozy feel of Joe Palumbo’s office at 1500 Bolton Street makes clients think they’re in a friend’s home. Talking taxes becomes just a bit less, well, taxing here.

Sitting in the comfortable armchairs in his front office, you can’t help but take in the floor-to-ceiling wall of Joe’s photos, taken on his wide-ranging trips.

“When I’m not crunching numbers, I love to travel,” says Joe. By his count, he’s traveled to 45 states and 13 countries. “I guess Hawaii’s my favorite place,” he says, “because of the wonderful scenery and the laid-back attitude. But Iceland and Costa Rica rank right up there.”

Joe’s love of travel happily meshes with his other passion, running, He has run marathons in Berlin, New York, Chicago and Boston. Last year in Washington D.C., he completed his 15th and final marathon, and now plans to run just for fun and exercise.

As a Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner, Joe has been preparing tax returns since 2000. When his then-employer retired in 2003, Joe bought the Glen Burnie business, which became (and still is) his first office.

However, as a longtime resident of Bolton Hill, he always had his eye on the 1500 Bolton Street space, thinking it would make the perfect second office. In 2013, he happened to inquire about its availability just as its occupants were giving up the space. Perfect timing! Joe was moving in within a month.

Besides Joe, the office staff includes administrative assistants Kim Scaglione, in the Bolton Hill office, and Jodi Vanderford in Glen Burnie, as well as accountant Matt Horton. Matt and Joe split their time between both offices.

The firm’s star greeter is Duffy, Joe’s black lab, who goes to work with him every day. Duffy turns 11 on St Patrick’s Day, so be sure to stop by to wish her happy birthday. Or come say hello to Kim, or grab a treat from the office candy jar. While there, why not make an appointment to talk with Joe about your 2016 taxes? Now’s the time, after all.

Joseph J. Palumbo CPA, 1500 Bolton Street, Baltimore or 323 Crain Hwy. S.E., Glen Burnie, 410-412-3321 or 410-761-2664, joe@joepalumbocpa.com

New Bulletin Feature: Meet Our Sponsors

With the beginning of a new year, we are introducing a new monthly feature, Meet Our Sponsors, to the Bolton Hill Bulletin. 

Each month, we’ll highlight one of the wonderful group of businesses and organizations that provide financial support for the publication of the Bulletin, as well as general funding for MRIA’s many other projects.

Most of our sponsors have been with us for years, and we are very grateful for their loyal support. But the new year brings some new faces, including C&H Restoration and Chainlines, plus our featured sponsor this month, The Brass Tap. We offer all of them a warm welcome and our sincere thanks.

We hope this feature will help all of us know more about our neighborhood, and we encourage you to support our sponsors as they support us.

TIP for readers: Click on a sponsor’s ad to go to their website for additional information (try it). You can also find an alphabetical listing for all our sponsors with their contact information on our Sponsor page (or, from the main menu at the top of each page, click on “Sponsors”).

We still have openings for two additional sponsors this year. If you or someone you know might be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact the editors at bhbeditormail@gmail.com for more information.

Meet The Brass Tap

This month, a hot new craft beer bar will arrive in the neighborhood. Owners Barry and Pauline Lowenthal plan to open the doors of their pub, The Brass Tap, on January 9, with the grand opening celebration scheduled for the January 20–21 weekend.

Brass Tap
Co-owner Barry Lowenthal at the new entrance of The Brass Tap.

Located in the Fitzgerald building between Two Boots Pizza and the Mt. Royal Light Rail stop, this upscale craft beer bar will offer 60 different local and regional beers on tap, plus unique pub food and a large selection of wines & spirits.

Barry grew up in the restaurant business, getting his first restaurant job at 14, and then opening a pizza place at 18. He sold that business when he was 22, but soon realized that restaurant bug had bitten him. Ever since he’s been on the lookout for his next spot. 

It’s been a long wait. After graduating from Cornell University with a degree in Hotel Administration, Barry’s career took a detour, spending the past thirteen years running a carpet cleaning company in the Washington, D.C. area. Meanwhile, his wife Pauline pursued a career in higher education, most recently serving as Dean of Students at Notre Dame of Maryland University.

Meanwhile, Barry kept dreaming. Friends introduced Barry to craft brewing, and he learned how great a beer could be. He picked up the hobby of home brewing as a way to research the special world of hand-crafted suds.

Finally, the time came to take the plunge. With the support of his wife Pauline, Barry convinced his his brother Michael, another restaurant veteran, to move to Georgia to Maryland to help him open The Brass Tap. 

Though The Brass Tap is part of a national franchise, each bar is locally owned and operated. For the Lowenthals, this means a hands-on, family-run operation. Barry explained, “We chose Baltimore because we love the city. We want to be involved in the neighborhood and the greater Baltimore community to make our city an awesome place to live.”

Brass Tap interior
Interior of The Brass Tap during construction.

They plan to have regular live music, happy hours on weekdays from 2–7 pm, and brunch on weekends, plus special parties for festive days, like St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest. The Brass Tap will be the local place to go for Baltimore Beer Week, as well as a welcome watering spot during ArtScape.

Follow them on Facebook here.