While eating excessive amounts of pizza at Zella's during the Sowebo Music & Arts Festival, we quickly decided further exploration of the Hollins Market area was necessary. We sent an email to our buddy Noah over at ToolBank, and a few clicks later, we had a date set up with Michael Seipp, Executive Director of the Southwest Partnership. The following week, we found ourselves standing at the corner of Hollins and Carrollton, just outside of Hollins Market, with Michael and he brought along JR Lee and Bif Browning. We quickly learned these guys are some of the neighborhoods most bullish and active individuals (every few feet they were chatting with and introducing us to another resident who was involved in the community). Before heading inside, we had some quick history lessons about the market (there's an old recreational center and basketball court up top and the market used to be fully open on both sides...something these guys hope to see again in the future). Bif also explained that the Hollins Market and Union Square area, home of many notable Baltimoreans, was the city's first innovation corridor; railroads, telegraphs and bicycle trails all found their origins in the neighborhood. Not to mention all the events, movies and concerts regularly happening in the area as well.
Hollins Market is the oldest existing public market building in Baltimore and there are still longtime vendors with rich stories about their family history in the market (check out Johnnie's Seafood, Jack's Poultry, L&R Produce, just to name a few). We could go on about the things we learned from Bif, Michael and JR and the other individuals we spoke to – but that’s why we have the podcast. The point is that being bullish on Baltimore is about engaging with our city and the people working to make it great. There are many of them. What we thought might end up as a quick chat with one person turned into a a morning meeting passionate new people sharing old stories and visions for the future…and of course some delicious tacos at JR’s spot, Mi Ranchito. When people are proud of what they have helped to create and continue to build, they are excited to share these stories. Finding these individuals and listening is especially fun.
In addition to the places mentioned, make sure to check out City of Gods, CUPS Coffeehouse and all the other places in the neighborhood we haven't even made it to yet. Then email us and tell us about it!
Huge thanks to our buddy Gio for capturing it all in his amazing photographs.