Terry Davis

Is Baltimore selling its past?

Is Baltimore selling its past?

It is the clearest sign of the direction historic preservation may be going: Even a building called Government House, a 19th-century mansion in Baltimore's Midtown neighborhood, is now in private hands.

While some history buffs were horrified to learn last week that cash-strapped Baltimore is considering the sale or lease of 15 other historic properties — prompting fears that "For Sale By Owner" signs would sprout on such icons as the Shot Tower and the War Memorial Building — preservationists say that, increasingly, this is what cities and states must do to save them.

"It's good for the city to go in and try to understand what the needs are and find the best...