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War of 1812

Clifton Mansion transformed in $7 million restoration

In the summer of 2013, I visited the Clifton Mansion, which sits atop the little hill in the Northeast Baltimore park and golf course, as a $7 million restoration effort got underway.

And while the place looked much improved — at least the grim flourescent lights and gray metal administration desks were gone — I wondered if that amount of money could put a dent in the problems affecting this grand 19th-century Baltimore landmark, where philanthropist Johns Hopkins maintained his summer residence. I also wondered if 14 to 15 months would be enough time to complete this daunting task.

My friends who volunteer at Clifton told me I would be pleased, if not amazed, with...