The Black Damask Project – A National Winner


Grant from The History Channel – Save Our History National Award

Funded by a $10,000 grant from The History Channel’s Save Our History Program, students from The Baltimore Talent Development High School, Baltimore Civic Works (AmeriCorp), and members of Carroll’s Hundred replanted over 80 heritage fruit trees in the orchard’s original location on the historic landscape.  An important goal of the project was to empower young people to save their own community’s history.  The Black Damask Project was one of ten finalists to receive a national award.

Saving An Endangered Landmark – BTDHS Students with a Little Help from The History Channel!

Suffering from years of neglect, this endangered icon of colonial American history was on virtual life support.  The restoration of the Carroll’s Hundred orchard and the involvement of the community’s young people began just in time to save one of our uniquely American places – eligible to be a National Historic Landmark.  It was an important first step in bringing the story of this remarkable place to the attention of its local and national constituencies.

The Name "Black Damask"

What we know today as the dark and beautiful Damson plum originated as a child of the wild mountain region of the Caucasus in western Asia more than 2,000 years ago.  In the 4th century, the armies of Alexander the Great brought the plum along the legendary Silk Route into the Middle East and Damascus where it was cultivated as the damascene plum. 

By the 1600’s the “damask” plum had made its way across Europe, the Atlantic, and onto the great plantations of men like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Charles Carroll Barrister – part of the new fascination and experimentation in horticulture spawned by the Enlightenment.  Carroll’s letter books show that he ordered a ‘black damask plum’ for his orchard in 1767.  For us, it is a symbol of our core mission to interpret the rich social matrix of African and European-American life at Carroll’s Hundred.

Restoring a Heritage Orchard One Person at a Time

The restoration of the landscape, the orchard, and gardens is intended to provide an authentic backdrop for the main subject – the people of the Revolutionary era and their contribution to the American experience.  At Carroll’s Hundred our goal is to create an unparalleled educational experience through living history by examining our diverse colonial heritage, one person at a time.