The Colonial Theatre Tea Garden

The beauty spot of downtown Richmond was, in 1921, the Tea Garden of the brand-new Colonial Theatre. Herein, we recreate the essence of elegance, joy and hauteur that was once found in Virginia's first real picture palace. Bathtub gin is available at the top of the grand ramps.

Monday, October 22, 2007

As the school year progresses, I find it harder to stop for bloggin'. Even so, my trip from der Paulusstrasse over towards CarVoHi is rather different now. Can it be that tired and dogged old Baltimore is changing? Well, it must, after all. Somehow, these once lovely neighborhoods turned into filth and horror--can they now turn around?

It seems that they can, if ever so slowly. If the blocks right around Carver High are still crumbling, some of the blocks between my house and the school are coming back.

Wait. Hold that thought. '80s people, you'll understand this-- REWIND. The blocks around Carver aren't ALL crumbling. Some of them are awful--boarded up, and rotting. But then, some of them are well-kept, with pretty impatiens and chrysanthemums in pots out front. See, there's Baltimore for you; just when you think the damned city is dead and gone, a clean-swept porch with pots full of beautiful flowers jumps up to tell you that you're wrong.

The drive to school is mostly different because of the new "improvements" on Fulton Avenue. Mind you, those who designed Fulton Avenue 150 years ago would be somewhat taken aback; but anybody who knows the Baltimore of the last fifty years will be charmed by the "new" changes. This big, wide boulevard was intended to have a wide median full of pretty trees and flowers. They've been gone for half a century, but they're coming back now!

I'm not sure what to make of all this. I have heard many voices in the world of Balto-Education decry the expenditure: shouldn't the city spend its money in the schools? In this case, I can't agree. Money spent on the beautification of the city--especially in run-down neighborhoods--is well spent. This is the philosophy that gave us Druid Hill Park in the first place; the ideals that brought Central Park to New York and Fairmount Park to Philadelphia. (By the way, Druid Hill ranks with those two as one of the first serious city parks in the nation.)
If we can make our city a more beautiful place to live, the horrors of poverty and crime will.... well, they'll not be negated, but they can be lessened. This was the train of thought behind the park movement of the nineteenth century. Did it work? Not entirely, but it certainly wasn't a bad idea. Surely, a lot of people still cherish memories of Druid Hill Park. I know that I do. I know that many of my students would benefit immensely from time spent in that beautiful Park.
Mind you all, too: I always have a sideline in mind. I'm now thinking---we are after all a vocational and technical school! Hmm-- maybe we could get Carver kids to take care of the City's parks! What a great double-edged sword! our kids could train in a profitable trade, and the City could reap the benefits as well...
And, just maybe, if I'm really nice to the carpentry teacher, the lovely old Music Pavilion could be rebuilt as well.