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A few years ago, before I was asked to relocate the DPW Museum Archives, I was researching Baltimore’s Water History. I knew there were files kept down at Back River, in the museum storage area and after repeatedly pestering people to let me have access to the building, I was told ok – the only problem being, they sent me to the wrong ‘archives’ area. This building was old, dark, damp and a disaster. I was unable to find anything I could use. (It was so dark, I had to use my camera’s flash to get around!) I told the admin down there that if they were to put in some lights, I would volunteer to clean, organize and document the files. No response. A while later I was given access to the museum files, the ones I originally wanted to see.

For my Sewerage History, I again asked for access to the old building. The museum files have since been moved to my work location, but I knew there were others down at Back River, in that original building I was sent to. The place is still a mess but at least I could see inside. The boards on the windows have rotted and fallen down. Sunlight filtered in. There are a lot of old records in there that need preserving. Maybe someone will give me permission this time to do what needs to be done.

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Early contracts, specification books and drawings.

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Three floors of Early Sewerage History!

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There are even photographs from water filtration. These are of the renovations at Ashburton. Why they are at Back River is beyond me!

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