Baltimore’s Upton neighborhood is a mixed-use historic neighborhood. Formerly home to such icons as Billie Holiday and Thurgood Marshall, it was once a thriving hub of African American culture and commerce. Since then, it has lost many of the places and people that made it sustainable — but the neighborhood continues to take pride in its friendly atmosphere, strong sense of community, and place in Baltimore’s history. The Upton Planning Committee strives to inspire ownership and pride in the community by renovating places of historical value.
One of these places is the former Harriet Beecher Stowe School, a historic building that the Upton Planning Committee (UPC) is working to renovate into an indigo processing facility and the headquarters of the Natural Dye Initiative (NDI), a social enterprise of UPC. NDI is creating an indigo business, service, and cultural ecosystem to spread wealth by engaging severely marginalized workers, small minority urban and rural farmers, and small businesses. NDI also maintains an indigo farm across the street from the school, which occupies the entire block and will be the site of the Sacred Place. NDI assists with the community garden behind the indigo farm as well, which could be incorporated into the plan for the Sacred Place also.