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The Maryland Curiosity Bureau

A stone-cold mystery

marble steps
Marble steps on Penrose Avenue in West Baltimore (Photo credit: Aaron Henkin / WYPR)

Baltimore’s rowhouses are renowned for their white marble front steps, but where did all that marble come from? This episode, we track down the origins of the mystery marble, and it turns out the answer is closer than you might expect.

Beaver Dam Quarry in 1898
Beaver Dam Quarry in 1898, published in Maryland Geological Survey Volume Two (photo credit: W. B. Clark)
Beaver Dam Quarry in 2021
Beaver Dam Quarry in 2021 (Photo credit: Aaron Henkin / WYPR)
Megan Hildebrandt
Community artist Megan Hildebrandt scrubbing steps in Highlandtown (photo credit: Jim Berger c/o Megan Hildebrandt)
Phillip Lord
Marble historian Phillip Lord in his back yard in Elkridge, Maryland (photo credit: Aaron Henkin / WYPR)
thomas doyle
Thomas Doyle is President of Hilgertner Natural Stone Company in South Baltimore (photo credit: Aaron Henkin / WYPR)

In this episode, we hear from:

Community artist Megan Hildbrandt

Historian Phillip Lord

Thomas Doyle, President of Hilgartner Natural Stone Company

The Maryland Curiosity Bureau
Aaron creates and produces original radio programs and podcasts for WYPR. His current project is The Maryland Curiosity Bureau. Aaron's neighborhood documentary series, Out of the Blocks, earned the 2018 national Edward R Murrow Award. His past work includes the long-running weekly cultural program, The Signal, and the Smithsonian Folkways Recordings series, Tapestry of the Times. Aaron's stories have aired nationally on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.