BALTIMORE -- A dilapidated former train station that was the scene of the first deaths of the Civil War will be partially rehabilitated, thanks to some public and private money.
The President Street station was where a bloody riot took place 129 years ago when Northern troops arrived in Baltimore and clashed with a pro-Southern crowd.
Nine civilians and three soldiers died in the fighting.
After decades of neglect, the depot is nothing more than a shell of a building, overgrown by weeds.
Although experts said the station would qualify for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, no one has ever applied for the designation.
The station stands at the edge of a planned $350 million development called Inner Harbor East.
The city has prevailed upon the developer of that project John Paterakis, and his partner, Gilbane Properties Inc. of Providence, R.I., to add $95,000 to a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Historic Trust.
The money will be used to put a new roof on the depot and to stabilize its exterior walls.
Officials at Center City Development, which is overseeing the Inner Harbor East project for the city, acknowledge that the money is half of what is needed to make the building safe for occupation and only a fraction of what it would take to restore it to its original condition.
The money is merely intended to make sure the building survives, they said.
"To do more than that isn't economically feasible for the city," said Leslie Howard, a development officer with Center City. "It's been hard enough to find seed money to get started."
Civil War and railroad enthusiasts would like to see a full restoration that would transform the depot into a museum, one that would retell the story of the riots and their ramifications for the city.
Soon after the fighting, Abraham Lincoln, fearful that Baltimore's sympathies would give the Confederacy a toehold north of Washington, sent federal troops into the city. The soldiers placed Baltimore under martial law, which was not lifted until the end of the war.
The riot, in which Northern troops fired on a pro-Southern crowd, also inspired a Baltimore native named James Ryder Randall, then teaching in New Orleans, to write an anti-Union song.
The words called on Marylanders to "avenge the patriotic gore that flecked the streets of Baltimore."
Called "Maryland, My Maryland," it became the state song.