The Baltimore Sun
June 29, 2014
By Meredith Cohn

Alice Johnson noticed the checker boards that recently popped up behind her house, a neat brick rowhouse in the Barclay neighborhood of Baltimore.

“People will definitely use them,” she said. “I play. I wish I could play chess, too.”

She should have time to learn. The boards have been etched permanently into 1,000-pound slabs of marble in a new community courtyard.

The stones are salvaged steps from several area houses, and the artist who placed them in the courtyard hopes they become a new kind of Baltimore front steps — where urban dwellers have long gathered, told stories and played games.

The marble was saved by Telesis Corp., which began construction in 2010 on an $85 million project to rehabilitate and rebuild vacant city-owned homes, in an effort to bring new life to an area adjacent to the Station North arts district.

The company had contacted an artist at the Maryland Institute College of Art about reusing the stone from the Beaver Dam quarry in Cockeysville. The quarry supplied stone for many of the marble steps in Baltimore, as well as for more prominent projects, but is now used primarily as a swimming hole . . .

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