BALTIMORE — The homes in Baltimore's Little Italy neighborhood have all kinds of outdoor decorations, many celebrating the Italian heritage.
One home in particular, on Stiles Street, has a new, special adornment next to the front door. Its the Centennial Home plaque, a designation given to families in Baltimore who have owned the same home for 100 years.
"I was born here. I didn’t know no other house," said Mary Ann Boggio-Alcaraz.
She was born inside the home in 1938. Her parents, Romeo and Clementina Boggio, purchased the home in Little Italy in 1920, shortly after emigrating from Italy to the U.S. in 1912.
The Boggios lived with Clementina's parents, also from Italy. Mary Ann grew up in the house with two other siblings. She raised her two kids, Ray and Michelle, with her husband Ray Alcaraz. They are proud grandparents to seven grandchildren.
"I love the neighborhood. It might have changed a little bit, but not that much. Its still the same neighborhood," she said.
The home's backyard is taken up largely by a fig tree Mary Ann's father planted and it still produces figs today. She said they also use to have a grapevine that her father used to make wine.
"My father always made wine, that was his favorite. We never bought wine when he was living. We buy wine now but it’s not as good as my father’s," she said.
And some of that wine was present at the official plaque unveiling in June. Mary Ann's son, Ray Alcaraz, said they found a couple bottles of grappa tucked away in the wine cellar in the basement. He thinks its about 90 years old, from the Prohibition era.
"We opened this when the Centennial Home plaque was dedicated and served it to everyone and no one died. And it was actually pretty good!" he said.
The Centennial Home plaque is given out by Baltimore Heritage, which seeks to preserve historic homes and neighborhoods in Baltimore. There are 18 homes throughout the city that have been given the designation.
For the Boggio-Alcaraz family, receiving the plaque was a moment of pride and love for the neighborhood they call home.
"Its a sense of history and its a sense of the neighborhood and the community," said Ray. " And knowing that it has been a home and it remains a home, and the neighborhood remains a home for so many."
The family says the house will be staying in the Boggio-Alcaraz name for generations to come.