The Baltimore Rowhouse
Author: Charles Belfoure, Mary Ellen Hayward
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Perhaps no other American city is so defined by an indigenous architectural style as Baltimore is by the rowhouse, whose brick facades march up and down the gentle hills of the city. Why did the rowhouse thrive in Baltimore? How did it escape destruction here, unlike in many other historic American cities? What were the forces that led to the citywide renovation of Baltimore's rowhouses? The Baltimore Rowhouse tells the fascinating 200-year story of this building type. It chronicles the evolution of the rowhouse from its origins as speculative housing for immigrants, through its reclamation and renovation by young urban pioneers thanks to local government sponsorship, to its current occupation by a new cadre of wealthy professionals.
Look Again in Baltimore
Author: John R. Dorsey, James DuSel
Publisher: JHU Press
DuSel's black-and-white photographs focus sharply on details of larger images: the bottom of a doorway, the corner of a portico, the wall of a shoe repair shop, the substructure of a bridge. Dorsey ruminates on these images, and he draws connections between Baltimore's visual vocabulary and the tapestry of civilization. He carries us from a window in Roland Park to the triumphal arch of Constantine in Rome, from a stairway at the Maryland Institute to the Doge's Palace in Venice, from a vine at the Baltimore Museum of Art to Shakespeare.
Blockbusting in Baltimore
Author: W. Edward Orser
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
This innovative study of racial upheaval and urban transformation in Baltimore, Maryland investigates the impact of "blockbusting" -- a practice in which real estate agents would sell a house on an all-white block to an African American family with the aim of igniting a panic among the other residents. These homeowners would often sell at a loss to move away, and the real estate agents would promote the properties at a drastic markup to African American buyers. In this groundbreaking book, W. Edward Orser examines Edmondson Village, a west Baltimore rowhouse community where an especially acute instance of blockbusting triggered white flight and racial change on a dramatic scale. Between 1955 and 1965, nearly twenty thousand white residents, who saw their secure world changing drastically, were replaced by blacks in search of the American dream. By buying low and selling high, playing on the fears of whites and the needs of African Americans, blockbusters set off a series of events that Orser calls "a collective trauma whose significance for recent American social and cultural history is still insufficiently appreciated and understood." Blockbusting in Baltimore describes a widely experienced but little analyzed phenomenon of recent social history. Orser makes an important contribution to community and urban studies, race relations, and records of the African American experience.
Patterson Park is an urban oasis, a sacred green space surrounded by red brick row homes and generations of diverse cultures and neighborhoods. For almost 180 years, Baltimoreans have picnicked under tall tulip poplars, strolled the deeply curved paths, and enjoyed the rich architectural design of this 137-acre East Baltimore park. Patterson Park is not simply beautiful landscapes, scenic vistas, and tree-lined pathways. This refuge is also an urban emerald with many facets. Patterson Park has served as the defenses of Baltimore during the War of 1812, a Civil War surgical hospital, and a picturesque home to herons, wood ducks, and painted turtles. Patterson Park has a free outdoor gym with tennis courts, volleyball nets, and an ice rink, as well as paths for relaxing walks around the boat lake. Since its beginnings in 1827, Patterson Park has been a prime example of how urban open spaces can complete and unify diverse communities.
Author: Jacqueline Greff, Frank L. Tybush V, Jeffrey Bejma
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
Fellâ€™s Point history can be told as a â€śtale of two cities:â€ť abolitionists and violent secessionists; fire-bombing murderers and community organizers; million-dollar condos and low-income projects; and world champion boxers and a myriad of panhandlers. This dichotomy has created a neighborhood unlike any other in Baltimore. One of the oldest neighborhoods in America, Fellâ€™s Point has witnessed much in its 300-plus years. Originally Baltimoreâ€™s deepwater seaport, Fellâ€™s Pointâ€™s privateers were crucial to winning of the War of 1812. After shipbuilding moved out and waves of immigrants moved through the community, it gradually fell into decline in the first half of the 20th century. In the 1960s, dedicated preservationists began a decade-plus-long battle to defeat city plans to demolish it for a highway. Today, Fellâ€™s Point is a thriving, artistic, and eccentric community that welcomes one and all to experience its history, its culture, and its people.
Painted screens have long been synonymous in the popular imagination with the Baltimore row house. Picturesque, practical, and quirky, window and door screens adorned with scenic views simultaneously offer privacy and ventilation in crowded neighborhoods. As an urban folk art, painted screens flourished in Baltimore, though they did not originate thereâ€”precursors date to early eighteenth-century London. They were a fixture on fine homes and businesses in Europe and America throughout the Victorian era. But as the handmade screen yielded to industrial production, the whimsical artifact of the elite classes was suddenly transformed into an item for mass consumption. Historic examples are now a rarity, but in Baltimore the folk art is still very much alive. The Painted Screens of Baltimore takes a first look at this beloved icon of one major American city through the words and images of dozens of self-taught artists who trace their creations to the capable and unlikely brush of one Bohemian immigrant, William Oktavec. In 1913, this corner grocer began a family dynasty inspired generations of artists who continue his craft to this day. The book examines the roots of painted wire cloth, the ethnic communities where painted screens have been at home for a century, and the future of this art form.
Author: Letitia Stockett
Publisher: JHU Press
A teacher of English and English History at the Friends School in Baltimore, Letitia Stockett was inspired to write her whimsical history of the city when a friend told her that nothing much had been done in the way of a history of Baltimore since J. Thomas Scharf's The Chronicles of Baltimore (1874). Rising to the challenge, she spent all of her spare time on the book, telling curious friends and family merely that she "had work to do." Baltimore: A Not Too Serious History was the result, a charming and anecdotal account of the city's history that is as fresh today as it was when first published in 1928. "Would you know Baltimore? Then put deliberately out of your mind the fact that the town makes more straw hats than any other city in the world. Aesthetically speaking, that is a fearsome thought. Forget, too, that Baltimore is the centre of the oyster packing industry. Worse, far worse than a straw hat is a packed oyster; Baltimoreans ought to know better. In truth they do; they export the tinned bivalve to the unsuspecting, unsophisticated Westerner. These two enterprises are worthy and profitable, but a knowledge of these facts will not help you understand this city any more truly than the study of those long lists of products once diligently conned in school gave you an inkling of Tunis, Singapore and Wilkes-Barre."â€”from Baltimore: A Not too Serious History
This book tells the story of the battles that flared over Baltimoreâ€™s attempts to use â€śhonâ€ť to construct a citywide local tradition and their consequences for the future of local culture in the United States.
Author: Lauren R. Silberman
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
With nicknames such as Mob Town and Syphilis City no one would deny that Baltimore has its dark side. Before shows such as The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Streets brought the city's crime rate to national attention, locals entertained themselves with rumors surrounding the mysterious death of writer Edgar Allan Poe and stories Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who spent time in a Baltimore area sanitarium in the 1930s. Tourists make the Inner Harbor one of the most traveled areas in the country, but if they would venture a few streets north to The Block on Baltimore Street they would see an area once famous for its burlesque shows. It is only the locals who would know to continue north on St. Paul to the Owl Bar, a former speakeasy that still proudly displays some of its Prohibition era paraphernalia. Wicked Baltimore: The Seedy Side of Charm City, details the salacious history of Baltimore and its denizens from the city's earliest history up to through Prohibition.
Row House to White House
Author: Lawrence M. Oâ€™Rourke
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation
This memoir reveals information ORourke acquired through conversations with presidents from Johnson to Obama and other national and international fi gures. ORourke is the author of the biography Geno. The memoir covers ORourkes Irish Catholic childhood in Philadelphia, military service in Puerto Rico, marathon running, recovery from prostate cancer and a heart attack. He is married with four children and four grandchildren and lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland and Grand Beach, Michigan.
Georgian, Federal, Greek Revival, Victorian, Vernacular and other styles of East Coast rowhouses, drawn in detail.
Michael J. Lisicky is the author of several bestselling books, including Hutzler's: Where Baltimore Shops. In demand as a department store historian, he has given lectures at institutions such as the New York Public Library, the Boston Public Library, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, the Milwaukee County Historical Society, the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Jewish Museum of Maryland. His books have received critical acclaim from the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore City Paper, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Pittsburgh Post Gazette. He has been interviewed by national business periodicals including Fortune Magazine, Investor's Business Daily and Bloomberg Businessweek. His book Gimbels Has It was recommended by National Public Radio's Morning Edition program as "One of the Freshest Reads of 2011." Mr. Lisicky helps run an "Ask the Expert" column with author Jan Whitaker at www.departmentstorehistory.net and resides in Baltimore, where he is an oboist with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
This pioneering study explains how one of Americaâ€™s important early cities responded to the challenge of housing its poorer citizens. Where and how did the working poor live? How did builders and developers provide reasonably priced housing for lower-income groups during the city's growth? Having studied over 3,000 surviving alley houses in Baltimore through extensive land records and census research, Mary Ellen Hayward systematically reconstructs the lives, households, and neighborhoods that once thrived on the city's narrowest streets. In the past, these neighborhoods were sometimes referred to as "dilapidated," "blighted," or "poverty stricken." In Baltimore's Alley Houses, Hayward reveals the rich cultural and ethnic traditions that formed the African-American and immigrant Irish, German, Bohemian, and Polish communities that made their homes on the city's alley streets. Featuring more than one hundred historic images, Baltimore's Alley Houses documents the changing architectural styles of low-income housing over two centuries and reveals the complex lives of its residents.
Ten years ago, Ron and his then-girlfriend, Jill, did the impossible. They bought condemned propertyâ€”a big Baltimore Victorian brownstone and vowed to bring it back to its original glory. The house had been home to Baltimore's most notorious fraternity for a decade and now, wrecked and abandoned, it was filled with garbage. As if that weren't daunting enough: Ron and Jill had been dating for only six months and they knew nothing about fixing up old houses. Friends, family, and concerned onlookers told them not to do it they would surely lose their shirts and their love in the bargain. But Jill wanted the house and Ron wanted Jill. So Ron bought the house.