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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Mary Ellen Hayward, 05/2003
Ednor Gardens Historic District
Inventory No.: B-1361
Date Listed: 3/30/2004
Location: Baltimore City, Baltimore City
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1925-1960
Architect/Builder: Edward Gallagher, Jr.
Description: The Ednor Gardens Historic District is a residential community developed by the large-scale Baltimore developer Edward J. Gallagher and his sons between 1925 and 1950. Comprising some 29 blocks located in north Baltimore, Ednor Gardens is distinguished by Tudor, Norman, and Colonial-style dwellings, primarily rowhouses, that reflect national changes in residential architectural tastes from the mid 1920s through the World War II era. Using his son as architect, Edward J. Gallagher set about creating a new kinds of rowhouse community in Baltimore, "the English village in the city," with stylish houses aimed at a middle-income market and offering all the modern amenities that a homeowner might want in 1925, including built-in garages. The quality of design and conclusion made Ednor Gardens the most aesthetically successful of the several English-style rowhouse communities built in the late 1920s in this price range in the city. When the company began building again in 1936, after the worst years of the Depression, Gallagher, Jr. was designing "colonial" row- and detached houses, reflecting a national design choice influenced by the opening of Colonial Williamsburg in the early 1930s. The district is exceptionally cohesive and retains a high level of integrity. The 885 houses today remain substantially unaltered, and the terraced gardens planned by the developer as part of his overall concept have reached maturity. Significance: The Ednor Gardens Historic District is significant as an example of a type of residential subdivision which characterized Baltimore in the second quarter of the 20th century. Planned to appeal to an increasingly suburbanizing middle-class market, Ednor Gardens featured quality construction and innovative design features. With its romantic English-influenced architecture and carefully planned landscaping, Ednor Gardens clearly distinguished itself from the city's familiar dense urban neighborhoods of red brick rowhouses. Its middle-class appeal was enhanced by practical features important to consumers of the time; houses had open "daylight" floor plans, and incorporated basement garages for the increasingly popular automobile. The buildings of Ednor Gardens document the stylistic changes in architectural taste that took place in many parts of America from the mid 1920s into the post-World War II era. The early phases of development employed the Tudor Revival style, continuing the picturesque imagery that had been popular in American suburbs beginning in the 1890s. By the mid 1930s, the effects of the Depression, as well as the opening of Colonial Williamsburg, had influenced Americans to seek the security of their colonial past, a national trend clearly reflected in the Colonial Revival rowhouses that characterized the later development of Ednor Gardens. Ednor Gardens is also significant for its association with the suburban development of Baltimore City in the early 20th century. While the majority of residential development in Baltimore after the turn of the 20th century was directed toward providing moderately priced housing from the expanding working class, by the end of World War I developers increasingly turned their attention to the middle-class market. Ednor Gardens represents the response to this trend by one of Baltimore's most prominent residential developers of the period. Edward J. Gallagher, Sr. began operations in the 1880s and by the early 1900s the Edward J. Gallagher Realty Company was among the four most prolific residential builders in Baltimore. The family-owned company continued to play a major role in the residential development of the city through the World War II era. Ednor Gardens is one of the most significant products of the Gallagher enterprise. All of the company's business records, architectural drawings, and advertisements have survived, extending through the Depression and postwar years. These archives provide invaluable insight into this era of home-building in America, documenting improvements in domestic technology and public services as well as how national programs like the FHA and the GI Bill helped Americans of moderate means become homeowners.
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