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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Edmondson Avenue Historic District
Inventory No.: B-5187
Other Name(s): Edmondson Terrace; Goose Hill; Bridgeview/Greenlawn; Evergreen Lawn; Rosemont
Date Listed: 12/27/2010
Location: Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1906, 1949
Description: The Edmondson Avenue Historic District, including the neighborhoods of Evergreen Lawn, Bridgeview/Greenlawn, Rosemont Homeowners/Tenants, and sections of Midtown-Edmondson, is an area of several hundred structures, predominantly residential in character, with the exception of several early-20th century religious buildings, a handful of commercial structures, a number of industrial buildings, and a large section of late-20th century development at the northern edge of the district. The earliest development in the area dates from the 1880s and 1890s along Mosher Street between then-named Second Street and Third Street. Farther south along Gwynns Falls the mill village of Calverton Heights developed from the 1870s through the 1890s and extended north along Franklin Road and east and north along Bloomingdale Road. A scatter of these earlier structures survive, including a set of duplex rowhouses along Mosher Street, and outside the district in a row of duplex worker dwellings on West Lanvale Street built in the late 1860s or early 1870s. The first period of substantial development occurred along the Edmondson Avenue corridor following the extension of the electric streetcar in the period from 1906 through the early 1920s, built by McIver & Piel and the Piel Construction Company. Subsequent to this initial effort, multiple developers continued to work in the area from the 1920s through the 1950s, completing the development of the original Abell estate and the surrounding area. The final few rowhouses and public buildings constructed in the 1950s and 1960s included the addition of several public school buildings and the construction of apartment buildings at the northern edge of the district on property formerly included within St. Peter’s Cemetery. Most of the dwellings in the district are set back from the street, establishing generous front yards that form continuous strips of green space through the district. The small rear yards found in the earliest dwellings expanded in later development to accommodate larger gardens or the later construction of garages. The rowhouses can be divided into a number of categories reflecting the broad diversity of residential design present in the neighborhood from the 1880s through the 1950s. The earliest buildings are modest Italianate two-story full areaway rowhouses, followed by partial areaway rowhouses along Edmondson Avenue in the 1900s. By the early 1910s, these designs were replaced by wider daylight rowhouses built on Arunah Avenue, Harlem Avenue, and Lanvale Street. The subsequent designs of the 1920s and 1940s add to the diversity with a mix of partial areaway rowhouses and daylight rowhouses in Georgian Revival, Colonial Revival, and even Art Deco styles. Additional structures include three Gothic Revival churches, and a Tudor Revival church. More recent church buildings include two Greek Revival-style examples. With the exception of the original 1933 portion of James Mosher Elementary School, designed in a restrained Art Deco style, the three school buildings were all designed and built post-WWII in a variation on the International Style. Significance: The Edmondson Avenue Historic District is an area of residential rowhouse development built largely from the 1900s through 1940s around the Edmondson Avenue streetcar line. Beginning in 1949, the neighborhood transitioned from a segregated white community to a predominantly African American community in a broader process of racial transition that transformed the West Baltimore region. The earliest history of this area includes the construction of the Calverton Mansion in the early 1800s, the beginning of industrial development along the Gwynns Falls, and the consolidation of the Abell estate in the late 19th century. The expansion of the city in 1888 and the beginning of streetcar service along Edmondson Avenue in 1900 supported the development of the estate of A.S. Abell by builder-developers John F. Piel and John K. McIver. Residential construction expanded during the 1920s and continue dup through the early 1940s through the activities of Harry Nichols, George Schoenhals, and others. The district is historically significant for both its association with the growth of West Baltimore and its association with the racial transition of West Baltimore. The neighborhood is also architecturally significant as an example of an early-20th century street car suburb with a diverse range of rowhouse designs. During the post-WWII period, the population of Greater Rosemont, including neighborhoods within the Edmondson Avenue Historic District and nearby areas, began a rapid transition from nearly exclusively European American in 1949 to become predominantly African American by the late 1950s. This transition offered many middle class African American households in Baltimore their first opportunity for homeownership and led to the creation of a neighborhood organization that took an active role in local civil rights organizing and activism, including opposition to the development of the US Route 40 highway project. Therefore, the district is also significant for its association with the post-WWII racial transition of West Baltimore and the role of the new African American residents in establishing enduring community institutions.
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