Skip to Main Content

Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Dundalk, Liberty, Cornwall Gardens
Inventory No.: BA-3266
Other Name(s): Three Garden Village
Date Listed: 9/23/2011
Location: 7003 Dunmanway, Dundalk, Baltimore County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1937, 1940, 1942
Architect/Builder: Architect: Gustave W. Iser
Description: The Dundalk, Liberty, Cornwall Gardens garden apartment complex is located in the unincorporated community of Dundalk, Baltimore County, Maryland. The complex is comprised of three historically interrelated groupings of garden apartments that occupy over 26 acres of land located to the south and east of downtown "old" Dundalk (NR-listed 1983). The site is comprised of three garden apartment groupings which were constructed between 1937 and 1942. The complex includes 30 two-story brick multi-family residential buildings (comprising 592 individual units) and 13 automobile garages designed in a simplified Colonial Revival style. The site features ample landscaped gardens and courts and minimal building coverage, as is typical of garden apartment-style developments. Construction was undertaken in three phases over a five-year period and the site occupies three separate tax parcels within the community of Dundalk. Each grouping contains site characteristics specific to the garden apartment development typology including: limited building coverage, large landscaped lawns and courts, low-rise residential buildings constructed at 90 degree angles to maximize natural light and ventilation and limited vehicular access. Developed under the auspices of the Federal Housing Authority's (FHA) Large-Scale Housing Division, each grouping was constructed to meet the 1930s design requirements of the FHA which embraced the principles of the garden style apartment complex. Dundalk Gardens, the first grouping developed, features to multi-family residential buildings and 9 automobile garages. The two-story red brick residential buildings are designed in a highly simplified Colonial Revival aesthetic with sparse ornament. Each apartment building is composed of multiple clusters, each containing groups of four apartments. Clusters are interconnected at 90 degree angles. For each apartment cluster, there is a central entrance pavilion which projects from the front elevation of the building. The one-story pavilions are constructed of wood and are clad in wood siding or modern vinyl siding. Each pavilion features three openings, with a large center opening providing access to the two first-floor apartment entrances and the flanking openings providing access to the upper floor apartments. Above each pavilion are paired one-light windows. In general, each building features a symmetrical window pattern, though each apartment cluster may not be symmetrical in its own right. Windows throughout the complex are modern 1/1 aluminum units. Within Dundalk Gardens there are multiple roof configurations, including hipped, side-gable, or flat. Liberty Gardens, the second grouping completed, consists of 7 residential buildings and two automobile garages. The two-story red brick residential buildings are sited at 90 degree angles and form landscaped courtyards. Every building within the grouping has a side-gabled roof with a number having brick gables with inset circular wood vents near the peak. Throughout the complex the buildings feature single and paired modern aluminum windows with 4/4 and 6/6 applied grids. Although the complex is composed of multi-unit apartment buildings, each apartment has an independent exterior entrance in the form of townhouses. Unlike Dundalk Gardens, the entrances are located at the plane of the main elevations. At the location of single apartment units, the entrances are located within ornamental wood surrounds with fluted wood pilasters that are topped with denticulate wood cornices and brick rowlock course headers. Where there are paired apartment units, the entrances feature segmental arched rowlock brick lintels. Cornwall Gardens, the third grouping completed, is comprised of 13 residential buildings and two garages. The buildings are situated at 90-degree angles to create landscaped courtyards and have a site plan that is symmetrical to Liberty Gardens. The complex features three exterior courtyards and four interior courtyards. T Significance: The Dundalk, Liberty and Cornwall Gardens complex is historically significant in the areas of Community Planning and Development as a response to the housing shortage in Dundalk in the mid-late 1930s created by the influx of workers attracted to the city’s growing manufacturing base and available jobs during the Great Depression. The development responded to Dundalk’s advanced economic recovery due to its nearby industries and the need for rental housing as the area was previously developed for owner-occupied housing which was not affordable to workers during the Great Depression. The complex is also historically significant in the area of Politics, as the first large-scale housing project in Dundalk to utilize the Federal government's New Deal era housing programs to create quality, affordable rental housing. The Dundalk, Liberty, Cornwall Gardens project was developed as three separate garden apartment complexes that were financed by federally insured mortgages. The projects were approved by the federal Rental Housing Division (RHD) which was established in 1935 to administer the Federal Housing Authority’s (FHA) large-scale rental housing program and the Section 207 mortgage insurance program. The RHD was integral in the advancement of the garden apartment complex design typology as it embraced by the English Garden City design principles that were championed by the highly influential Regional Planning Association of America led by architect Clarence Stein and landscape architect Henry Wright. The level of significance for the Dundalk, Liberty, Cornwall Gardens complex is local and the period of significance extends from the initial date of construction in 1937 through the completion of the complex in 1942.
Return to the National Register Search page