Friday, March 29, 2019

Dr. Harvey Beck's House

One thing that you can usually say about a Palmer & Lamdin, or Palmer, Willis and Lamdin house is that it's not cookie-cutter. In fact, most of them are a little unusual, if not quirky.

This house, on Northway near Greenway, is one that I have known for a while. My office has a collection of bookplates that date back to the late 1800's. In that collection, we have one that belonged to Dr. Harvey Grant Beck (1870-1951), who was a prominent physician in Baltimore. He was admitted into the membership of the Medical & Chirurgical Faculty in 1900, just missing the centennial cut-off for a written biography.
The bookplate depicts the front door of his house and was probably drawn by an artist friend. There is no discernible signature on the bookplate.

Dr. Beck's house was also listed in the 1924 Brickbuilder as one of Palmer's projects. 

Looking at the spreadsheet of houses I am compiling, I finally found the correct house for Dr. Beck. I am pretty sure that the view above is the side of the house, just to the right of the main entrance. Just out of view, behind the plantings, is the stone wall.

Dr. Beck had a clinic on St. Paul Street in what is now "Old Goucher." 

The house still stands, but I can't vouch for the interiors still looking like this. 

It's easy to miss this house as you drive down St. Paul or up Calvert Street, since the entrance is on 23rd Street. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Tudor-Style Semi-Detached in Guilford

Chancery Square is one of the prettiest spots in Guilford, not for its massive, classically proportioned houses, but for its manageable-size Tudor-style, semi-detached houses surrounding three sides of the square.
Chancery Square begins at the intersection of Fenchurch and St. Martin's Roads, and ends at Chancery Road. It is reminiscent of small villages in England, which was probably the inspiration for these houses. 
Each block of houses is actually three residences. Although the plans in the 1924 Brickbuilder, shows plans for two conjoined houses, the current iteration and the front paths, seem like three houses. Since the house in the plan looks like it's been built, I am not sure which of the three it could be. Now is the time to go spy on these houses, since the trees aren't leafed out yet!
But they are classic P&L  Edward Palmer designs, with the projecting and receding facades, the slightly swooping roof-lines and the Jacobean-style chimneys. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Carl's Beauty Salon... Seriously!

As I was researching old newspapers, I came across an advertisement for Carl's, a very swank beauty salon located on one of the most wonderful blocks of Charles Street in Mount Vernon. 

The ad, which was a full page, was to announce the opening of the salon and to thank the companies who had worked on the project, including the architects, Palmer & Lamdin. 
The building still stands today, with its distinctive Art Deco look on the ground floor. It was home to the elegant Red Maple bar a few years ago, and it's been a succession of bars and event spaces for the last ten or so years. 

Amazingly, Carl's Intercoiffure salon, which opened in 1924, is still open today in Cross Keys, where it was one of the original tenants. At some point, it was also located on Read Street, and at another location on Charles Street. I haven't been able to find where it was located before the location above opened in 1934.

Here is a great story about Carl's 80th anniversary in October of 2014, as well as some of the history of the salon.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Middleton Court in Homeland

While searching old newspapers for mentions of Palmer & Lamdin, I found a 1931 advertisement for Middleton Court, one of the unique features of Homeland.
It is one of four small courts accessible only by foot in the front. The rear of each house faces an alley. Paddington Court, Goodale Place, Middleton Court and Southfield Court were designed to seal off the southern edge of the development bordering Homeland Avenue. There is really only one direct access point into Homeland from the south, which is Springlake Way.


Monday, March 25, 2019

Welcome to Palmer & Lamdin

Welcome to Palmer & Lamdin, a place to learn about these early 20th century architects who mainly worked in Baltimore. Most of their work was residential, and it was very distinctive.

The firm's principals are Edward L. Palmer and William D. Lamdin. For a short time in the 1920's, the firm was called Palmer, Willis & Lamdin, with partner, J.Swing Willis. The firm was in business in from 1929 to 1945. Palmer & Lamdin were part of a group of architects, including Laurence Hall Fowler, Howard Sill, John Russell Pope, Mattu & White and Bayard Turnbull who are responsible for the majority of houses in Guilford, as well as a number in Homeland, Roland Park, Dumbarton and Cedarcroft.

The noted Baltimore architect, Walter Schamu, has this to say about the style of Palmer & Lamdin:
There is a lot of texture to P&L houses. The facades both project and recede.
Your eye dances along the roof-lines. Look at the flare at the edge of the roof - it's that little kick at the end of the slate.
It's an easing of the roof-line before it hits the gutter.
Flourishes such as dovecotes, turrets, round windows mixed with rectangular ones,
and the aptly named "eyebrow dormers" peek out. 
Another common P&L feature is a corner entry with a copper-roofed turret.
Trademark P&L features also include unusual brick chimneys - known as Jacobean or diamond-stack chimneys - that appear to twist as they rise.
Additionally, their houses are often built with a combination of different types of masonry, 
including the mixing of brick- and stone-work.  
All-in-all, P&L houses are very distinctive and tend to be fairly easy to identify.