Friday, May 31, 2019

Shrine of St. Anthony, An Unusual Project

I have actually been working on this project for several years, but it wasn't until the revival of the Dead Architects Society that I decided to create a catalogue of the works of Palmer & Lamdin. 

Among the more unusual projects P&L designed was the Shrine of St. Anthony of Padua out on Folly Quarter Road in western Howard County.
Now, I don't mind telling you that St. Anthony is one of my favorite saints, being the finder of lost things! I call on him more frequently as I grow older with a quick incantation and a wish for him to find what's been lost. So imagine my shock delight to see that the shrine to my favorite saint had been designed by my favorite architects!
When I toured the Shrine, the docent, who got several facts wrong right out of the gate, said that the Shrine had been designed by one of the friars who was in residence. But the Shrine appears on lists of P&L's early works, and in an article by the esteemed Jacques Kelly. So, I tend to believe my facts, rather than the docent's.
I was lucky enough to visit on a beautiful summer afternoon, with huge clouds scudding across the sky, and if you just shifted your mind slightly, you could believe you were in Italy.  
Like most monasteries, the Shrine has a cloistered courtyard, surrounded by arched walkways. Of course, there is a chapel, which was apparently designed much later than the original building. 

The atmosphere of the whole place is so serene and you can imagine the contemplative order walking and praying. 
On Saturday, June 8, 2019, there will be a festival celebrating the feast of St. Anthony, with talks, adorations, masses, and confessions. It's a perfect time to take advantage of visiting one of the places that we're lucky to have in our region, and maybe confess some of those sins that have been sitting around taunting you. 
And what's even better is knowing that P&L were involved in the creation of this special place. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

320 Suffolk Road & Max Brödel

Max Brödel, the first professional medical illustrator, and renaissance man, arrived in Baltimore in 1884, the very early years of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
He was brought here from Germany by Dr. Howard Kelly, the noted gynecologist. He would work with Dr. Kelly to illustrate medical phenomena which were discovered during case-work and surgeries. Photography was still in its infancy, and it was often easier for Brödel to illustrate something immediately with Dr. Kelly giving direction. The medical illustration program was funded for its first decades by Baltimore philanthropist, Henry Walters, of the Walters Art Museum family. 

Brödel soon became close friends with many of the physicians at Hopkins, including Drs. Harvey Cushing, William Welsh, William Osler and Thomas Cullen

Cullen was in charge of the GYN Lab at Hopkins, so he and Brödel quickly became close friends. He created this bookplate for Dr. Cullen, which combined the professional - the illustration of Hopkins Hospital, and Cullen in his lab - with the personal - Cullen's house on a Canadian lake. 
Additionally, Brödel's daughter, Elizabeth also worked for Cullen as his illustrator. In a brief biography that Cullen wrote of his friend, Max Brödel, he speaks of playing bridge at the Brödel's house once a week for many years. 

Like many physicians, Brödel soon moved to Guilford, specifically into a house Palmer designed in 1916 at 320 Suffolk Road. I would venture to say that this house was built specifically for Brödel and that he knew Palmer personally. 
Sadly, the greenery in front of this house prevents snoops like me from getting a good picture of it. But it continues to be home to above-average residents, including US Senator Paul Sarbanes who raised his family there.  My sources tell me that there have only been three owners of this house in more than a century.
As I said in the first sentence, Brödel was a renaissance man. Despite several accidents involving his hands and arms, Brödel was a very accomplished piano player. He and H.L. Menken were stalwarts in the Saturday Night Club, a group of Baltimore's more artistic and literary men. In 1909, Brodel was made an honorary member of the Medical & Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland (where I actually work!), the first lay-person to be accorded this honor. 

Because of the generosity of Henry Walters and many others, the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine was finally endowed, and it continues to this day. 

To read more about Max Brodel, please take a look at this article which appeared in the March, 1931 issue of Roland Park Homes, Gardens & People. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

200 Churchwardens Road, A Classic Georgian

Around 1930, I started seeing notes in the Roland Park "Homes, Gardens and People" magazine about No. 200 Churchwardens Road. My mother lives a block or two from that house, and I always admire it as I drive to visit her. 
No. 200 is a Georgian-style house with lots of floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors. It's surrounded by brick terraces and is on an unusual triangular plot of land. Oddly, the address is Churchwardens Road, not Enderly Road, on which it fronts.
The house was on the market in October 2018, and this is what Zillow says: 
Magnificent federal style home designed by Palmer Lamden [sic], situated on large beautiful landscaped lot. Large sun filled rooms with french doors and large windows. Seven bedrooms and five and one half baths. Finished basement and attached garage. In-ground sprinkler system for entire lawn.
I recognized a name in one of the RP articles, so I emailed the a descendant asking if they had any information about the house. They told me that the house was built for their grandfather in 1929, but he was the president of a local bank, and lost everything in the Depression, so had to leave the house after a few years.  
Interestingly, there are two similar images of the beautiful terraces of the house, taken 90 years apart. And it looks like the same tree is still there!
The house, like so many of the P&L designed houses, has stood the test of time. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Roland Park "Public" School

By the 1920's, the oldest parts of Roland Park were more than 25 years old and it was beginning to become a settled neighborhood. And now it needed a school which the local children could attend. 
At the same time, Baltimore City was embarking on an ambitious building plan, putting up schools in many of Baltimore's neighborhoods, using the services of some of the city's best architects. And certainly schools of that era reflect that classical architecture was the watchword. 

Among the architects tapped were Palmer & Lamdin and one of the schools they designed was what was called Roland Park Public School, now Roland Park Elementary & Middle School (RPEMS). The public designation was to delineate if from the then-nearby Roland Park Country Day School, now located directly across the street from RPEMS. 
The school is modeled on a classic Italianate design, unlike anything else in Roland Park. When it was built in the early 1920's, it was adequate for the neighborhood. 

Just over five years later, an addition, also by P&L, was built onto the north side of the building, backing up to the property owned by Gilman School. 

The capacity of the school went from 850 to nearly 1,400. My mother attended this school and talks about, even at a very young age, walking home to lunch every day. 
Over the years, additional changes and modifications have been made to the school, including a recent debacle about replacing the original style roof tiles with "decorator" shingle tiles... Obviously, this didn't happen. 

RPEMS is still in operation today, and has an excellent reputation as one of the best elementary/middle schools in Baltimore. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

P&L On the Market: Greenspring Valley

While most of the work that Palmer & Lamdin did was in Baltimore City, occasionally, they accepted a commission that was a little farther afield, like this stone beautiful house in the Greenspring Valley. 

It came along shortly after Edward Lamdin's death in 1945, but is still credited as being a P&L house, having been built in 1948/49. It's possible that Louis McLane Fisher, who lived in the Greenspring Valley, had a hand in the design of this house.

While the exterior of this stone house is simpler than most of their earlier work, it still has many of the details that are the P&L hallmark. There is a drive through portico where the front door is located 
(and that's one of the issues I have - it's hard to find out how to enter!).

I have heard two stories about who built the house - one was that it was built for the head of Bethlehem Steel, and the other was by a local general contractor. 

Suffice to say, that regardless of who built it, there is a ton of steel in the house. There are steel beams in the basement and all of the windows are steel-frame casements with steel dividers. Luckily, someone has added screens, so they can be opened.

Echoes of early P&L projects are still evident in this house, including the interesting chimney design, 

decorative brick-work,

and quirky spaces.

All in all, this is a really wonderful house with a ton of charm and even more space!
For more information, please check the website, here.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

P&L's Paddington Court UPDATED

As I was searching back issues of Baltimore newspapers, certain addresses kept popping up. One of those was Two Paddington Court. 
Paddington Court is one of several small courts off of Paddington Road at the south end of Homeland, backing onto Homeland Avenue. There are two houses that front on Paddington Road and four houses within the court. All have rear driveway access, which is especially handy since Paddington is verrrry narrow and only has parking on one side. 
Beginning in the 1920's, Two Paddington was mentioned as a new home which was being sold. 

Then soon after it's sold, it's re-sold to the Vice-Counsel of Norway, Cyril Klingenberg. He was Norwegian and his wife was American. They had two children, a daughter, Dagny and a son, Ivar.

The house is alternately described as English Cotswold or Early American, and sometimes as having seven rooms and sometimes eight. 
It seems that there was a huge fascination with Paddington Court, as it's often mentioned in the Roland Park Gardens, Homes and People, sometimes in articles and others in advertisements. 

Since I first posted this, No. 2 Padding Court has come on the market, as I indicated below. Here is the link to the Zillow listing. 
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

As you can see, it's a charming house, more Cotswold than early American to my eyes. My understanding is that one of these houses is coming on the market for the first time since the 1950's, so keep an eye out for it.