Since the early 1930's, the Northway Apartment, has stood on North Charles Street and Bishops Road. It's set back from a small park, with beautiful classical designs and stepped back sections. Urns adorn the corners to give it an air of elegance. The ground floor is lit by beautiful double-height Palladian windows. The lobby was filled with elaborate mill- and plaster-work. It was an address to be coveted, and many families from Guilford and Roland Park moved there when they downsized, and families from the counties used it as their pied à terre.My sources tell me that this was once a place of grace and charm, with huge apartments, designed to look like Guilford homes. They had front and rear entrances, copious details including cedar closets, french doors, and residents who lived the life of elegance and faded grandeur. The lobby boasted Art Deco details, and plaster motifs including seahorses and flying geese.
Right from its start, there were problems with this building. Actually, even before it was built, the neighbors objected strenuously to it being built, because it was so out of scale for the area. But after going to the Supreme Court, the building was allowed to go forward.
In the early years, the newspapers were filled with stories of socialites who were entertaining in their Northway apartments, or traveling from or returning to the Northway. There was even a very salacious story about a young woman who had just finished a conversation from the "house phone booth" with the man whom she'd sued for alienation of affections, when she collapsed from being poisoned.
As the Northway approached its middle age, it was bought and sold several times, once twice within one summer. The Knott family purchased it to help diversify their portfolio, and then a string of LLC's and absentee landlords bought it.
In the 1970's, the Sunpapers are filled with back and forth court cases between the tenants and the owners. No heat or hot water? Then no rent is paid. Citations from the City's housing department are numerous, but neither addressed nor paid. At one point, when once again, the heat and hot water were off, it took the city four days to work through all of the paper trails to find the owners and get them to fix the problems.
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