Wednesday, September 22, 2021

117 Upnor Road, Homeland

I was perusing real estate listings and found a house at 117 Upnor Road that had been on the market in 2017, but not currently. 

Here's what the real estate listing says:

Designed by premier architects Edward L. Palmer, Jr. and William D. Lamdin, this stone masterpiece sits majestically on just under a half an acre.

A brilliant combination of classic finishes by artisans who paid incredible attention to detail
and 21st century updates, including gourmet kitchen with Sub Zero and Wolf appliances and master bath.
Professionally landscaped fenced yard, attached garage and so much more!!

This is a great house in a great neighborhood, on a street full of wonderful houses.  

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Lecture: The Works of Palmer & Lamdin

As you might (or might not) know, I was the President of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation, and one of the committees we had was called the "Dead Architects Society" named after the movie of a similar name. 

As a member of this committee, a number of us selected architects from the early 20th century on whom to do a deep dive and I selected Palmer & Lamdin as mine. The result has been this website.

On Friday, October 5 at noon, I will be giving a presentation on the occasion of the beginning of Arch-tober, the celebration of architecture week month. Here's the description:

Palmer & Lamdin, an architectural firm working mainly from the 1920’s to the 1940’s, designed some of the most interesting residences in Baltimore, characterized as “classical, with a twist.” Edward Palmer was one of the original architects for the Roland Park Company, but in 1917, went out on his own, acquired a partner, William Lamdin, and proceeded to design more than 300 properties in Baltimore, Delaware, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Meg Fairfax Fielding, a past president of the Baltimore Architecture Foundation, is presenting. She is doing a deep dive on Palmer & Lamdin for the Dead Architects Society and writes the blog Palmer and Lamdin Architects. The program is hosted on Zoom.

Here is the link to the event

Friday, August 27, 2021

On the Market: 3 Kenwood Road

From the listing:

Introducing your Quintessential Roland Park Home! Enjoy this 7 bedroom, 4 full bath, 2 half bath, 5000+ square foot home on a double lot, surrounded by beautiful landscaping. 

Walk inside and you will immediately be "wowed" by the grand hall with gleaming hardwood floors.

Spacious rooms on the first level include a den/office, a formal dining room, a 2nd den/sitting room off kitchen,
a sophisticated, black lacquer painted half bath, a living room with wood burning fireplace
and French Doors leading to a bright & airy, L-shaped sun room overlooking the thoughtfully maintained lush gardens. 

The updated kitchen (2013) features a wood stove in the breakfast area, granite countertops, top-of-the-line stainless steel appliances, tile backsplash, butler's pantry with an additional sink, a second refrigerator and even more cabinet space (look up and see the varnished bead-board ceilings in this area). 

On the second floor you will find another Grand Hall with hardwood floors, 4 bedrooms, two full baths (both with dual vanities) and an area in Hall used as a second office. French Doors in Hall lead to the front balcony.

French Doors in primary bedroom lead to expansive rear balcony. The primary bedroom suite includes a bathroom and a dressing room (originally a bedroom) with a walk-in closet. 

Next, take another staircase to the third level featuring 3-4 additional bedrooms and two full baths, along with plenty of space for recreation and/or storage. This home also has a spacious basement which includes a laundry room with a front loading washer/dryer, more recreational space, currently used a fitness center, another half bath and even a wine cellar with an exit stairwell leading up to the back yard. 

Finally take a walk outside and enjoy a lovely patio for entertaining while admiring the gorgeous lawn and gardens with an underground sprinkler system installed.  This residence includes a detached, two-car garage (with automatic door opener with your driveway entrance for additional parking. This home is truly magnificent!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

On the Market: 101 Wendover Road

This Palmer & Lamdin-designed house at 101 Wendover Road was built in 1929, at the height of construction in Guilford. It is one of their more traditional-style homes, alternately described as Charleston-style, French Regency or Colonial Revival. Regardless, the classic style holds its own after nearly a century.

As you enter from the bluestone patio and through the double doors, you come into a black-and-white checked marble floor, with beautiful millwork details on the walls and a sweeping staircase with a wrought-iron railing.
From there, you will find the beautiful living room with its elaborate fireplace with carved marble surround and numerous French doors leading to the gardens.
Or head the dining room with its arched inset display cases and then into the recently upgraded gourmet kitchen.
Or head to the cozy library/home office where you can curl up with a good book or catch up on your emails. There is also the former garage which has been converted to a family room, complete with ceiling beams and a fireplace.

The bedrooms and baths in this house range from sumptuous and luxurious to cozy and intimate.
The smaller ones were most likely the servants’ quarters, but they still have the details expected in a house like this one.

The grounds are filled with mature plantings including flowering bushes, old-growth trees, a private garden and beautiful lawns. A swimming pool, just off the blue-stone patio which extends the length of the house provides a perfect backdrop for any party.
There is on-site parking with a private “motor court” which will hold several cars. 

The listing for the house is here. For an article about the renovations of the house, click here.

Originally published in Baltimore Fishbowl, Aug. 23, 2021

Friday, August 6, 2021

Shipley Mansion in Wyndham Hills, PA

Many years ago, when I used to write by blog, Pigtown*Design, I wrote a piece about Palmer & Lamdin houses. I received a comment from a man in York, PA who told me he lived in a P&L house, and that there were several others in the neighborhood. Walter Schamu went up to visit, but it wasn't until earlier this spring that I visited. 

This morning, he sent me a link to an article "Colossal gardens planned for Shipley Mansion near summit in Wyndham Hillson a P&L property in Wyndam Hills, PA, along with an Olmsted project. Very kindly, the author, Stephen Smith, gave me permission to reprint it here. 

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

In 1931, Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects designed elegant grounds, surrounding a mansion planned for William S. Shipley, at one of the most elevated sites in Wyndham Hills. The site included a former quarry, in which a vast sunken garden was intended.

Grace Hartman provided some insight about that early Wyndham Hills property of William S. Shipley, which bordered Summit Circle. Grace noted, “A friend shared your article concerning Shipley’s lowlands property on Smallbrook Lane [in Wyndham Hills]. It was passed along due to David Miley’s comment about the Olmsted connection to the colossal gardens planned for the Shipley mansion. Your reply, [placing that property on the southeast corner of Glenwood Drive and S. Summit Circle] pinpoints the site I always suspected. Causing additional exploration.”

Grace’s daughter discovered a York Dispatch article, which appeared February 28, 1931; with the headlines: “W. S. Shipley to Build Mansion at Wyndham Hills, South of York.” After providing some background, Grace shares why the planned gardens at the Shipley mansion have long since held her interest.

William S. Shipley is known for his leadership in the “York Plan” and for being the national spokesman for that defense production plan during World War II; however he also provided astute leadership during York Ice Machinery Corporation’s transition from Ice Making to Air Conditioning during the 1930s. William S. Shipley, then based in Brooklyn, New York, succeeded his older brother Thomas Shipley as president of Yorkco in 1930.

Mr. & Mrs. William S. Shipley moved to York, and shortly afterwards, Palmer & Lamdin Architects, Baltimore, Maryland, were retained for mansion design and Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects, Brookline, Massachusetts, were retained for designing the grounds on the vast 11.7-acres property on the southeast corner of Glenwood Drive and S. Summit Circle.

The introductory illustration is Palmer & Lamdin’s Forecourt view of the mansion; looking southeast. The following is the Terrace view of the mansion; looking northwest. Both of these Palmer & Lamdin drawings are dated April 1931.

Quoting from the February 28, 1931 article in The York Dispatch: “William S. Shipley, president of the York Ice Machinery Corporation, will build a beautiful, modern home on one of the most elevated sites at Wyndham Hills, the attractive new real estate development south of York.”

“The site includes a quarry, which will be made into a vast sunken garden of great beauty. This picturesque feature will undoubtedly prove one of the show spots of Wyndham Hills, as it will be the largest sunken garden in the United States, covering more than an acre of land well suited for the purpose. The grounds surrounding the home to be built will be beautiful.”

The Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site, of the National Park Service, contains many of the Olmsted design iterations for the grounds. The August 19, 1931 plans, with a small September revision, appear to be the final version. The following is an enlarged slice of that Grading Plan; which includes the mansion and the sunken garden, surrounding a pond. I’ve annotated that slice with a few notes and noted the Forecourt and Terrace Viewpoints of the earlier mansion illustrations.

Slice of Grading Plan for Wyndham Hills property of William S. Shipley, York, PA; by Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects, Brookline, Mass., August 19, 1931 (File No. 9261, Plan No. 18; Courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site. Annotated by S.H. Smith, 2021)

The location of the Olmsted Grading Plan slice, is positioned, and ghosted, in the following traditional overall view with North upward. The 11.7-acres, which William S. Shipley initiated a purchase during February of 1931, was in Section U of Wyndham Hills, and was originally set-up as nine lots; of which eight were initially intended for houses, with the quarry site not intended for sale. However with his vision, Shipley intended to utilize that former quarry as a sunken garden, via guidance from Olmsted.

Grace Hartman shared: “Regularly visited a school friend up in Wyndham Hills. Her parents often had troubles with the sneaky regulations to live in that development. And where I heard tales of other residents at odds with those in charge of the Wyndham Hills development. Do not remember most, however being a garden person, sticking in my mind was ruling on colossal gardens planned in the Summit Circle vicinity declared a nuisance. Thanks, now know they were likely Shipley’s gardens designed by Olmsted.”

The Olmsted drawings contained many elevation details for the grounds; such as the following pond and overlook elevation detail within the sunken garden. That and other overlook structures around the grounds appear to be at odds with restrictions placed on Wyndham Hills property owners.

The Olmsted plans call for formal gardens, rock gardens and a sunken garden; all ornamental. However the same plans for Shipley’s property also included large sections set aside for vegetable gardens and fruit trees.

William S. Shipley took ownership of the 11.7-acre property on November 10, 1931, upon the final payment to Wyndham Hills Corporation (Deed Book 27-C, page 368). Within Shipley’s deed, a clause notes he is under and subject to the covenants, agreements, conditions, easements, restrictions and charges contained in and set forth in Deed Book 25-A, page 516; made October 1, 1931. Those restrictions do not allow farming related endeavors, by residents within Wyndham Hills.

The design iterations on the Shipley mansion and grounds progressed throughout 1931, with the final versions apparently completed per a small September revision to the August 19, 1931 plans. Then Wyndham Hills Corporation releases their set of restrictions on October 1, 1931. With the restrictions suddenly sprung on William S. Shipley, within his November 10, 1931 deed, one wonders if he simply decided to walk away from his plans for that property, which was later sold back to Wyndham Hills Corporation.

It appears many, and possibly all, Wyndham Hills deeds, through the late 1950s, contain the clause noting the owner is under and subject to the covenants, agreements, conditions, easements, restrictions and charges contained in and set forth in Deed Book 25-A, page 516. Buried in that October 1, 1931 deed is a covenant prohibiting home ownership or occupancy by any black or people of Asian descent.

Thanks to a query by Grace Hartman for instigating interesting research on William S. Shipley’s hill-top property; which led to a better understanding of how covenants, agreements, conditions, easements, restrictions and charges show up in several decades of early Wyndham Hills deeds. Also, upon reading the newspaper article submitted by Grace, describing a former quarry to be transformed into a sunken garden on the Shipley property, I immediately envisioned a lovely sunken garden seen years earlier, in British Columbia.

The Sunken Garden, at Butchart Gardens, near Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; was created in an old limestone quarry in the early 1900s. They might have been the inspiration for Olmsted’s, or William S. Shipley’s, vision for a sunken garden in an old quarry on his 11.7-acre property in Wyndham Hills.

Again, many thanks to Stephen Smith for giving permission to reprint this article. It's amazing to see another example of Palmer & Lamdin's work outside of Baltimore.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Grove of Remembrance, Druid Hill

From the amazing Atlas Obscura, comes this description of the Grove of Remembrance at Druid Hill Park in Baltimore. 

Planted by the War Mothers of World War I on October 8, 1919, the oak trees in the largely forgotten Grove of Remembrance in Baltimore’s 745-acre Druid Hill Park continue to thrive to this day. Ultimately, one tree was planted for each state in the union—48 at the time—along with additional trees representing the City of Baltimore, the allies of the United States, and President Woodrow Wilson.

The ceremony was described as “one of the most beautiful ever in Baltimore,” according to press accounts of the event the following day.

The quiet dedication was attended by Mayor William Broening, Baltimore-born Cardinal James Gibbons, Maryland Governor Emerson Harrington, and the French ambassador to the United States. Also in attendance were 20 wounded veterans from the Great War.

Two stone markers along Druid Hill Park’s Beechwood Drive signify the entrance to the Grove of Remembrance.

A pair of bronze plaques highlight the grove’s historic dedication and the location of each state tree, which were planted 25 feet apart from one another. More trees have been planted for subsequent wars. On Mother’s Day in 1927, former First Lady Edith Wilson participated in the groundbreaking of a memorial pavilion at the grove, which also remains to this day. For decades, the grove hosted annual memorial events on Mother’s Day.

Nestled in the grove near the Maryland Zoo, the stone-and-slate Grove of Remembrance Pavilion has stood for more than 90 years, but is in need of repair and upkeep. Designed by architect E.L. Palmer, the rustic pavilion is dedicated to First Lt. Merrill Rosenfeld, a prominent Baltimore attorney. Serving in the 115th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division, Rosenfeld was leading his men during the Battle of Verdun when he was killed on October 16, 1918. For his actions and courage, Rosenfeld was honored with a Distinguished Service Cross. 

While the grove and its pavilion are not central to the park, and the pillars aren't on a well-used road, more than 100 years after the first trees were planted, it's as important as ever to remember those who went before us. 


Tuesday, July 20, 2021

On the Market: 3805 Greenway

If a house has an address on Greenway, you can be pretty sure that it's going to be beautiful, as Greenway is one of the most lovely streets in the city. This Palmer & Lamdin-designed house at 3805 is no exception.

From the realtor's listing:

Welcome to 3805 Greenway, a warm and gracious Georgian Colonial masterpiece. Designed by architects Palmer, Willis and Lamdin in 1924, this Guilford home of note exudes a stately presence and at the same time offers all one desires for 21st century living.
The residence is beautifully sited on a generous 1.08 acre lot, with room to spare for a sweeping tiered front garden. Upon entering, a graceful yet dramatic center hall entryway embraces you, setting the stage for a lifestyle experience of comfort, ease and modern elegance.
With 11'+ ceilings, handsome polished hardwood floors reflecting natural light spilling from the bank of windows from the landing above, exquisite inset Corinthian columns and prominent dentil moldings, the home is sophisticated and welcoming, unrivaled in quality and architectural design. The main floor offers an ideal floor plan, with wide open spaces that flow from one to the other, accommodating your modern lifestyle, yet reflecting the tradition and historic quality of homes of this period.
The billiard room delights, with a fireplace and surrounding built in bookcases by the Potthast Brothers - famed Baltimore furniture makers. Located just off the kitchen, the Great Room has been completely remodeled, with no detail overlooked. Surrounded by windows with white plantation shutters, French doors, and a dramatic coffered ceiling, this is the perfect room for relaxing, recharging, and spending time at home.
Formal living and dining rooms, with unique and original fireplaces, decorative moldings and notable architectural details, offer generous space for dining and entertaining on an intimate or grand scale, as you prefer. An open and airy modern chef's kitchen provides optimal flow for cooking and entertaining. The room is replete with a crystal chandelier, Viking stove and wall ovens, KitchenAid dishwasher and Sub-Zero refrigerator. An office wing, laundry and adjacent exercise room bring convenience to your busy life.

The primary suite offers a dressing room with a double walk in closet, stately double vanities, and a large soaking tub. Three more bedrooms en-suite and a bright and spacious office with fireplace round out the second floor.
The third floor presents endless opportunities with additional bedrooms and baths, including a fabulous 33 x 16-foot space to create a recreation room, home office, yoga or art studio - or whatever you desire.
The meticulously maintained grounds and gardens offer opportunities for leisure, entertaining and exercising. Enjoy the various patios, grassy lawn, salt water hot tub, and tennis court. Convert the tennis court to a temporary Pickleball court or a dance floor for a wedding or summer soiree!
As proud stewards of this historic beauty, the owners have taken great care and consideration to update and modernize all elements of the home while staying true to the period in which the house was designed and built.
The listing is here

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

On the Market: 2 Englewood Road

The houses on Englewood and Edgevale Road which surround Edgevale Square, a common green, are some of my favorites. Designed by Edward Palmer when he was the in-house architect at the Roland Park Corporation, these houses take their cues from the English villages which inspired much of Roland Park. 

No. 2 Englewood Road has just gone on the market for the second time in five years. The couple who own it are friends, and I am both happy and sad for their move, but love what they've done with the house. 

From the realtor's listing: 

English Country Palmer and Lambin [sic] home in one of Baltimore’s most sought-after neighborhoods. This architecturally significant, semi-detached Roland Park gem features 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths and is completely move-in ready having been recently updated by its current owners.

This impeccable home welcomes everyone with its warmth and elegance, and offers beautiful appointments and decorator touches throughout. You’ll appreciate the gracious living areas that include a comfortable, spacious living room with a coffered ceiling, fireplace and exquisite built-ins, the inviting glass family room which opens to the patio, and the formal dining room and kitchen with walk-in pantry.

The home also features custom window treatments and wall coverings, custom light fixtures, fresh neutral paint colors, handmade cabinetry and beautiful hardwood flooring and woodwork throughout.

Travel up the gorgeous staircase to discover 2 bedrooms with a shared renovated bathroom, in addition to a primary bedroom with a new walk-in closet and gorgeous spa-like bathroom.

The spacious third level begins with a cozy sitting area on the landing which leads to the 4th bedroom and oversized versatile 5th bedroom/family room -- perfect for movie night and family get-togethers.

The beautiful newly landscaped yard with mature trees, flat front yard, 1 car garage and easy access to the secluded and hidden 2.5 acre Edgevale Park (with exclusive use by the 12 surrounding homes), complete the fabulous lifestyle you will inevitably create with this exquisite and immaculate home.

You can see why I am completely charmed by this house. The full listing is here

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Dundalk and Palmer on WYPR

In preparation for an upcoming event with the Baltimore Architecture Foundation and Baltimore Heritage, Amy Menzur, head of Dundalk Renaissance, and I had the opportunity to speak to Sheilah Kast at WYPR's "On the Record" radio show. It aired on June 4 at 9:30 a.m. I have written about Dundalk, here.

On July 9, Amy and I will be speaking on "Designs for Victory: Olmsted-inspired Garden City Plans for Historic Dundalk." While Amy will be concentrating on the history of Dundalk and its current renaissance, I will be talking on Edward Palmer's part in designing the housing stock for the "Ship" streets. 

Here's the summary of the event: 

The Bethlehem Steel Mill at Sparrows Point launched an effort to create a Garden City-style town in 1917 just before the US entered WWI. At the same time, the Federal Government began housing production for war workers. Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. (FLO Jr.) headed the Town Planning division of the new United States Housing Corporation. Several colleagues in the nascent profession of city planning who had worked with FLO Jr. on Roland Park and Forest Hills Gardens were all directly involved in designing Dundalk, including Baltimore architect Edward Palmer, Roland Park Company leader Edward Bouton, and architects Grosvenor Atterbury and Charles Wellford Leavitt. Their plans were inspired by their designs for more affluent areas, including curvilinear streets, separation of uses, green spaces, and restrictive covenants. We will explore how these plans created a new community for workers and managers, but was segregated by race.

You can sign up for the event here.

Here are my notes for today's interview.

From 1907 to 1917, Edward L. Palmer was the architect for the Roland Park Company, and he designed a number of houses there, including his own, modeled on a Swiss chalet. In addition to Roland Park, he had a small private practice.

In 1917, Palmer opened his own architectural practice, continuing residential work, and securing the commission for the village of Dundalk. He had worked Edward Bouton at the Roland Park Company, who knew he could design a variety of distinct housing types and hone to the company’s mandate of expedience and low cost.  [His partner, William Lamdin, joined the firm in 1920.]

In 1917, Edward Palmer was asked to create a village out of 1,000 acres of farmland just beyond the eastern edge of the city. The land had been purchased by the Bethlehem Steel Company to house their workers who had families.

At their peak, around the time of WWI, there were more than 2,500 company towns, housing 3% of the US population. The companies that ran the towns were primarily labor companies such as coal, steel, lumber and various war industries.

Companies understood that their employees did not want to live in cramped quarters, so in an attempt to keep the workers happy, some forward-thinking companies created villages modeled on the Garden City movement in England. Green space was valued, and attention was given to architectural details, an Edward Palmer specialty. Good housing close to the plant or factory enhanced quality of life for the workers, reduced absenteeism and reduced commuting time.

The two-story houses Palmer designed for Dundalk was limited to three or four basic plans. They all had steeply pitched roofs with a combination of gable, jerkin-head, shed and flared shapes and stucco exteriors. Influences from Palmer's work in Roland Park can be seen in the housing stock in Dundalk. In fact, there are some nearly identical houses in both neighborhoods. However, all of the houses in Dundalk are semi-detached or townhouses.

This “company town” concept was also carried out at Wawaset in Wilmington, Delaware, when the DuPont Company hired Palmer to create a similar village for the company’s executives and scientists. The village stretched two city blocks wide by five blocks long, blending 50 town houses, 56 duplex houses and 101 single-family houses.  

In a departure from Dundalk, but not Roland Park, Guilford and Homeland, houses in Wawaset included land-use restrictions with each property deed. The strict building and maintenance provisions were aimed at preserving for original and future residents the integrity and attractiveness of Wawaset’s architectural concepts.

Monday, May 24, 2021

A Visit to Villa Pace

You might remember that I recently posted about the 1930's Villa Pace, and last week, I had a chance to visit this beautiful house and have a tour, given by the current owner. 

Although I did see much of the main level of the house, I was not comfortable taking pictures of it, but I took plenty of the outside.

The house was built in a cross-shape, and is of Italianate style, similar to others that Palmer & Lamdin built, including the Shrine of St. Anthony

The house had a bit of a checkered past, with it being built in the 1930's by opera diva, Rosa Ponselle. There was a pretty serious fire in the late 1970's and then a battle with the insurance company, which lasted several years. 

Once that was over, Rosa Ponselle died and the house was to be made into a music center. Lots of issues with that, and over the next several years, all of the money disappeared.

The house was sold to a young company who could only do what they could do to maintain the house, and couldn't do anything about the property, other than mow the vast expanse of lawns.

About 25 years ago, another couple purchased the house and brought it back to its former glory. The restored the interiors, planted the gardens,

added trees, a pool and pool-house and cared for it with love.

My visit was on a sparkling late spring afternoon, when the sun was shining,

and the gardens were bright with blooms. 

A very gracious thank you to my delightful hostess!