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.