Neighbors once called it “The Plantation”—not with the grim historical undertone you might expect for the largely black community of Penn North, but with a more playful reference to the property’s exterior. The three-story home at 2521 Woodbrook Ave. is uniquely set back from the otherwise row home-lined street, and sports a Southern-style second-floor balcony out back.
It was owned by Thomas H. Miller and his family, white residents who had a number of homes in the West Baltimore neighborhood.
“The big house,” says Annie Hall, president of the Penn North Community Association, who grew up nearby and went on to rent her first home from Miller. “That’s what we called it coming up.”
Miller sold it in 1972, and it was later acquired by the city, land records show. For years thereafter, the lot between Francis Street and Woodbrook Avenue earned a new nickname: “The Cut,” says former Baltimore Police Det. Debbie Ramsey. The vacant site became overgrown and littered with trash, offering a suitable place for people running from the cops to dump their contraband or hide out.
A little over a year ago, freight giant CSX backed out of a long-sought plan to expand the 122-year-old Howard Street Tunnel running from the Port of Baltimore beneath the city, calling it a “business decision” not worthy of $455 million worth of public and private investments.
But last night, U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin’s office announced CSX has recommitted to widening the 1.7-mile tunnel’s clearance to fit double-stacked train cars carrying cargo from the Port of Baltimore.
After nearly 35 years of working for General Motors in Baltimore—first at its since-shuttered Baltimore Assembly plant on Broening Highway, and for the last 18 years at the company’s White Marsh facility—Guy White is hoping for a conversation with company brass about their decision to shutter the factory.
“Personally, what I have a hard time grasping is that the corporation has metrics that they measure their plants by, and our plant has the best attendance of any plant in North America—that’s Mexico, Canada, the United States,” says the shop chairman of United Auto Workers 239, which represents the company’s Maryland employees. “We have the best attendance. On all of our metrics, we’re a lean, efficient plant.”