Hot House: 1504 Mill Race Road, Baltimore, MD 21211

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Stone built cottage, circa 1840, semi-detached with new roof. Four bedrooms, 1 bath, 1,785 sq. ft. over three stories, no basement. Original wide plank wood floors, 3 fireplace mantles, deep window sills, new electric. Gas heat, no a/c: $140,000 as is (ask about CHAP tax credits) 

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What: Not actually off the grid. The realtor’s listing boasts “new 100 amp electric,” so sadly, you’re still dependent on Baltimore City. But this house has an outlaw aspect, a hidden location, and a patina of grime that feels very authentic — like one of those portraits of migrant workers at home during the Depression.

Stone houses built for the mill workers of the Jones Falls are scattered throughout this neighborhood, but the ones in this tiny hamlet  were built for itinerant laborers, the lowest of the low, and offered just the barest of conveniences. At one time, 20 workers would have been quartered here, and it probably doesn’t look that different now.  Ceilings are low, to keep in the heat from the fireplaces. The kitchen’s a wreck. The bathroom’s worse. The whole place needs work. On the other hand, it’s sturdy and simple. The original bones are nice, and haven’t been messed with. The setting is fascinating and unique  and with your eye, it could be very cool.

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Where: Mill Race is hard to find without Google Maps. It’s an unpaved potholed track running parallel to  Clipper Mill Road. The entrance is near the corner of Ash Street, across from Birroteca. It’s a private hamlet of about 15 houses, attached and semi-detached, that lie close together in a wooded glade (see photo below). It feels way more isolated than it actually is, which is basically a five minute walk to the Avenue — hiding in plain sight.

Why: A real adventure.

Why Not: Too many to list – but not nearly enough to outweigh its charm.  

Would Suit: Man on the run.

NB: Winters could be tough. One resident says ” no one ever ploughs here.”

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