We recently discovered a new website, Ghosts of Baltimore, that we think our readers will enjoy and we will occasionally share stories, as we do with a few other websites around town. The editor of Ghosts researches the Library of Congress, newspaper archives and other resources to unveil the history of the city. Check out, below, a 1908 story about Roland Park. -The Eds.
Courtesy Ghosts of Baltimore – We came across an incredible and fascinating series of articles in the Baltimore Sun printed in 1908. The one we’re featuring here details the history of Roland Park, how it was founded and developed. It was published on Sunday, December 27th, 1908.
a typical Roland Park road
The most fashionable and, undoubtedly, the most pretentious suburb of Baltimore is Roland Park.
The mad, mad rush to get to Roland Park in the last few years has been appalling. Stand on the new St. Paul Street Boulevard and you can actually almost count the families struggling by, with their family chattels piled in vans, on their way to the suburb, and the wishes of those people who don’t live there and would like to live there whiz by you like Rossetti’s new souls going into heaven.
The development of Roland Park has been phenomenal. Not a generation ago it was a majestic and rather disorderly stretch of orchard forest and meadow land. Now it is a beautiful, tidy, ultra-civilized and altogether attractive residence district.
No doubt the founders of the place and ambitious and hopefully far-reaching schemes, but they could hardly have foreseen, even in their most inspired moments, that these would materialize so delightfully.
They started their project bravely on large capital, borrowed for the most part from foreign sources, and it grew and grew like Jonah’s gourd. Two of the founders have gotten out of the company, with large fortunes safely stowed away. One of the founders remains, the present president of the company.
The article goes on to detail how the Roland Park Company was founded in July 1891 with the sum of $1 million from English capitalists. The first major plot of land purchased was 550 acres from several property owners, including Hiram Woods’ estate of Woodlawn, the Pennington family estate of Oakland, and the Maynadiers estate, Hepburn.