Tag: bolton hill

MICA and Upward Mobility


You know that parking lot right near where Mount Royal runs into North Avenue – the one behind MICA’s Commons building, with that big pink sculpture like a twisted metal flower and the beat-up half-pipe? Well it won’t be there much longer.

MICA is using the property to build another residence hall, which they’re calling “Commons II” (their naming meeting must’ve lasted all of 30 seconds). The school is pumping $16.5 million into the renovation, which will be able to house about 240 additional students.

The Baltimore Sun writes “The project represents a key part of MICA’s strategy under longtime president Fred Lazarus IV to extend northward and rejuvenate the North Avenue corridor by connecting Bolton Hill with the 100-square-block Station North Arts and Entertainment District to the east.” The expansion is probably as exciting for the area as it is for MICA – the school has played a huge part in making the Station North District what it is today, bringing art, college kids, and yes, a lot of money into the area.

Here’s to upward mobility, Baltimore!



A Baltimore Guide to Not Getting Broken Into


My house got broken into the other day. We lost a laptop, desktop, a couple of Mac chargers and an amp. That was Saturday. Monday, we got broken into again, and they took another laptop, a bike, more chargers, our TV, a bunch of guitars — basically everything of value. One of my housemates said he felt like a Who after the Grinch came, but minus the Christmas cheer. And, you know, if it happened twice. Anyway, getting broken into is no fun, and it happens a lot in Baltimore, so I thought I’d share a few of the things I’ve learned about how to not get all your stuff jacked.

Fences are good, walls are not. 

The first time whoever it was broke in, they came through an open door. That was a stupid mistake on our part, but afterwards we kept everything locked up. The second time, we got our dining-room window busted open. The thieves felt safe enough to do this, the security people explained, because we’ve got an eight-foot brick wall around our back yard. Eight feet is as high as city regulation will allow, but still low enough that anyone over 5’8″ can pretty easily climb over. And once they’re over a wall, they’re hidden from view.  So make sure your robbers-to-be don’t have any good spots to hide.

Window bars are awesome.

If your windows and doors are barred, you’ve probably deterred 95 percent of people wanting to steal your things. We didn’t do this until after the second time we were broken into, but we haven’t had any trouble since then. (Though I’m not sure if it’s the window bars or just that we don’t have anything left to steal.)

The Artistic Ambassador of Bolton Hill


Across the street from F. Scott Fitzgerald Park in Bolton Hill is the die Botschaft 1628: Art & Culture Gallery.  Built in 1873, the house in which the gallery resides was “a shell when I bought it in 2004,” said gallery owner Marcia Hart.

According to Hart, the Geatty family built the house at 1628 Bolton Street and it stayed in the family for more than a century.  Unable to maintain their 6,000 square foot home, the Geatty’s sold it in 2000.  Hart said, “The new owners made disastrous attempts at renovation.  There was a tarp on the second floor that collected water which had pooled and smelled.”

Acoustically hung ceilings – the kind that are found in office buildings that drop into sections – had been attached by notching the house’s ornate plaster cornices.  The night before the closing of the sale to the previous owners, the marble fireplaces were stolen.

The Wire Turns 10: David Simon Looks Back


Some loved The Wire and think it’s a great work of literary genius. Others think the show has done a disservice to our fair city by showing its dark underbelly, in all its dysfunctional glory.

No matter what camp you fall into, you’ll have the rare chance to discuss it with the show’s creator when Baltimore-based author, journalist and television writer/producer David Simon lectures at MICA February 29 at 7 p.m. on the state of Baltimore in 2012 and the legacy of The Wire.

Simon was invited on campus by MICA’s new “The Wire & American Naturalism” class as a celebrated literary naturalist writer. Like the creators of the The Wire, American naturalist novelists of the 1890s and early 20th century produced searing depictions of urban criminality and economic injustice. While simultaneously reading from naturalist texts and viewing Simon’s groundbreaking series, the class investigates the relationship between naturalism, political reform and melodrama; examines the scientific and intellectual foundations of the literary movement; and considers the philosophical problems posed by a naturalist worldview.

Simon worked for The Baltimore Sun for 12 years before writing Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets and co-writing The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood with Ed Burns. The books became the basis for the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street and the HBO mini-series The Corner, respectively. Simon is the creator, writer and executive producer of The Wire, Generation Kill and Treme.   

The event, in MICA’s Falvey Hall in the Brown Center, 1301 W. Mount Royal Ave., is free and open to the public.

Beaux Arts Victorian Mansion — Former Funeral Home — in Bolton Hill


HOT HOUSE: 1900 Eutaw Place, Baltimore, 21217

A 17,822 square foot Victorian era palace in red brick, the larger part of which has a separate address on Robert Street, with nine rental units, all well-maintained. The private home has 5 bedrooms and 5 baths on four stories, with all original woodwork and architectural details: $1,950,000.

What: A Baltimore landmark, this fortress-like mansion with towers and turrets dominates the corner of Eutaw Place, together with the Eutaw Place Temple (former synagogue, now Masonic Lodge).  It was built in 1882 by Dwight Davidson Mallory, an oyster packer, back in the day when there was lots of money in oyster packing and Eutaw Place was millionaire’s row. Mr. Mallory lived here until he died in 1926, when it was bought by the Mitchell family and operated as the Mitchell Funeral Home until they relocated to York Road, in 1965. Since then, part of the building has been converted into nine separate rental units, with an address of 300 Robert Street (the street around the corner from the main property). There is a four car garage and a coin-operated laundry room in the basement. The same owner has lived here since 2001. Inside the private home, everything looks shipshape. It is impressive in the ornate way that city mansions of the Victorians often are: beautifully carved wooden staircases and paneling, grand, 15 foot ceilings, stained glass and frescoed walls.  One of the realtor blogs for this address is amazingly detailed, with a virtual education on Victorian housing, a description of each room, and the reassuring news that the rental units are “full, with a strong and stable rental history.”  Even more, it is an “astute investor opportunity.” So just move in, sit back, and watch the money roll in…

Where: Eutaw Place is at the western edge of Bolton Hill. From  83-S, take exit 6 North Avenue, toward Mt. Royal Avenue. Take a right onto W. North Avenue, and a left onto Eutaw Place (just past Linden Ave). 1900 is on the right. Nearby are OnTheHill Café, B Bistro, and lots of take-out on North Avenue …

Why: You believe you could make it work for you, and you love its Victorian wackiness.

Why Not:  How’re you going to heat this thing? 

Would Suit:  Optimist. B&B? Condo-conversion? Professional org?

NB: Realtors believe that new language in the Baltimore City Draft Zoning Code will benefit this property in some way. None wanted to speak on the record yet, and author not able to understand ‘new language.’ Just a heads up.  


A Steal in Bolton Hill


HOT HOUSE: 143 West Lanvale Street, Baltimore 21217

Large, Victorian-era townhouse with stone exterior, restored, in Bolton Hill: $524,900  

What: For anyone who loves upscale city living, this elegant, updated 1880’s townhouse is the answer to a dream. Bolton Hill is probably the most beautiful neighborhood in Baltimore, with a nice mix of residents and a true neighborhood feel. Quieter in the summer, when the nearby MICA students leave, it is an immanently walkable, visually-pleasing place to live. The house at 143 West Lanvale Street is spacious and comfortable, with wood floors and crown molding throughout.  Everything recently restored, including all systems. It features a gourmet cooks kitchen with granite breakfast bar and an extraordinary master bedroom suite which comprises the entire third floor and has French doors opening onto a pretty deck with south-facing views of the city.  Amenities include a steam shower, soaking tub, and covered back porch which overlooks a sweet urban garden. Zoned central air, and at least two wood-burning fireplaces, including one in the master suite. In Manhattan, this would be a $10 million house (just with better shopping). 

Where: West Llanvale Street is in the heart of Bolton Hill, with easy access to Penn Station and the MARC train. B bistro is where it’s at restaurant-wise, with a few sandwich and coffee shops within easy reach.  

Why: Because you can feel rich, without being rich.  Bolton Hill, and this house, were built on a grand scale for the wealthy occupants of Baltimore in its heyday. The period details and beautiful, solid construction will be there long after you’re gone–it’s your place in history.

Why Not: The olive-colored bathroom tile, may not be to everyone’s taste. Neighbor points out “leave anything valuable on your car seat, it will get stolen.”

Would Suit: City-oriented couple, old house enthusiasts, urban family who for $500 can join the neighborhood’s beloved Bolton Hill pool and tennis club