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.................................Photo Maryland State Department of Education  - Edward Bafford
Version 1-1
 
 Rowhouses have to be a trademark of only a few American Cities, Baltimore included. They could be built as elaborate three and four story structures, several rooms deep, or might be smaller, only 2 rooms deep ( 4 rooms total ) , often known as alley houses.  Quite often, the wider corner houses would have a small grocery store, located on the first floor, with residences in the upper floors.

     In different parts of the City, you will find different styles of rowhouses. A rowhouse style you would see in Southeast Baltimore City
, you likely won't find in Northwest Baltimore City.

   
In 1929 ,  63% of the houses in Baltimore City were owned by the occupants. 86%  were one family type, while only 11 % were known as two family type. A mere 3% were known as three family structures , which included hotels based in the City. Another fact that seems to have helped the Baltimore family of 1929 was the fact that at least 65% of families had some type of bank savings account.

.....................................................Baltimore Rowhouses
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   In 1914, one publication showed that from the years 1908 to 1914 , 14,000 rowhouses had been built in Baltimore City. The average rowhouse built in Baltimore City at this time costs about $1,200  for a two story rowhouse, which was believed to be ideal for people of moderate means.
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...............................................................................South Baltimore homes circa 1951     

Rowhouses allowed people to be be home owners without too much expense.  Ground grounds were in place so one didn't have to buy the ground under which the house was built on, only the house itself.  The home owner would pay a ground rent to the owner of the land yearly for use of the land.
.............................................Rowhomes Baltimore
............................................................................................................................................Old Postcard View....
    A trademark of Baltimore was the rowhouse with white marble steps, and the sight of scrubbing those steps over the years to keep them clean. Baltimore has had housing problems over the years, and a lot of the old rowhouses sit empty and abandoned these days.
   
Rowhouse designs would later allow for porches, bay windows, and improved window and door sills ( treatments ) .For those looking to save every penny, one option with some builders was to pass on the trademark marble steps and simply have wooden steps.
      In 1929 , Baltimore City ranked 1st in home ownership among larger cities in the U.S. . So called " tenements " ( slums ) were also not common in the city in the late 1920's.  The average rowhouse could be purchased at an average costs of $4,500  with monthly installments of $30 to $40 a month.

........................................................Baltimore row homes 1914
..........................................................................................................Construction of Baltimore Rowhouses 1914
 Many of Baltimore's rowhouses were built of brick, and the houses sold for up to $2,000 in 1914, which would increase to about $3,500 for a new rowhouse in Northwest Baltimore by 1935 ( on Dolfield Avenue ).
     Payments back in 1914 were considered " weekly payments " , and would include the purchase price of the house, as well as the ground rent, taxes, "water rent ", and insurance. Weekly installments would range from $5 to $7 weekly for a $1200 home. Under this arrangement, if payments were made on time, within 8 to 10 years,  the house would become the property of the home buyer. Taxes, water , and ground rent would still have to be paid, but the house would belong to the buyer.

    Ground rents ran from $42. to $60. a year,  making the value of the ground between $700 and $1,000.  Home buyers would have the option later to buy the land as well.
Rowhouses were popular in Baltimore because they could be sold at low rates, with the ground rent system in place. A home buyer could buy a house and afford the payments, without having to worry about the costs of the actual land.  Rowhouses could be built by builders who would buy acres of land at a time, and build entire blocks at a time. Building materials would be purchased in bulk, which allowed even more savings for the builder, and the end result would be a cheaper house for the builder and buyer.
.............................................Rowhomes Baltimore
................................................................................................................Baltimore's Homewood Terrance 1920's
............................................................................Kilduff's look at some of those homes in 2009
East Baltimore Patterson Park Area Rowhouses
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Southeast Baltimore block
.....East Baltimore rowhomes await Demolition
............East Baltimore block awaiting demo for Hopkins Expansion.


..Rowhomes off Greenmount Avenue 2006 Baltimore
,,,,,,,,,East Baltimore Blocks off Greenmount Avenue
..........Boarded Up Baltimore Rowhouses
...............................................Wilkens Avenue Baltimore
................................................Baltimore's longest block of rowhouses - located on Wilkens Avenue

......................................Alley houses Rowhomes in Baltimore Maryland 1005
...............................Alley houses off of Ashland Avenue, East Baltimore - Recently torn down -

.Rowhomes altimore Downtown
....................Renovated rowhouses in West Baltimore
....................Known as Pascault Row - Built 1816

Rowhomes Baltimore 2005
....................................Old Baltimore Rowhomes, West Baltimore 2005
..........................................................Southwest Baltimore Rowhomes
Like any East Coast or big City for that matter, Baltimore also has it's share of public housing, locally known as the " projects ". Back in the 1950's and 1960's, builders envisioned large apartment style buildings. The complexes were found all over town, but by the 1990's, they had all been torn down, in favor of the smaller " low rises " which can still be found. Older " war " housing, used to house workers during the Second World War was also converted into " projects ", but most of those as well have been torn down over the past few years.
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This plan came out in the mid- 1950's, and some of the plan has been completed, although much of the plan was not. The drawing above is of what is now Martin Luther Kings Jr. Blvd, coming south from Howard Street to the intersection of Interstate 70. While the sunken highway approach was completed for the small section of Interstate 70 that was actually completed ( seen below ), MLK Jr. Blvd is at street level. The section of I-70 seen below is now closed and appears to be under a transformation as the highway was never completed The idea back in the 1950's was that the high rises would co-exist with the super highways, creating jobs and opportunites. That idea never quite took off nor did it become a reality within the City Limits.
...............................Plans for Projects Baltimore 1950s

...............................1950's plans for Projects Baltimore
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.........................Above, the Fremont Avenue High Rises ( Westside ) , and Flag House High rise plans ( Eastside ) , circa 1954.

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On paper, the plans looked good. Modern high rises, housing Baltimore's poor population, near transportation routes, to allow people to get to work. The idea however never quite took off, and the high rises you see planned above were finally torn down, after becoming some of the roughest and most dangerous sections of the City.
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While the high rises in this drawing have been torn down, many of the smaller three and two story buildings ( low-rises )  have survived and are used to this day.


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