This week’s featured Baltimore Building is the Roland Park Shopping Center. Read more about the history of the Roland Park neighborhood on the Roland Park website.
Around 1900 the curving streets and extensive landscaping of the “garden suburb” provided an attractive alternative to the stately rows and squares that had long housed Baltimore’s elites. Roland Park was by no means the first garden suburb, even in Baltimore (see Sudbrook Park), but it was the most fully realized, with its streetcar line, parkway entrance, country club, architectural (and racial) covenants, and innovative shopping center. Built in 1895, the half-timbered shopping center with its flamboyant Flemish gable, housed essential neighborhood shops below and doctors’ and dentists’ offices above. What was new is that all this was set back from the street – to give parking space for the automobiles that were soon to choke the old gridded city. A dentist has decided to restore this to it’s previous glory and it will be used to house his practice and other medical offices. It will take some time for the restoration since everything has to be approved by the historical board but he is up for the challenge. This is why I moved here he has told the neighbors.
Under the leadership of Edward H. Bouton, the Roland Park Company not only built Guilford, Homeland, and Original Northwood for Baltimore’s upper middle class, but participated in plans for worker housing during the two world wars, planning more modest garden suburbs at Dundalk and Cherry Hill.