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Monday 25 October 2010



Row houses, Baltimore, Maryland: photo by Carol M. Highsmith, November 2008 (Library of Congress)

the anxious
of the very

Row houses, Baltimore, Maryland: photo by Carol M. Highsmith, November 2008 (Library of Congress)

a bad


Row houses, Baltimore, Maryland: photo by Carol M. Highsmith, November 2008 (Library of Congress)


Ed Baker said...

my dad's family moved to D.C. from Baltimore about 1925..

still have cousins and uncles there who scrubbed those marble stoops wit Bon Ami:

the stoop's steps of Uncle Jake's row house on East Baltimore Street had a dip in each of the marble steps from so many feet going up 'em.

Julia said...

I love these pictures! The first one should be in a dictionary under the concept "personality" :-)

billymills said...

In a world full of the homeless, that homes are inhabitant less is a disgrace.

Ed Baker said...


is what they've been doing in Baltimore and also here in D.C. and just about everywhere else in USA cities.

around here they are building REPLACEMENT faux-townhouses and selling them as PRICEY condominiums!

the Homeless cannot afford the monthly condo fee much less the mortgage or the down payment!

heck, the (fictitious) Middle Class
not only also can't afford one but they can't even get a loan to "buy" one...

only one way to solve these problems: VOTE THE BUMS OUT AND IN...and join-up with one of those "all knowing" Institutionalized Religions...

TC said...


Yes, it's amazing what a bit of bright-coloured paint (top photo, far right, shocking pink) can do to put a brave face on urban decline. A spot of personality, or shall we say an appearance (at least) of courage, in the face of ruin...


Thanks for the good local knowledge.

Here are Ed's very relevant links:

Baltimore row houses, back then, with the original sparkling-clean marble stoops.

(As Billy suggests, derelict housing always seems to cry out for homesteaders and squatters. If you've watched The Wire, you've seen a fair representation of what might be found behind some of those boarded-up fronts.)

And here's that Times piece:

Old Baltimore Row Houses Fall Before Wrecking Ball.

In response to interest in this post I've just now put up Fabrication

Elmo St. Rose said...

East Baltimore Street and Gay
Street...1964 row houses and more...the days of Bethlehem Steel
at Sparrows point and a real as
opposed to the now gentrified
harbor as seen in Sleepless in Seattle...down Broadway by the
waterfront...we had a store front
the white students from Johns Hopkins and the black students from
Morgan State....U-JOIN (Union for
jobs or income now)
organizers we called ourselves,now
a familiar, self described once held position...row houses for
miles...appalachians, then Poles,
Lithuanians, Ukrankians,Germans,
and every ethic European enclave
you could think of plus the
southern white migration...that was
out East Baltimore Street and
perpendicular...Gay Street, the
black part of town,eventually
disected Broadway as it went North,
row houses still without the
scrupulous hygiene of the steps..
..without the mill and the development of the burbs and the
more scenic areas of the once
industrial harbor now gentry-fied
it's no wonder the row houses are
boarded up...hopefully a new generation of urban pioneers could
repopulate and rejuvenate the area
but to a certain's basically company town architecture

billymills said...

I've never watched the Wire Tom, but I have been a squatter, in what seems now like another life.

TC said...

Having this hundred-year-old house torn down and trying to concurrently somehow live in it, lately, has given us the odd sensation of being squatters in what were once our lives... vivid reminder of how much is constantly taken for granted, and how frail and tenuous the imaginal societal "safety net"... and how vulnerable and exposed and isolated one actually is, finally, in a broken society like this one.

Perhaps all this would be a bit easier were one, oh, say, fifty years younger. But then, so would everything, of course.