From the exterior, the rowhouse at 1524 Hollins Street is indistinguishable from the other grand, three-story Victorians overlooking Union Square. Since 1997, when Baltimore closed its City Life museums, the interior has been left largely unkempt, save for some general maintenance efforts by the Friends of the H.L. Mencken House. But in the backyard blooms a lush urban garden, dutifully maintained by Betsey Waters and the Society to Preserve H.L. Mencken’s Legacy.
Neighborhoods of Baltimore
For Bill and Sharon Reuter, buying a house in Ridgely’s Delight 25 years ago was a relatively easy decision. The graphic designers, who were transferred to Baltimore from Connecticut, wanted a home downtown where they could get “more bang for your buck.” In the historic neighborhood where Babe Ruth was born, the Reuters found just what they were looking for. And then came a surprise.
By the turn of the 20th century, a “little Eden” had sprouted three miles north of downtown on Harford Road, The Baltimore Sun reported. Years later, the paper noted that “a hamlet set in the wilderness” had sprung to the south. In those early days, the neighborhoods of Hamilton and Lauraville were sprawling, suburban communities that stood in contrast to city life.
By several measures, Remington’s renaissance seems real. A decade of steady movement into the neighborhood, by businesses and residents, has changed the landscape and attracted visitors who can easily name popular spots: cocktail bar W.C. Harlan on West 23rd Street, bakery and cafe Sweet 27 on West 27th Street, and, on North Howard Street at the border of Charles Village, the coffee shop Charmington’s.
Driving on I-95 just north of the Fort McHenry Tunnel, you cannot help but notice the grinning, mustachioed cartoon character that appears to be winking at you. Though National Bohemian hasn’t brewed its beer at the intersection of O’Donnell and Conkling for 35-plus years, the company’s iconic mascot remains a ubiquitous reminder of this city’s industrial past.