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c. 1850s–1880s. 1700–2000 blocks of South Rd. and Sulgrave Ave.; and bounded by Thornbury, Dixon, and Kenway rds., and Maywood Ave.

The Mount Washington residential area was first developed by George Gelbach Jr. and the Reverend Elias Heiner as a summer retreat of villas befitting its lush setting among the wooded hills and meandering streams of the Jones Falls. Although built in the shadows of Mount Washington Cotton Mill, the community was intended for middle- and upper-class Baltimoreans seeking a “healthy, retired, and respectable country residence” accessible via the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad’s northern line. Gelbach and Heiner built such houses as the Second Empire Laboriere (1856; 1705 South).

Gelbach and Heiner also founded the former Mount Washington Female College (1855, Thomas Dixon; 5801 Smith Avenue) that has a three-story brick octagonal building reminiscent of the work of Orson S. Fowler.

Other developers followed, and the summer retreat blossomed into a year-round community. In the 1860s and 1870s brothers Thomas and James Dixon developed the adjacent area dubbed Dixon Hill, considered Baltimore’s first planned suburb. Thomas Dixon had the advantage of owning a lumber company, providing a wide range of wood materials to build and ornament the community’s Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, and Stick Style villas. They designed and built thirty-five houses, including their own Gothic Revival cottages (c. 1870; 1813 and 1815 Thornbury Road). They are also responsible for the exceptional Carpenter Gothic Mount Washington Presbyterian Church (1878; 1801 Thornbury).

Nearby are the Swiss Chalet-inspired villas at 5600, 5602, 5603, 5604, and 5607 Roxbury Place built c. 1870 by developer John Graham, who partnered with John Nichols to form the Cottage Building Association.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie


What's Nearby


Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie, "MOUNT WASHINGTON RESIDENTIAL AREA BUILDINGS", [Baltimore, Maryland], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Maryland, Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022, 224-225.

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