Montebello Park Walking Tour “B”

Come walk with us and win a prize!  For a free cup of coffee, show your photo of one of the following two landmarks to the good folks at Zekes Coffee.  On the Montebello Park Walking Tour A, take a picture of the Medal of Honor winner grave marker.  On the Montello Park Walking Tour B, take a picture of the former home of All-American and professional football player, Jack Scarbath.

Montebello Park Walking Tour, Part B

Welcome to the second part of the historic walking tour of Montebello Park, one of the earliest housing areas in historic Lauraville, founded in March 1913.  For background please see Montebello Park Walking Tour Part A.

WALKING TOUR “B”

Please begin your tour past the area of the grass triangle near 2723 Overland Avenue.

>>Walk down Overland Avenue toward Harford Road headed east. As you walk along Overland Avenue the wooded areas of Herring Run stand behind the houses to your right. This green space in the Lauraville community means that nature and wildlife sightings are more frequent and varied than one would expect for a community in the middle of a major city. Blue heron, red bellied, pileated and downy woodpeckers are often seen here as well as spring migratory birds including Baltimore orioles, nesting red tailed hawks and at nearby Lake Montebello, bald eagles, Canadian geese and bufflehead ducks have been sighted.  Deer, fox, and raccoon are common and the secretive wild turkey is rumored to have returned to the deeper areas of these woods. Nature and wildlife viewing are additional benefits of Lauraville residence.

Hall Hotel

Hall Hotel Near Hall Springs (Source: Private Collection)

2800 Overland Avenue.  As you arrive at 2800 Overland Avenue you will see a cottage built in 1920. In the 1930 census this home was owned by Henry T. Mitchell who emigrated from England in 1910 and his wife Lena who emigrated from Germany around the same time. They lived with three daughters and a son. Mr. Mitchell worked as an auditor at a nearby hotel, most likely the Halls Springs Hotel.

 

2802 Overland Avenue.  Next is a foursquare built in 1916.  A foursquare is a style of home popular from 1900 through 1920.  They are usually 2-1/2 stories high and have a four room floor plan.  From 1920 through the 1930s, 10 people lived in this home.  The Vlangar family included the father, William, born in Greece in 1891 and who arrived in America in 1907. In the 1920s and 30s he made his living running a candy business nearby. He lived with wife Georgia and four children as well as a sister, niece, mother-in-law and brother-in-law. The brother-in-law, Samuel Doukas, was a veteran of World War I.

2805 Overland Avenue is a semi-bungalow style home built before 1930. The Eckhardt family lived here. Arthur Eckhardt was a tailor and a salesman and resided with his wife Lillian and two daughters. An Eckert family owned farm land in Lauraville listed on the Hopkins 1877 map so it is possible this may be a related family.

2806 Overland Avenue was built in 1925. In the 1930s this was the home of John Phillips, a store manager, and his wife, both Polish immigrants, and their two sons.  Also residing in their home was a brother in law, Walter Goska who worked in musical theater, his wife Helen and daughter Alexandria.

2809 Overland Avenue and 2811 Overland Avenue are slightly varied examples of craftsman foursquare combinations.  2809 was built before 1920 and 2811 was built in 1914. According to the 1930 census, 2809 was occupied by the Ferguson family. James Ferguson, the grandfather, was retired. His daughter, Mary, worked as a secretary in a laboratory and her son and daughter resided here along with Mary’s father-in-law, a factory worker, and a cousin who was a piano teacher. The Gilman family lived in 2811 in the 1930s and 40s (years of the Great Depression and WWII) headed by George, an auto mechanic, with a wife, two sons, father-in-law, mother-in-law living there as well as two boarders, a nurse and a draftsman.

2812 Overland Avenue is a four square that was built in 1914; at the time it would have had a lovely view of the wooded stream valley with no houses opposite.  This was home to the Herman family in the 1920s through the 1940s. Grandmother Annie Herman was born in 1865 in Maryland, daughter Edna was a bookkeeper in a nearby print shop, a son worked in real estate sales and their sister Ada was a bookkeeper for the cemetery on Grindon Avenue.

The Overland Avenue area on the 1877 map is noted as the estate of C. Lipps and on the 1894 H.T. Douglas map as Chris Lipp’s estate. It is possible this was the land bought by Christopher Lipps, owner of a soap factory. Adjacent to this property was a stone quarry that removed gneiss stones that you can see in foundations of several Montebello Park homes including 2812 Overland Avenue.

2816 Overland Avenue and 2818 Overland Avenue are both four squares built in 1914.  In the 1930s  and 40s, 2816 housed the Adler family who emigrated from Canada in 1902 headed by father, David, an insurance salesman.  An electrician, Frank King, his wife Rosena and two children lived in 2818.

2820 Overland Avenue has been renovated but was also a 1914 four square.  In the 1920s and 30s a railroad timekeeper with two children and boarder who was a professor in pharmacy school lived there.

Current residents of these blocks include a Chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs, a nurse, a city official and an artist who worked on the film crews of “The Wire” and “Homicide”.

>> Continue on Overland Avenue to Elsrode Avenue;

2829 Overland Avenue.  This is a brick version of a Montebello Park home built in 1926. Near this intersection is a community garden and orchard. Nearby current residents include an architect, a math professor, three published writers, a librarian and a Green Party activist and a labor historian.

>> At this intersection the tour continues to your left. If you were to continue on the 2900 block Overland Avenue you would reach Harford Road and the Lauraville mainstreet.  The history of this commercial district will be covered in a separate tour.  At the end of the block on the right as you near Harford Road on Overland Avenue, an alley indicates what was once the road to the quarry.   The area is fenced at the top and no longer accessible.

Continue Tour.  If you are continuing your tour, please note the stone foundation of 2900 Overland Avenue, a fine example of nearby quarried stone built in 1914.

>>Turn left and continue north on Elsrode Avenue toward Montebello Terrace.

2901 Montebello Terrace.  On the southeast corner of Elsrode and Montebello Terrace is a stucco foursquare with wraparound porch built around 1925 which has been in the same family for 80 years and was the home of State Delegate Gerald Curran who served in the House of Delegates for 31 years.

2900 Montebello Terrace.  Across the street at 2900 Montebello Terrace you can see another good example of building materials using stone quarried from nearby about a hundred years ago.

>>Turn right and head toward Harford Road to view a number of grand  old houses, mostly modified foursquares that are hundred or more years old based on Montebello Park being founded in 1913.

2903 Montebello Terrace.  Edward Vinton Aler moved here with his parents when it was built.  His father Emanuel was a carpenter born in Maryland and his mother Elizabeth, an immigrant from Germany. Edward continued to live here with his widowed mother through the 1940s and worked as a clerk for the railroad. During the depression and war, they rented to a couple who were a government chemist and a secretary for a university.

2909 Montebello Terrace housed in the 20s and 30s the family of John C. Kraft, a steamship engineer in the merchant marine service, who died in 1932 in an accident at sea. His wife Frieda who emigrated from Germany in 1881 continued to live in this house with her son John Jr. including after he married and worked in insurance. During World War II the family also took in out-of-state lodgers who worked as clerks for the Social Security Administration.

2911 Montbello Terrace was home to an insurance clerk and a college professor in the 1930s who emigrated from Canada.

2917 Montebello Terrace was occupied by the original family, the Dunns. The father was a contractor who built many of the houses filling in between older houses.  His daughter married a man who was named Scarbath who moved their family to one of those homes at 2919 Montebello Terrace. The Scarbath family had a son named Jack who was an All-American quarterback (take a photo of 2819 Montebello Terrace to claim free Zeke’s beverage).

>> Cross the street and head back up the hill on Montebello Terrace to Hampnett Avenue and turn right.

Hampnett Avenue was once named Sacks Avenue after the family that owned the land and harvested timber for their lumber mill located near Harford and Moravia (where Pep Boys now stands).  Houses on the west (left) side of Hampnett are original to early years of Montebello Park and appear on 1911 maps.

Walk to the intersection of Hampnett and Markley Avenues where on the northeast corner you see an example of Italianate Row Houses – a type of row home built during the late 1800s.  Markley Avenue is one of the oldest housing areas in Lauraville, having once housed the workers at Sacks Lumber Yard and the nearby Markley Store on Harford Road.

>>Turn left onto Markley Avenue and head up the hill.

On your left you will see Victorian homes that now have urban gardens in the rear of their properties.  As you arrive at the intersection of Markley and Elsrode Avenues you can decide if you want to end your tour by taking the short route or continue the tour with an extended loop.  To end tour, turn right onto Elsrode Avenue and head north past the building at Elsrode and Grindon Avenues that was once the Schwartz Pickle Factory, and return to the start of Tour A. 

>>To continue tour proceed along Markley Avenue and turn left onto Elsrode Avenue.

4505 Elsrode Avenue was home to Theodore Frederick Ernest Sack and family from at least 1900 to 1930. Mr. Sack was vice president of Sack Lumber and Elsrode was once nameed Lauretta Avenue after his daughter.  His father, George Sack, emigrated from Germany in 1852 and lived in Lauraville from at least 1860 (according to census data).

4500 Elsrode Avenue was home to Lee David Hoshall.  Descended from the Hoshall family of Baltimore County merchants, one of his ancestors served in the War of 1812 and another for the union forces in the Civil War.  An attorney, Mr. Hoshall served for 20 years as assistant general counsel for the Maryland Commission on Human Relations.
He was instrumental in passage of Baltimore City’s gay civil rights legislation, working as a tireless advocate in the face of repeated rejections by city leadership.   He also served as counsel in a broad range of discrimination cases including accessibility for disabled persons (negotiating wheelchair access to the lower decks of the USS Constellation at the Inner Harbor) and employment law affecting African-Americans and religious minorities such as Muslims and Sikhs.  Mr. Hoshall lived with his life partner of 37 years in this 1910 shingle style home (on land once owned byt he Sack family) from 1996 until his death in 2006.

>>Turn right onto Montebello Terrace and walk north.

2833 Montebello Terrace does not appear on the 1915 map and was likely built in 1918. It is described as a wood shingle house. In the 1930 and 1940 census a store manager named Joseph Bregel lived here with his family including in-laws named Lurch from Germany. Records show this family living on Rosekemp Avenue in the 1910s so it appears they were in the area prior to Montebello Park’s development.

2831 Montebello Terrace.  Frank L. Burger, an immigrant from Germany, owned 2831 Montebello Terrace and moved in with his family of eight when this was a new development. His business was produce in the 20s and 30s. His son Charles, a World War I veteran, opened a bank nearby and employed family members as clerks.

2829 Montebello Terrace was owned and lived in by the Wilhelm family, German immigrants, from 1918 until 2001. The generations of the Wilhelm family included meat cutters, machinist helpers in shipyards, secretarial workers, and rental property owners.

2823 Montebello Terrace was home in 1940 to Mary Malloy, a widow with two children whose parents emigrated from the “Irish Free State” via Pennsylvania. Her neighbors at 2821 Montebello Terrace, James and Mary Allison, worked as a railroad conductor and warehouse auditor.

2825 Montebello Terrace is a foursquare built in 1918.  Wilhelmina and Frank Wokoun and their two children, Louise and Frank W., were the first residents.  Frank Wokoun immigrated to the U.S. from Austria in 1888, and from at least 1905 onward worked as a bookkeeper for the Savarese Macaroni Company in New York City.  Around 1918 he was promoted to manager of the same company and the family moved to Baltimore.  Frank Wokoun returned to New York after Wilhelmina died in 1924.  In 1926, the Wokouns sold the house to William Bauer, a conducter on the electric railway that once ran along Harford Road.  William and his wife Mary lived in the house until 1940, when it was sold to Harr yE. and Carrie M. Mauldin.

>> Continue to walk up the hill and see if you can tell which were original buildings in Montebello Park and which filled in lots in later decades.

2817 Montebello Terrace.  When you arrive at 2817 Montebello Terrace you will see a stucco Spanish Colonial Revival cottage that in the 1970s and 1980s was home to Jenny Boyd Bull, manager of a feminist bookstore, an early lesbian activist and minister to a Christian gay friendly church. Many activists in civil rights, environmental causes and other socially significant matters made their homes in Lauraville and the nearby Morgan Park.

2805 Montebello Terrace.  Walk up the hill to 2805 Montebello Terrace.  A couple named Jeffers first lived here in the 1920s and rented to boarders during the depression, one of whom was a toolmaker who had emigrated from England after service in World War I.

>>Return to start of Part A.  If you turn right onto Weitzel Avenue and continue to Grindon Avenue, you will return to the beginning of Montebello Park Walking Tour Part A

>>Return to start of Part B.  To return to the beginning of the Part B tour, continue north on Montebello Terrace, turn left onto Mainfield Avenue, and then left onto Overland Avenue.

End of Tour!  Congratulations for completing the historic walking tour of Montebello Park.  We encourage and welcome your feedback and hope you will continue your explorations of  Lauraville.

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