Stadium neighborhood has rich mix of people, history

MANY FACES OF WAVERLY

May 26, 1991|By Mary Medland

Everyone knows Waverly as one of the two city neighborhoods that borders Memorial Stadium -- the other neighborhood is Ednor Gardens -- but not everyone knows much about the area.

There are actually two Waverlys.

The Waverly neighborhood recognized by the city of Baltimore's planning department generally runs east of Greenmount Avenue and north of 33rd Street. On the north, 39th Street is the border. This is the area that is the concern of the Waverly Improvement Association.

Better Waverly, however, designates the neighborhood as the area running south from 33rd Street to Loch Raven Road.

In spite of the different boundaries, both groups swear by their neighborhoods.

"It is a great neighborhood," says Jackie MacMillan of Better Waverly. "There is a rich socio-economic and racial mix here and people are particularly open and tolerant."

"The neighborhood also has a rich history," says K. C. Docie, president of the Waverly Improvement Association, which began 1950. "It was originally called Huntington, but in 1881 the name Waverly -- after Walter Scott's novel -- was given to the area, although we are not sure by whom.

"Thirty-third Street and Old York Road used to have a tollgate," Ms. Docie continues. "People only had to pay when they were coming into town . . . ."

Waverly has African-American, Korean, Thai, Chinese and Jamaican residents. It also has a wide range of ages -- young couples with families, professionals and senior citizens. There are professors, city planners, and even a caterer -- Cuisine Catering.

"The neighborhood has been designated a conservation area by Mayor Schmoke," says Ms. MacMillan. "In other words, we have been targeted for special city resources for threatened neighborhoods. Waverly is a stable neighborhood that can use some additional support, particularly as Memorial Stadium is going to close."

The hulking stadium, a fixture in the neighborhood's summertime life, is being replaced by a downtown ballpark for the Baltimore Orioles. A task force, which includes neighborhood residents, is looking into options for the Memorial Stadium site. But so far, no decisions have been made about redevelopment.

One of Waverly's attractions, according to Ms. MacMillan, is affordable, quality housing. Prices on most homes are between $40,000 and $100,000. And there is a variety of styles including Victorian-style houses, cottage duplexes, Tudor and garden row houses and "daylight style" row houses -- small brick row houses with sun porches in the front and skylights in the bathrooms.

"Currently available is a typical Waverly home -- a porchfront town house at 650 E. 37th St. -- with three bedrooms and one bath," says Leila Faucette of Prudential Preferred Properties Inc. "It has a large eat-in kitchen, fenced yard, full unfinished basement, and includes appliances. The asking price is $42,000 and there is a $90-a-year ground rent."

Waverly is a neighborhood full of trees and lots of small front yards, and accessible to other green areas. Waverly also is rich in bus lines. The No. 3, No. 22, and No. 8 serve the neighborhood, and Greenmount and 33rd is a transfer point for other routes.

And whether traveling by car, bus or foot, the area is near Johns Hopkins University, downtown, Union Memorial Hospital, Wyman Park and the Baltimore Museum of Art, as well as Lake Montebello and its perimeter road used by runners and bicyclists.

Waverly attractions, such as the farmers' market and the 31st Street Bookstore, are not technically in the neighborhood, but just across Greenmount Avenue. The market is open every Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon, just south of 33rd Street and west of Greenmount Avenue. And about a block further south is the 31st Street Bookstore, which specializes in books on women's issues.

Waverly also has restaurants: Uncle Lee's, the Golden Star, the Thai, and others.

Just outside Waverly is the Progressive Action Center at Gorsuch and Kirk avenues. The center houses a neighborhood day-care center, an alternative periodicals library and a printer that publishes Better Waverly's newsletter. Various groups such Central American Solidarity Committee, Democratic Socialists of America and Baltimore Emergency Response Network use the center for their activities.

Also with ties to Waverly's past is the People's Community Health Center at 3012 Greenmount Ave. Formerly a free clinic, the center now serves the neighborhood on a sliding-fee schedule.

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