Perfecting Mount Vernon Place

November 12, 1991

The past year has been a glorious one for Mount Vernon Place and the neighborhood surrounding that priceless European-inspired square.

The restoration of the Hackerman House to accommodate the Walters Art Gallery's Asian collection was a springtime gala event made even more festive by reconstructed fountains and flower beds near the Washington Monument. The improvement of that architecturally significant area now continues with the announcement that three decrepit town houses in the 600 block of North Charles Street will be converted into an Elderhostel to house senior citizens taking music-related courses at the Peabody Institute during intensive, one-week visits.

This is optimal use of the town houses, which date from th1880s and 1890s and were built on a speculative basis to take advantage of the location next to the Schapiro House, a landmark which is distinguished by its cast-iron balconies. Not only will the visitors be right at Peabody's door steps but also across from the Walters and the many programs that gallery offers. While the Schapiro House will continue as a location for many important Peabody offices, it will benefit from the conversion and get such much-needed improvements as a new roof and a face lift for its facade.

Mount Vernon Place's renaissance has been one of the happiesrecent developments in downtown Baltimore. Condominium conversion and the new Waterloo Place apartments have brought many new residents to the neighborhood. That, in turn, has been good for area restaurants and shops.

We hope this latest renovation project will turn investors' attention to another group of derelict town houses near the square. That eyesore, south of the Peabody Court Hotel on Cathedral Street, is ripe for redevelopment.

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