Loyola landmark Manor house on college campus features somber start, rich history

September 30, 1992

There's a rich history to tell about Evergreen Junior, a 96-year-old manor house on the grounds of Loyola College in North Baltimore.

Since the early 1920s, the Tudoresque castle has housed the priests and brothers of the Society of Jesus who are on Loyola's faculty. Evergreen Junior is undergoing a thorough renovation. It will be used for academic purposes when it reopens next year.

But before Loyola purchased the storied mansion, Evergreen Junior was intended to be the honeymoon "cottage" of Horatio Whitridge Garrett, one of the wealthiest young men in Baltimore.

Garrett was reared at Evergreen, his family's mid-Victorian estate in the 4500 block of N. Charles St., just to the north of the Loyola campus. His widowed mother, Mrs. T. Harrison Garrett, wanted her son and daughter-in-law to be properly quartered. She commissioned architects and builders to produce an elaborate, $85,000 palace for the newlyweds. It was located within eyesight of her own grand home, where she lived with her two other sons and a host of servants.

"The house had several unusual features. The bathtubs were so large they seemed more like swimming pools. They were sunken and could easy hold several people," recalls the Rev. William Davish, S.J., a Jesuit priest who lived at Evergreen Junior for more than 40 years.

"There were touches of the Garretts throughout the place. On the main staircase, on the black oak newel post, were two servants' buttons, one marked 'man,' the other 'maid,' " Father Davish recalls.

As the timbers were rising at the castle-like, Tudor Revival mansion, Horatio Garrett exhibited symptoms of a rare form of leg cancer. He was sent to New York, where surgeons amputated his leg at the thigh.

News of the young man's health was telegraphed to Baltimore newspapers, which published bulletins on his condition. He sailed to an English spa in hopes of recovery, but died there Oct. 2, 1896, two weeks short of his first wedding anniversary. He was 23.

His body, now in a lead coffin, was shipped aboard the steamer St. Paul to New York. A special Baltimore & Ohio train carried his remains to Baltimore, where a horse-drawn wagon brought the master of Evergreen Junior back to the house he never occupied. A funeral was held the afternoon of Oct. 18, 1896. Clergymen from Brown Memorial Presbyterian and Emmanuel Episcopal churches officiated as the assembled mourners sang, "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say."

A long procession made its way from Evergreen Junior to Green Mount Cemetery. Horatio Garrett's Princeton University classmates served as honorary pallbearers. They dropped lilies of the valley into his grave.

At Evergreen Junior, the elder Mrs. Garrett had her architects make several references to her son throughout the baronial house that was fitted with Jacobean paneling and plasterwork. The design in the bookcases' leaded-glass windows contains a pair of boxing gloves, the anchor of hope, a heart pierced by a cross and a medical symbol. The numbers "1896" were carved in one of the many mantels.

Father Davish surmises that the boxing gloves were a reference to the Garretts' affinity for intercollegiate sports at Princeton. Horatio's brother, Robert, was an Olympic athlete. The date, 1896, recorded the year of his death and that of his home's completion.

With the squire of Evergreen Junior dead, the house sat vacant for some years. The Garrett family allowed it to be used as a rehabilitation hospital for servicemen blinded during World War I.

Shortly thereafter, the property was sold to the Jesuits so that Loyola College could have a suburban campus much larger than its old quarters at what is now Center Stage in the 700 block of N. Calvert St. The priests initially used Evergreen Junior to house classrooms, but eventually the commodious mansion became an ideal residence for the priests who served on Loyola's faculty.

The priests converted the mansion's billiard room into a library for newspapers and periodicals. Because the room was somewhat sunken, they named it "The Pit."

In June 1955, a spectacular, seven-alarm fire threatened to level Evergreen Junior. A dried shingle roof burned like matchwood. Defective electrical wiring was blamed. Last week, as workmen ripped out partitions and removed plaster, they uncovered some charred wooden beams that survived the fire.

"The fire first betrayed itself in the chapel on the north side of the building. The firemen did a magnificent job, but not before a terrible blast of heat threw a couple of the men over a banister," Father Davish recounts. The firefighters recovered from their NTC injuries.

The Jesuits lost no time rebuilding the frame house, which now sits in the middle of a busy campus. When it reopens, Evergreen Junior could once again be a showplace of 1890s affluence that Mrs. Garrett intended for her son.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.