Giving voice to the Stone Hill neighborhoodGuy Hollyday...


November 20, 1994|By Laura Lippman

Giving voice to the Stone Hill neighborhood

Guy Hollyday has shown photographs of his Baltimore neighborhood, Stone Hill, at other exhibits. And he has incorporated written text, so people could read the oral histories given by his subjects.

But today, when his photos are displayed at the Mill Centre Holiday Arts Weekend, Mr. Hollyday has a new twist: Visitors can hear the voices of the people they see, spinning their yarns on hours of tape.

Mr. Hollyday, 65, found Stone Hill, an enclave of fieldstone

duplexes west of Keswick Road, the way most people do -- by accident.

It was love at first sight.

That was 12 years ago. His initial infatuation turned to affection and curiosity. Mr. Hollyday tracked down dozens of people who once lived along the narrow streets with names like Puritan and ** Field. He wanted to know what life was like in the heyday of the seven mills that once dominated the area.

"Some people said, 'Let's do it tomorrow,' and tomorrow never came. "Others said, 'Get out of here.' The rest were all cooperative," he says -- cooperative enough to record 90 hours of tapes.

The result is not only his latest exhibit, but a self-published book, "Stone Hill, the People and Their Stories," for sale at businesses throughout Hampden. The memories range from the momentous the touchingly mundane.

One example: "I went to work part-time after school at the A&P right here on Elm Avenue in what was an old church building," recalls Raymond Cook (a source so rich Mr. Hollyday calls him "a walking address book.") "The manager's name was John Holmes, who later got murdered on 36th Street when he was making a bank deposit. The wages then was 25 cents an hour and I paid 6 cents a week Social Security." For more than 80 years, the Junior League of Baltimore has been developing nonprofit volunteer programs that work. It's Malinda Small's job to ensure that tradition continues.

As president of the 800-member organization, Ms. Small heads a group of women whose gifts to Baltimore have included the Flower Mart, the Waxter Center, Santa Claus Anonymous and Pets on Wheels.

Without the Junior League, the city would have no annual festival to herald the coming of spring, no center on Cathedral Street for senior citizens to gather for education and socializing, no organized effort to buy Christmas gifts for the poor, and no four-legged friends visiting area nursing homes.

"We identify needs in the community and develop projects and programs to meet those needs," explains Ms. Small, 35, whose full-time job is managing corporate giving for Baltimore Gas & Electric.

"Usually," she adds, "we fully develop those projects over three to five years, then find someone to take over."

The league's current projects include the Baltimore Baseball League, which organizes intramural baseball for fourth- and fifth-grade city students who meet attendance and academic performance standards, and First Weeks Parenting, a program aimed at preventing child abuse. Volunteers visit homes -- at the invitation of parents -- to promote healthy parent-child relationships.

For the moment, the Hanover, Pa., native's focus is on the league's Holiday Pops concert, scheduled Dec. 16-18 at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. The annual Baltimore Symphony performance is a major fund-raiser for the league, last year netting $130,000. Tickets, ranging from $24 to $65, can be purchased at the Meyerhoff box office.

Chris Kaltenbach

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