Walking tour will showcase Waverly's Victorian homes

April 18, 1996|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Baltimoreans who head for Cape May or Saratoga Springs in search of Victorian architecture can find it right at home, in an old city neighborhood just south of Memorial Stadium.

Waverly residents have organized their first Victorian Village free house tour Sunday to showcase a spectrum of housing styles and gardens.

"I grew up around Clifton Park and now live on Homestead Street," said computer programmer Paula Branch, 42. "And I've always been fascinated by the history of Waverly. I had no idea we have more than 100 houses built before 1900."

Mrs. Branch (who is not related to Baltimore Councilwoman Paula Johnson Branch) said she helped set up the tour to increase interest in the preservation of her neighborhood's older houses.

"About six years ago, a mansion was torn down on Old York Road. Maybe it wasn't as bad as what happened in Owings Mills, but it still stung me hard," she said in reference to the recent demolition of the Samuel Owings House in Baltimore County.

All the addresses included in Sunday's on-foot exploration will be south of 33rd Street, an area known for its picturesque frame houses with front porches and lots of woodwork. Stops will be made at several local gardens.

"There is actually more historic fabric still intact than your first impression from driving through on Greenmount Avenue or 33rd Street will give you," said Eddie Leon, a city planner in historic preservation, who will help lead the tour.

Mr. Leon's itinerary includes stops at Greek Revival and Gothic Revival style houses, as well as a 1920s daylight-style rowhouse, a home constructed to admit plenty of sunlight to each room.

There will also be a look at the restoration of an E. 30th St. 19th century rowhouse owned by decorative painter Terry Koenig.

The pilgrimage will include stops along 33rd Street, Old York Road, Gorsuch Avenue and Montpelier Street.

The tour will visit St. John's Episcopal Church, Huntingdon, a landmark building at Greenmount Avenue and Old York Road. The church, its grounds, gardens and graveyard (where Waverly poet Lizette Woodworth Reese is buried) will be open. The 1859 church has a collection of stained-glass windows. Its Virgin Mary side chapel was refurbished recently.

The tour, sponsored by the Better Waverly Community Organization and the city's Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, is free and begins at 1 p.m. sharp at the southeast corner of 33rd Street and Ellerslie Avenue, adjacent to the former Eastern High School property.

Pub Date: 4/18/96

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