Kids at play gladden a `great place'

Neighborhood profile: Idlewylde

Same schools, shops as Stoneleigh, Anneslie but less-costly homes

January 09, 2000|By Charles Belfoure | Charles Belfoure,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Sometimes you can find out what's going on in a neighborhood by looking at its cars.

George Karavedas, the owner of Sherwood Auto Service who has fixed most of Idlewylde's cars for the last 12 years, made an astute observation.

"There have been a lot less cars owned by elderly ladies coming in over [the] last few years. You know, cars that are 10 years old with only 15,000 miles on them," said Karavedas.

That's probably because Idlewylde, a pocket of homes at the Baltimore County line and Sherwood Road, is changing. "The elderly are moving out," observed Isabelle Mallonee, a Long & Foster agent. Taking place are young couples with children. "There's lots of children riding bikes in the streets," said Mallonee. In terms of cars, according to Karavedas, this has meant a noticeable increase in vans and sport utility vehicles.

The new residents have moved to Idlewylde for the same reasons that Barbara Hermoni, a resident of 45 years, did; the convenient location, the affordable prices and, especially, the schools.

"It was a great place to raise my four kids; all four went to great schools," she said. The three schools Hermoni's children attended, Stoneleigh Elementary, Dumbarton Middle and Towson High, are still a strong selling point for the neighborhood, Mallonee said.

Idlewylde is part of a trio of neighborhoods itself. Although its houses are smaller and less expensive than those in adjacent Stoneleigh and Anneslie, Idlewylde residents get all the same advantages when it comes to schools, shopping and location, explained Mallonee.

The houses, a majority of which are Cape Cods and bungalows, range from $85,000 to $150,000 with lot sizes averaging about 50 feet by 125 feet.

Aside from the shopping at the stores in the 6000 block of York Road, there's local shopping and services along Sherwood Road including the Sherwood Auto Service, a 7-Eleven, a barber shop, a deli and a local grocery store.

Idlewylde's community association, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1999, is a major presence in the neighborhood. It has its own community hall at 6301 Sherwood Road where it holds an annual Christmas party, dances and dinners. The hall is also rented out for birthdays and weddings.

"Martin O'Malley has played there twice," said member Peggy Squitieri referring to Baltimore's mayor, who has his own band.

A major project of the association that's about to come to fruition in the spring is the streetscape improvement along Sherwood Road. "The final plans are due back soon from the county," said Cathy Thornton, a member of the streetscape committee.

In an effort to make the business district safer and more user friendly, the sidewalks will be enlarged, therefore narrowing the width of the neighborhood's main thoroughfare and slowing down traffic speed, according to Thornton. Additional parking spaces will be included between the bump outs.

To raise money for new street lighting, commemorative bricks, which will be part of the new paving, are being sold, she said.

Another project in the works is the conversion into a park of the former Genstar cement plant at Regester Avenue and Overbrook Road. The plant closed 15 years ago and Baltimore County eventually bought the 13-acre site. In early December, the state and the county announced $850,000 was being committed to build the park.

Idlewylde originally was the estate of Joshua Regester, an owner of a bell foundry in Baltimore. The mansion, although no longer in its original state, still exists at the corner of Crestwood and Regester. In 1907, the 230-acre estate was sold for $60,000 to Clarence M. Griffith, who created the present streets and lots. By the late 1940s, most of Idlewylde had been developed.

A landmark in the community is the Carpenter Gothic style Idlewylde United Methodist Church, built in 1915.

With a congregation of 148 members, the 110-seat usually averages 60 worshipers for Sunday service for about 60 worshipers according to Joy Jones, its pastor for the last 30 months.

The church held a very unique Christmas service called the Dark Night Service on Dec. 21. In its third year, it is specifically for people who find themselves to be depressed and unhappy during the holiday season.

"It's a service of calm and quiet. And everyone writes out their problems on a slip of paper and then we burn them on the front porch of the church," explained Jones. A Christmas pageant for the church's popular preschool program was held in the beginning of December.

While some neighborhoods may experience a decline when longtime residents die or move, Idlewylde is an example of a community that continues to prosper after being passed on to a new generation of families.

"The young are just as committed to the neighborhood as the older residents were," remarked Tim Mooney, president of the community association and father of children ages 3 and 4. "We want to keep it a nice place to live."


ZIP code: 21239

Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 15 minutes

Public Schools: Stoneleigh elementary, Dumbarton Middle, Towson High

Shopping: Towson Town Cener, stores on York Road and Sherwood Road, Towson Market Place

Home on the Market: 8*

Average listing price: $117,183*

Average sale price: $116,591*

Average days on market: 106*

Sales price as a percentage of listing: 99.5%*

* Based on 16 sales in the past 12 months as recorded by the Metropolitan Regional Information System.

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