Ashburton CHAP Historic District

Summary Description

Ashburton is predominately a single-family residential neighborhood with several rows of duplexes and rowhouses, churches and a small commercial strip located near the edge of the neighborhood.  The neighborhood comprises 970 properties with a density of approximately 7 to 10 houses per acre.  In the center of the neighborhood, Ashburton, the 19th-century country estate of the Gittings family, sits on an acre of land, lending its name and giving 120 acres of its original estate to build the neighborhood.  Ashburton (the neighborhood) captures the architectural styles and suburban house types of the 1920s.  English Tudor, Colonial Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, French Revival and other stylistic details decorate these houses.  The house types range from bungalows, four squares, cottages, ranchers, and Cape Cods.  Character defining elements of the neighborhood range from Tudor-style trim details, stained-glass, highly ornament doors, several typical roof shapes, porch fronts and a variety of clapboard siding, brick, stucco, and cedar shake shingles.  Regular set-backs, building heights, and rear parking with detached and attached garages create a uniform rhythm to the neighborhood.  Ashburton represents a well cared for early 20th century suburban neighborhood.


In 1920 George R. Morris, a well known and prolific developer in Baltimore, purchased 120 acres from the Gittings estate known as Ashburton.  By January of 1924, 270 lots were sold and 124 houses were erected.  By 1928 the majority of houses were built, and by 1952 all but a few lots were improved.  In 1923 Baltimore City implemented its first comprehensive zoning.  In 1931, the City amended the zoning ordinances adding substantial changes to the code.  Proposed amendments to the zoning code would have allowed rowhouse development within the neighborhood’s interior. Ashburton residents fought the amendments, preventing the zoning change, keeping its character.  Throughout the 1960s and early 1970s Ashburton underwent dramatic demographic change from a neighborhood occupied mostly by whites to a majority African American neighborhood.  Many prominent leaders in Baltimore have  lived in Ashburton.