Bancroft Park CHAP Historic District

  • Baltimore City Historic District Ordinance 168 - 03/01/1993

Description

Bancroft Park Historic District

Bancroft Park is the first entirely 20th century neighborhood in Baltimore to receive local historic district status. The district is located on Bancroft Road, and a portion of Wirt Avenue, between Park Heights Avenue and Cross Country Boulevard in northwest Baltimore. The 30 substantial residences found here rest on large lots that face a curving, wide, tree-lined street. Developed by the Bancroft Park Company (which was created in February 1906), the appearance of the community reflects the 1907 plan of the Olmstead Brothers who laid out the development sites. As a planned community, Bancroft Park had deed restrictions which required that only one residence be placed on a lot, that the house constructed on the lot cost at least $5,000, and that it be set back fifty feet from the road. The location, plan, and color of the houses also had to be approved by the Bancroft Park Company. A diverse but compatible grouping of homes were constructed in Bancroft Park between 1906 and the late 1920s.

Significance

Until the mid-19th century, all city workers lived within close proximity of their place of employment. The wealthy may have had a country villa as a temporary retreat during the summer, but most could not afford this. The development of the suburbs, however, reversed this trend. 1890-1930 in America saw an unprecedented growth of houses, most of which were built in the suburbs. The most successful suburban development around Baltimore (at least in reputation) was Roland Park, begun in 1891. The success of Roland Park spurred many imitators, including Bancroft Park, which tried to follow the Roland Park formula.

The strength of Bancroft Park as an early planned suburban development is its variety of architectural styles from 1890-1930. The styles featured in this district include Colonial Revival (3406, 3411 and 3505 Bancroft Road), Four-Square (usually with Colonial Revival details, 3500 Bancroft Road), Tudor Revival 3320 Bancroft Road), Spanish Eclectic (3311 Bancroft Road), French Eclectic (both Symmetrical, 3401 Bancroft Road and Towered 3213 Bancroft Road), and Modern (3305 Bancroft Road). The Bancroft Park historic district exemplifies early 20th century neighborhood development in Baltimore City. It includes homes of the noted architectural styles of the period and a planned landscape setting designed by the influential Olmstead Brothers.