The Riverside Historic District is located in southwest Baltimore, between Federal Hill and Locust Point. The district is bound to the north by Fort Avenue and West Street, to the south and west by the B&O Railroad tracks, and to the east by Webster, Heath, Boyle and Lawrence Streets. The neighborhood served as an important intermediary between the water and rail transportation in the city. When the B&O railroad constructed a track to bring goods from their deepwater port at Locust Point to Camden Station, the line was run through the area that is now Riverside. As a result, worker housing was constructed in the area as early as 1850 at the southern end of Light Street; however, the building boomed following the Civil War, as rail workers, storekeepers, and managers all looked for housing in the growing industrial hub. In the last two decades of the 19th century, three-story, Italianate houses were constructed along main arteries such as Fort Avenue, Light, Hanover and Charles Streets, while more modest two-story worker housing was constructed along the narrower, mid-block streets. As more industries settled in the area in the early 20th century, more upscale neoclassical homes were constructed north and east of Riverside Park. The mixture of worker and middle class housing found within the Riverside Historic District is typical of many turn-of-the-century neighborhoods in Baltimore; however, the location of Riverside, between ports, rail and played an important role in the early development of this neighborhood.
Statement Of Significance
The Riverside Historic District is significant for its association with the growth of industry and rail and water transportation in the second half of the 19th century, which spurred local residential development into the early 20th century. Situated between the shipping port at Locust Point and the train depot at Camden Station, Riverside became an ideal place for the B&O to develop a rail line that could bring passengers and goods from the water to their destination on land. With easy access to both rail and water transportation along with the availability of a variety of jobs, major industries and housing developers quickly began building to take advantage of the location. As immigrants came through the area from Locust Point, many settled in the neighborhood and established institutions which are still present today. While the earliest housing was aimed at the working class, after the Civil War a variety of housing was constructed for the emerging middle class. The neighborhood contains modest and upscale neoclassical and Italianate homes, as well as a large public park, all dating to the second half of the 19th century and the early 20th century. The confluence of many events, including the development of rail and water transportation, and commercial industry was essential in the growth and success of the Riverside neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.