Posts tagged alley
Alley Housing

The other week, I was walking to the grocery store -- a little over a mile, by alley as much as possible. Alley-walking is one of my favored pastimes. I can forage for building material, avoid cars, and get a little exercise. 

I came across this house, 3815 Crowther Street, tucked at the end of a dusty gravel no-mans land between Hickory to the east and Falls to the west, hemmed in on all sides by alleys (though I guess one of them is technically a street.) It faces nothing, with an abrupt front only made discernible by the slope of the roof. For the last two years I've been living in this neighborhood, I passed the house dozens of times -- windowless, unpointed brick standing like a little kid's bad dream.. It struck me as a great fixer upper --  I'll get in cheap, strip it down clean, whitewash everything, studio downstairs, living space above -- but the location was unusual.

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Alley Walkin' III

I moved to Baltimore six months ago; time has blurred by in a slurry of work, friends, family, design projects old and new. As previously chronicled, I settled on the banks of the Jones Falls, on the edge of Hampden-Woodberry. I live in, and am surrounded by, renovated textile mills, once responsible for 80% of the world's supply of cotton duck. This rough canvas was used primarily for sailcloth and military equipment. 100 years of booming manufacturing brought in substantial numbers of sold, blue-collar jobs, supporting the independent community of Hampden until it was annexed by the city of Baltimore in 1887.

Hampden is situated at the center of present-day Baltimore, but due to quirks of geography it can seem isolated. It is cut off from the west by both the Jones Falls itself and the Jones Falls Expressway; hemmed in on the north by a series of dead-end streets and Druid Hill Park; and peters out to the south into Wyman Park and an industrial maze of one-ways. These factors contribute to Hampden's greater sense of insularity, relatively low crime, stable property values, and overwhelming whiteness in a majority black city

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