Baltimore Row

If you're ever on West Peachtree where the interstates come in just south of North Ave there's a short little street with a guard house called Baltimore Pl. Now there's only a couple of buildings but here's how the WPA guide to Atlanta described it in 1942:

Baltimore Place between West Peachtree and Spring Sts., is a row of brick houses which, occupied as residences by fashionable society during the eighties and nineties, has recently become a miniature Greenwich Village for Atlanta artists and writers. The three-story dwellings were erected in 1885 by a Baltimore investment corporation known variously as the Baltimore Land Company and the Atlanta Land and Annuity Company. According to the old Baltimore real estate system, the land was leased from its original owner for 99 years and houses sold for the duration of the lease. Construction followed the Baltimore pattern of joining separate units in one continuous front set flush with the sidewalk.

Although the carved white cornice extending across the joined facades gives the impression of a single building, the dwellings are actually separate, with 18 inches of air space between the brick walls. The uniformity of the stoops and deeply recessed entrances is relieved somewhat by minor variations: some of the stoops have stone steps and others have brick steps with iron railings; some of the glass transom lights above the doors are rectangular, while others are fan-shaped. Grilles protect some of the basement windows, and the ironwork is repeated in a second-floor balcony that runs the width of several of the middle houses.

Early in the 1880's commerce had broken into the formerly desirable residential sections around Capitol Square, causing many of Atlanta's leading families to move farther north to Peachtree and its side streets. Some of them, attracted by the trim, compact dwellings of a type so new to the city, established themselves on Baltimore Block and made it a fashionable neighborhood.

Each house was occupied by only one family; the first floor was taken up by a dining room and a large and a small living room, while the second and third floors each had two large bedrooms, adjoining dressing rooms, and a large apartment used either for storage or by the seamstress on her biennial visits to deck out the ladies of the household. Following the plan of English town houses, the kitchen was in the basement, with back stairs leading up to the dining room. A system of central heating, one of the first in the city, was effected by placing a Baltimore heater in each fireplace on the lower floor with vents running to the rooms above. The plan for each house was identical except for "pairing off" by opposite arrangements of hallways and fireplaces.

Into the new century this row remained the habitat of the leisurely and elegant generation which had made it popular. Every afternoon of pleasant weather smart carriages clattered over the stone blocks of this street, for it had one of the first cobblestone pavements in the town. So arresting was this line of Georgian facades that Atlanta showed it to visitors as one of the leading sights.

But, as the tw