Bolton Hill Notes

Bolton Hill historian, educator Frank Shivers dies

Frank R. Shivers Jr., a resident of Bolton Street since 1955 and a chronicler of Baltimore history, died on Oct. 5 after a long period of ill health. He was 96.

Shivers was born in 1925 in New Jersey. He served in World War II, then studied at Yale University, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in English. He met his wife, Lottchen (better known as Lottie), in Cincinnati and the young couple moved to Baltimore in 1951.

As a local historian and author, Shivers’ published work includes Bolton Hill: Baltimore Classic; Maryland Wits and Baltimore Bard; Walking in Baltimore and The Architecture of Baltimore (with Mary Ellen Hayward). He also co-authored a book on Chesapeake Bay. At a neighborhood celebration honoring the novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald last month, Shivers was called out for his successful campaign to create a park named for Fitzgerald near where his family lived.

Shivers taught at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Professional Studies in Business and Education and was named “Teacher of the Year.”  Previously he taught English for a generation at the Friends School. He and a neighbor took the lead in Bolton Hill’s blue plaques program to remember and honor former residents of historic importance. He was the founder of this newsletter, the Bolton Hill Bulletin.

North Avenue gets money, attention from state government

Legislation pushed through in Annapolis by Sen. Antonio Hayes and Del. Marlon Amprey and signed into law in April has led to the creation as of Oct. 1 of a new public authority dedicated to remaking the West North Avenue corridor. (Hayes and Amprey’s shared district includes Bolton Hill.)

The West North Avenue Development Authority, Hayes said, is charged to work in coordination with residents to create a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy for the avenue and its buffer zone. The plan will be targeted at benefiting the residents, housing, neighborhoods, economic development and transportation of both pedestrians and vehicles.

Hayes, the mayor and a plethora of politicians and neighborhood leaders kicked off the project at a Sept. 30 news conference at Coppin State University. Coppin along with MICA are expected to engage and support academic and economic development in the area.  Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford was present. He helped initiate a state grant of $250,000 to get planning underway.

BHCA will be represented on the authority by its president, David Nyweide.

Mayor Brandon Scott said North Avenue and its residents have suffered from disinvestment. “North Avenue has been a window into the city, all that once was Baltimore, all that is wrong about Baltimore, all that can be for Baltimore,” he said.

Hayes said that in 2021 alone some $55 million in public and private funds have been allocated for projects on or nearby West North Avenue. Much of that money is transportation funding under the “North Avenue Rising” project that has led to new traffic lights, bus lanes, bike lanes, enhanced bus stops, roadway re-paving and new sidewalks along the avenue. Construction is also expected to start early in the new year on Madison North, a market-rate housing and retail center on the north side of North Avenue.

BHCA membership approves new bylaws

In a special Zoom remote membership meeting last month, the membership of BHCA voted to adopt a new set of bylaws to serve the organization. Highlights of the new bylaws are here. The new bylaws replace those of the now defunct Mount Royal Improvement Association, BHCA’s predecessor organization from the 1920s.  The name of the organization was changed in 2018 to disassociate today’s Bolton Hill from MRIA’s segregationist roots and have the name of the community organization directly related to the neighborhood.

Despite the noise, crime in Bolton Hill remains relatively low

Although the local Fox TV station likes to harp on crime in the city and the police scanner app Citizen can make us all feel under siege, police statistics compiled by the BHCA safety committee chairman this month show reported crimes, and especially crimes of violence, to be low in Bolton Hill.

Notwithstanding the increased incidence of homicides and shooting incidents citywide and in Baltimore County, in our neighborhood there have been only eight reported incidents of violent crime for the year  through Sept. 25, according to data assembled by James Prost. Those incidents were categorized as aggravated assaults (7, compared to 11 in a comparable period last year) and robbery (1 compared to 7 in 2020). There were no shootings or homicides recorded in Bolton Hill either year, BPD data shows. There have been six auto thefts compared to eight last year.

The overwhelming majority of crimes in the neighborhood are so-called property crimes, primarily reported package “porch piracies” and thefts of items left in yards, cars, garages and storage sheds. There were 66 property crimes in Bolton Hill this year, up from 42 in a comparable period in 2020.

“Some of these incidents can be averted by having UPS and FedEx packages delivered to nearby stores and other designated spots. Locked cars, garages and storage buildings are less likely to be entered than if left unlocked. BPD says porch lights left on at night reduce the likelihood of an intruder entering a building. Police ask that all incidents be reported to 911. Want more detail or other information? Contact Jim Prost at safety@boltonhillmd.org.

Unity Hall is hiring neighborhood construction workers

Know someone who lives nearby and  has construction skills or wants to break into that industry?  Unity Hall at 1505 Eutaw Place is hiring and has pledged preferences to workers living in and around central west Baltimore. 

Redevelopment of the 30,000 square-foot former union headquarters, built in 1964 and mostly vacant for more than a decade, has begun and is expected to continue through the spring 2022. Mayor Brandon Scott, city council member Eric Costello and a range of community and civic leaders were on hand for the groundbreaking in September. 

Once complete, Unity Hall is intended to break down barriers that have traditionally divided the community and to contribute to  a healthy neighborhood by providing resources and a venue for creativity. It will house non-profit organizations and a community kitchen with a job training component. For job information stop by the site or email David Hansen (hansendavid743@gmail.com), Ateira Griffin (atiera.griffin@bond.org) or Nabeehah Azeez (nabeehah.azeez@noboundariescoalition.com).

 About The Bulletin. . . .

The Bulletin publishes monthly except in the summer and invites your feedback, suggestions and submissions.  Send them to bulletin@boltonhillmd.org.  This month we kick off a Bolton Hill “Photo of the Month” by neighborhood photographer Zhee Chatmon.  Laura McConnell is our volunteer designer.  Contributors for this issue, among others, are Tom Delise, Paula Jackson, Grey Maggiano, Ellen Molino, Jim Prost and Samantha Ritter.  I own the errors and omissions.

– Bill Hamilton

Linden Park

Fresh At The Avenue

Mr Rooter