Bolton Hill Notes

John Kyle, Ben Smith leaving BHCA board; nominees sought

After 40 years of living and activism in Bolton Hill, John Kyle and his husband Peter Satten are moving out of their Park Avenue townhouse and down-sizing to a smaller residence in north Roland Park. Kyle has served on BHCA’s board and was president of the predecessor organization Mt. Royal Improvement Association. He also was instrumental in coordinating a coalition of several neighborhood groups, the State Center Neighborhood Alliance, hoping to see the state office site redeveloped into a constructive addition to the area.

Political consultant Ben Smith, active in the 2022 gubernatorial campaign, also has resigned. BHCA’s board nominating committee is tasked with filling vacancies. If you wish to serve or to nominate a neighbor, please send your suggestions to

Memorial’s Friendship dinner seeks financial support for Afghan relief

The people of Afghanistan need help. Many will soon be our neighbors and many more are still trying to get out of Afghanistan. Memorial Episcopal Church is asking you to help by participating in a “Friendsgiving” dinner celebration this Wednesday, Nov. 17, or by contributing in some other way. Details for the event and registration are here.

All proceeds will go to the Memorial Afghan Relief Fund to support the resettlement of Afghan refugees in Baltimore, the placement of Afghan legal scholars around the country, and the continued evacuation of refugees from Afghanistan. One can participate in the program without ordering dinner. Check the BHCA Facebook page for last-minute details.

West Lanvale Street neighbors replanting trees

Neighbors on the 100 block of W. Lanvale Street have come together to restore their tree canopy. Neighborhood lore is that about 40 years ago, a termite nest that ran down the middle of the street was successfully treated using chlordane. Unfortunately, the pesticide (banned in 1988) also killed the block’s trees.

The plan is to plant 10 new trees, probably Princeton elms (Ulmus americana ‘Princeton’) and if funds allow, expand 9 tree wells. The Lanvale tree project is co-chaired by Paul Pitman and John Leith-Tetrault, who are the project representatives, with BHCA serving as the fiscal sponsor.

The committee made a well-received presentation to the November BHCA meeting. Midtown Community Benefits Association has offered to provide trees at no cost. Private contractors have submitted bids to cut new and expand existing tree wells. The city’s forester must approve the location of the trees before a permit is obtained to allow disturbing the sidewalk.

Actual tree planting will not occur until the spring. The cost is estimated at $4,000. Block residents are contributing to defray this cost, and the greening committee is approaching MICA, the Bolton Hill Garden Club and BHCA for donations. Individual donations are welcome by going to the donations page of the BHCA website and selecting “Lanvale Trees” in the drop-down menu or by check payable to BHCA and dropped off to John Leith-Tetrault at 128 W. Lanvale. 

Hola! Chatting about the Spanish conversation club in Bolton Hill

A medical student who loves dancing salsa and bachata; a retired MICA employee who once lived in Spain; a musician who played for an orchestra in Venezuela: these are just some of the varied members of the Baltimore Spanish Language Club, a volunteer group organized by Bolton Hill resident Helen Yuen.

The club is free to join and is open to all levels of Spanish speakers, from beginner to native. “We meet informally every month to chat in Spanish and to explore some of the great offerings of Latinx culture right here in Baltimore,” Yuen explains. During the pandemic, the conversation group met virtually, but they’re now starting to gather in person again.

They’ve met around the neighborhood — at the picnic tables at Rutter’s Mill Park and on the patio of Red Emma’s Bookstore and Cafe. November’s meeting explored the Walters Art Museum exhibit “Translations and Transitions / Traducciones y Transiciones: A Celebration of Mexican and Central American Independence (1821–2021).” The show overlapped with Day of the Dead, a joyful occasion in Latin America to honor the memories of loved ones. Club members could contribute to the community altar at the museum, designed by Baltimore artist Edgar Reyes. 

With the new U.S. Census showing that the city’s Hispanic population doubled from 4% to 8% since 2010, it’s a chance to connect culturally with a fast-growing community. Yuen hopes to expand the meetings to include art workshops with local Latinx artisans, such as making piñatas, or talks with Latin American chefs from Baltimore restaurants.  To join the group, go to, or follow them on Eventbrite. You can also watch for coming meetings on the BHCA Facebook page.  

Once Sutton Place, now it’s “ReNEW Mt. Vernon”

One of Bolton Hill’s tallest buildings has changed names and, in doing so, shifted neighborhood loyalties, or so it might seem.

Sutton Place, built at 1111 Park Avenue in 1963 with some 300 luxury apartment units, is no more. Now renamed ReNEW Mt. Vernon, it’s still the same 16-story, 277,000-sq ft building that has housed generations of Bolton Hill residents. Vacant units today are available from $1,000 – $2,000 a month rent.

Located on Bolton Hill’s southern border, the building is separated from Baltimore’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood by the area called Midtown Belvedere. And it’s 56 miles from the “real” Mt. Vernon, the Virginia plantation on the banks of the Potomac River that was home to George and Martha Washington.

It’s not clear why the new owners of the former Sutton Place changed the name. Perhaps they were inspired by George Washington’s ancestors, who acquired their property in 1674, when it was known as Little Hunting Creek Plantation. Washington’s half-brother inherited it and renamed it after Vice Admiral Edward Vernon, under whom he served in wars against the Spanish.

On the ReNEW Mt. Vernon website, the new managers are clear that their building is “located in the desirable Bolton Hill neighborhood.” According to realtor Marci Yankelov, who lives there, there are small ground-level offices available and a penthouse that once housed a radio station may be available for a commercial tenant.

 About The Bulletin. . . .

The Bulletin publishes monthly except in the summer and invites your feedback, suggestions and submissions. Send them to Laura McConnell is our volunteer designer. Contributors for this issue, among others, are Margaret Carruthers, Steve Howard, Paula Jackson, John Leith-Tetrault, Grey Maggiano, Jim Prost, Marci Yankelov and Helen Yuen. I own the errors and omissions.

– Bill Hamilton