Bolton Hill Notes

Longtime resident, research scientist Althea Wagman dies

Dr. Althea Wagman, who died recently, was a prominent research psychologist who taught at four area universities and an expert on schizophrenia and sleep disorders.  She also was a mother of three who with her psychologist husband, raised a family and was part of civic life in Bolton Hill for four decades.

The Wagmans lived at 1533 Park Ave., next to Park Avenue Pharmacy “where I had my first job,” recalled a daughter, acupuncturist Idalee DiGregorio.  She and her husband acquired her mother’s house and raised children of their own there before moving to Mt. Washington. 

“There was a crazy art scene centered around MICA and my parents became very involved in it,” Ms. DiGregorio said.  They were especially close to local artists Jim and Lois Hennessey and became collectors.  Dr. Wagman was active in Mt. Royal Improvement Association (now BHCA).  They were founding members of Bolton Hill Swim and Tennis and part of a local Democratic organization.  Dr. Wagman wrote and lectured extensively and was an administrator at the National Institute for Mental Health. 

Her Baltimore Sun obituary noted Dr. Wagman’s affection for cigars:  “They both were smokers for most of their lives.”  They took up cigars in the 1980, claiming they were less harmful if not inhaled, their daughter said.  They also had a farm in Pennsylvania where, in retirement, the Wagmans enjoyed gardening and raising animals.  Her husband, William Wagman,  died in 2002.


Recycling pick up seems unlikely for the rest of 2020.

Although it had said back in August that it intended to restore residential recycling pickup by Nov. 1,  the leaderless city Department of Public Works has kicked that ball down the field for at least another six weeks.  On Oct. 27, DPW issued a news release saying that “Out of an abundance of caution, DPW will not resume curbside recycling collections” before Dec. 15, a statement attributed to the agency’s acting director. 

Outgoing Mayor Jack Young fired the last DPW director in 2019 and never got around to replacing him.  In August, as COVID-19 tore through the ranks of DPW on-street workers, residential pickup was suspended, and residents were asked to haul their recycling to one of several recycling centers.  The one nearest to Bolton Hill is the Sisson Street Citizen Drop-Off Center, 2840 Sisson Street.  DPW did not promise to renew residential recycling pick up before the year ends, only to “provide an update on plans to restart curbside recycling collections on Tuesday, Dec. 15.”


BHCA nixes zoning change for building at McMechen Street and Mt. Royal Ave.

Bolton Hill Community Association has served notice that it will oppose an appeal for a zoning change that would enable the new owner of a building at the southeast corner of Mt. Royal and McMechen streets to double the number of allowed apartment units  from three to six.  A virtual zoning appeal hearing is set for Nov. 17.  Writing to the City Zoning Board, BHCA President David Nyweide said the row house does not have enough land to support six units under current zoning requirements and has insufficient off-street parking to meet existing zoning standards.


Strategic planning draft is out for community input

After months of deliberation, BHCA’s strategic planning committee this week distributed widely within the neighborhood a 34-page draft of key topic areas it expects to cover in a final planning document that will help shape community priorities for the coming decade. 

Before the COVID-19 shutdown, committee chair Neal Friedlander had planned to hold one or more communitywide meetings to get input on these topics: community engagement; communications; economic development; education and youth; environmental sustainability; infrastructure; institutional relationships, near-neighborhood relations; parks and gardens, traffic and transportation and zoning.

Feedback is invited and due by Dec. 15.  If you did not receive a copy email


Mayor-elect Scott invites participation in his transition planning

Preparing for his Dec. 9 inauguration as Baltimore’s 52nd mayor, City Council President Brandon Scott has created an elaborate transition team and is inviting other city residents to volunteer and participate in shaping his agenda.

Scott’s transition committees will focus on generating proposals for how to rebuild city government from top to bottom, and ensure functioning, equitable, and efficient operations for all of Baltimore’s residents, his campaign said.  Ten committees have been created around broad subject topics such as Public Health and Safety; Fiscal Preparedness; and Housing and Neighborhood Development.  For further information and to volunteer, click here.


The Bolton Hill Bulletin is produced 10 times a year, lately by Bill Hamilton, Kylie Perrotti and Marci Yankelov, with welcome contributions this month from Chris Kingsley and Tom Delise, among others.  We invite story ideas, contributions and, yes, feedback.  Email us at