From Year One: News and Views from Baltimore’s “tight little island,” 1972-1973

By Jean Lee Cole

The first issue of the Bolton Hill Bulletin appeared in April 1972, a large tri-fold newsletter that would undergo surprisingly few changes over the next 45 years.

From the start, editor Nancie Verkerke established the Bulletin as a staunch advocate for urban living and chatty proponent of neighborhood values—a much-needed tonic for a community that had weathered decades of transformation dating back to the post-World War II industrial boom. During Nancie’s long tenure as editor of the Bulletin, her vision of Bolton Hill never wavered: it was an embodiment of the best that Baltimore had to offer.

By the late 1960s, the building of I-83 as well as urban renewal had resulted in the demolition of entire blocks of houses, leaving swaths of vacant land east of Mount Royal, along North Ave., and between Mason and Eutaw Streets, from North Ave. all the way down to Dolphin St. The neighborhood had literally embodied its sense of itself as “a tight little island,” as longtime resident Ed Howard described it.

The Mount Royal Improvement Association established the Bulletin to cultivate cohesion within the several thousand occupants of this island, while also promoting it as a tool to bring in new residents. David Maulsby of the 1400 block of Park Ave. was an MRIA board member at the time and remembers the establishment of the Bulletin as a “common-sense step” to strengthen the community. The Bulletin, he said, “made people proud to live in Bolton Hill.”

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