Did you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald and Woodrow Wilson once lived in Bolton Hill?
The residential enclave of Bolton Hill rivals Boston’s Beacon Hill and New York’s Brooklyn Heights as a neighborhood attracting some of the city’s most distinguished residents throughout its 150 years.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, longtime Bolton Hill resident Frank R. Shivers, Jr. led an effort to highlight these famous residents with building plaques, modeled on ones that have adorned the city of London since 1867. Round and blue, these plaques note that a noteworthy person lived or worked in that building.
Like London’s, Bolton Hill’s blue plaques honor figures of national standing who at one time lived in our special neighborhood. Renowned physicians, educators, writers, editors, art collectors, authors, researchers, philanthropists, and more have chosen to make Bolton Hill their home.
In order to qualify for a Blue Plaque, the individual who lived in the house must have made a significant contribution to their field and community extending beyond the neighborhood itself. In addition, the nominee must either be deceased or one hundred years of age or older.
The original set of 22 plaques was installed in 2003. By 2012, interest in a second round of Blue Plaques had developed, and new nominations were requested. However, the process languished for several years until then MRIA president Steve Howard asked Neal Friedlander to take over the committee in 2016.
Neal’s committee included Betsy Nix, a historian at the University of Baltimore, and neighbors Barbara Blumberg, Kristine Smets, Steve Ruckman, and Michael Collins. The group asked for and received several new nominations to add to the ones already in the files from the 2012 effort.
The group divided up the names and conducted research before voting to approve the final list. Most of the nominations were accepted, although a few were not.
Then came the process of confirming if the building owner actually wanted a plaque installed, as some nominees had been suggested by people who did not live at the property where the nominees had resided. Since some of the properties were owned by corporations, Michael Collins undertook the added step of reviewing tax records to contact those owners.
After obtaining approvals, Neal contacted the original fabricator, who had fortunately retained the earlier templates. Finally, Neal and Michael drafted each plaque’s language and had it reviewed by the homeowners.
Here are the names of the historic residents and their addresses for the 13 new Blue Plaques which the committee hopes to install in June.
Find out more about these historic residents and preview what you’ll see on the plaques. Blue Plaque Citations