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May 1, 2008

Neighborhood pride


I'm having neighborhood anxiety. I know that a lot is happening restaurant-wise right now on Harford Road. I reported it in yesterday's Table Talk. People in the neighborhood seem to appreciate the publicity; they just don't agree on what the neighborhood is.

I called it Lauraville, but so far I've heard from Marcia, who appreciated the Lauraville recognition but was sorry I left out Koco's Pub (this was a bad oversight on my part; I remembered it after my column went to press) and Zeke's coffee.

Lisa sent me the news about Clementine's opening on Tuesday, not knowing I was going to feature it in Table Talk the next day. But she put it in Greater Lauraville.

Finally Ellen and Jim... 

...corrected me after Table Talk ran, pointing out that all the restaurants I mentioned are in Hamilton.

So far I haven't been able to locate an "official" Hamilton. There is a Hamilton Hills mentioned here, but the graphics editor I consulted tells me that you have to go by the map at the bottom of the page, which is drawn from census data. It refers to the area above Lauraville as Harford Echodale/Perring Parkway.

Now that I think about it, who determines neighborhoods, anyway? The U. S. Census Bureau? South Baltimore is the one that confuses me most. Federal Hill seems to be claiming more and more territory every day.

One good thing is that people in  Lauraville/Greater Lauraville/Harford Echodale/Perring Parkway/Hamilton/Hamilton Hills are a good-natured bunch. No one got angry at me the way the Fells Point folks do when I express amazement at children's menus in the taverns.

To show my gratitude, I'll post another photo of Clementine, this time of the owner's charcuterie. 

(Andre F. Chung/Sun photographer) 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 12:50 PM | | Comments (32)


I always thought that Bmore neighborhoods were arbitrary boundaries and given sometimes cutesy names (Beverly Hills). But then, I'm not a native. I do remember hearing some snobs in Charles Village lamenting the fact that some people claimed to live in that neighborhood but they were ... gasp ... just below 25th Street. As I've mentioned before on the blog, I live in Waverly but I've heard my neighbors refer to it as Better Waverly.

Don't fear, my home state has the city of East Troy but there is no Troy; West Allis, no Allis; West Bend, no Bend.

It would be interesting to locate a published history of Baltimore Neighborhoods ...

Pursuant to my just-sent post, I found this on Wikipedia:

Note that The Block is listed as its own neighborhood - ROFL!

There is also this site:

Piano Rob, I wonder if any of your neighbors lived in Charles Village back when it was called Peabody Heights?

Dahlink - I never lived in CV; just worked there. Until last June I lived for 17 years in MtV ... to which I am looking to return this June. (Any D@Lers know of [or own] a clean 1BR apt in MtV available to rent? It doesn't hurt to ask.)

CHAP has published several volumes of Baltimore neighborhood histories. I remember North Baltimore, Northeast Baltimore, and West Baltimore. There may be more by now. Fun to read and lots of hsitorical photos.

LIVE Baltimore says that there are about 250 neighbourhoods in Baltimore. I've seen mentions of West Federal Hill being west of the stadiums, when clearly that is Pigtown. Before Locust Point was a glimmer in any real estate agent's eye, Pazza Luna said they were in Federal Hill. And everything within swinging distance claims to be Roland Park.

Once upon a time, perhaps at an early City Fair, I found a map which showed every neighborhood association in the City. Every square inch of the City "belonged" to an Association. Maybe someone with better computer skills/more free time/less of a life can find it and answer Today's Big Question.

To clarify, Hamilton Hills used to be known as Harford Echodale/Perring Parkway (HEPP), and it's still called that on some maps. But the association is Hamilton Hills Neighborhood Association, and they are now a part of the Neighborhoods of Greater Lauraville (NOGLI -, which might have caused some confusion. The boundaries are roughly Harford Road and Old Harford Road to the East, Echodale Avenue to the South, Perring Parkway to the West and the Baltimore City line to the North.

Thanks. Now here's a tough one: What if the restaurant is on the other side of Harford Road? Where is it then? EL

Here they are in all their glory:

And yeah, The Block is in the Downtown neighborhood...

I now officially have no life: here's the link to the map of Baltimore neighborhoods. It's a PDF file which can be enlarged to see street names.

neighborhood map

...AND there are 234 on this list:

Sean--great link! Thanks!

And Piano Rob--my apologies. I wasn't reading your post carefully enough (one of those days).

And to all--would you rather live in Pigtown or Washington Village or West Federal Hill or whatever you might want to call it? On this blog, I'm betting the answer is Pigtown! (Where is Voodoo Pork when you need him?)

"Thanks. Now here's a tough one: What if the restaurant is on the other side of Harford Road? Where is it then? EL "


Oops, sorry, actually the other side down there is Waltherson. See, it IS confusing... That's why we don't take offense up here in Northeast Bawlmer - even we can't figure it out!!!

As a new Pigtown resident, I vote for PIGTOWN! If I say Washington Village, people's eyes glaze over. If I say Pigtown, people remember.

And as for West Federal Hill, who are they flipping kidding? There's so much between the real Federal Hill and Pigtown that it's just stupid to even call it that. They totally wipe Sharp Leadenhall off the map.

Dahlink - definitely Pigtown! When I was buying my house a year and 1/2 ago, I looked at several properties there simply because I was so amused by the idea of living in a place called Pigtown.

Can't resist this one. To the residents of most neighborhoods their boundaries are defined by those of their neighborhood or homeowners associations, where one exists. Federal Hill ain't expanding itself. The real estate peddlers have enlarged it because of its reputation as a "hot" neighborhood, thus permitting them to inflate prices. If anyone cares, Federal Hill is bounded by Key Highway on the north, the Inner Harbor on the east, Cross Street on the south and Hanover Street on the west. Even the city planning map has it wrong (though a map it published about 10 years ago had it correct). To the south of FH is the thriving neighborhood of Federal Hill South and below it the booming Riverside neighborhood. SBIC includes the area south of Cross Street and west of
Charles. Never heard of West Federal Hill, but nothing surprises me any longer.

Dahlink: Tried to add this to my previous post but must have run into a word limit or some other technical obstacle. I lived in Charles Village before it was so named. Grace Darin, who lived in the unit block of East 26th Street, then known as the Pastel Block because of its brightly painted fronts, started a neighborhood newsletter that soon defined the neighborhood. Our neighbors to the east described their area either as "Chuckville" or "Lower Guilford."

Federal Hill Jim--"Lower Guilford"--I love that! I've heard the area between Roland Park and Hampden called "Lower Roland Park," but according to the handy map it is actually "Hoes Heights"--maybe they are overdue for a name makeover.

I love the Pastel Block, too.

Please, no more neighbourhood name changing. I live in Patterson Park, which used to be Baltimore-Linwood. When I say I live there, folks assume I live in Canton or some other neighbourhood around the park.

Of course, the realtors probably do call this Canton or Butchers' Hill. Most of the ads I see for Patterson Park are actually in McElwoody Park or even farther north.

Not sure I can complain, though. I was born and raised in a suburb named after a shopping mall.

Sean and bra1nchild - those maps, while interesting, are basically useless to anyone who doesn't know the city. Besides, where are the neighborhood names?

Anyway, thanks to Sean, I now know that I live in Waverly, not Better Waverly. It's just as well - there's far more crime in the better part. That's why I'm moving back to MtV.

The picture of the charcuterie convinced me. I'm going to Clementine.

If you zoom in on the map, the names appear. They're most legible at 75%-100%.

By the way, the Table Talk post did lead to a bit of discussion on the Greater Lauraville listserve as well:

As a poster noted, Lauraville has "Papa Johns, The Pit Stop and the Family Dollar Store."

All my life I thought I was born and raised (till 16) that I lived in Gardenville and that is what the sign said on the corner of Frankford and Belair, but the map
says that I was in Frankford the whole time. What is a girl to do? :)

Better Waverly is actually Worse Waverly

Wait a minnit, Kids! Koco's, Alabama BBQ, Red Canoe, Chameleon and Zeke's are solidly in Lauraville! The Pit Stop and Family Dollar, both at Cold Spring & Harford, are not so much in Lauraville--maybe "north" Lauraville.

Clementine's, Big Bad Wolf's, and Papa John's are in Hamilton.

Elizabeth, I'm curious about "Cameo," mentioned in Table Talk. I grew up in the neighborhood, and in the 50's our local movie house was The Cameo on Harford just north of Moravia. The movie closed eons ago, and for a while Cameo was a bar, then a caterer (since moved way up Belair Rd.). Is this where Cameo will be? I'll keep an eye peeled since I pass it at least once a week.

Yes, although the name may change. Please keep us posted. EL

Dottie - actually, Cold Spring and Harford is central Lauraville, right smack-dab in the middle. Remember, Lauraville runs from Argonne all the way up to Echodale. And technically speaking, by being on the east side of Harford Road, Koco's, Alabama BBQ, Red Canoe, Chameleon and Zeke's are actually in Beverly Hills! If I may quote:

"Lauraville is a historic neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore City, located East of the Herring Run, North of Argonne Drive, West of Harford Road & South of Echodale Avenue."

Further, "Beverly Hills, founded in 1926, is an historic neighborhood in Northeast Baltimore bordered on the Northwest by Harford Road, on the Northeast by Moravia Road, on the Southeast by Harcourt Road, and on the Southwest by Montebello Terrace, Overland Avenue and Weaver Avenue."

Again, they all fall in "Greater Lauraville."

As a former Pigtown resident I knew things were changing. We started hearing "Washington Village" in 1994 when I got ready to sell my house I called it a townhouse in Pigtown and the real estate agent corrected me-- Washington Village. I joked to my husband "If we say Federal Hill West" bet we could get extra money.

Thanks, Sean! I'll be danged--I've learned something on a boring Friday afternoon.

Dottie--it's never boring on this blog space!

Off the subject of food but the article "Lauraville staying true to its history" on April 13th had mistake that was corrected today about Garret Heights Elem. School and their MSA test scores. The neighborhood was not very happy with this error- neither were the teachers and I am one of them!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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