About the Neighborhood

4300 N. Charles St. Garden Apartments

4300 Garden Apartments

A group of garden apartments designed to appeal to retired people, or others who did not want the responsibility of ownership was built between 1965 and 1967. The ninety-one units in eleven buildings were in a secluded area surrounded by trees adjacent to Oak Place.  The Calvert School demolished these apartments and built a middle school.

 Trying to save the apartments on N. Charles St.   Baltimore Sun  Dec 13, 2000 at 12:00 am

FOR 14 YEARS, my wife and I have been living at the apartment complex at 4300 N. Charles St. in Baltimore’s Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood.

Our apartment overlooks one of the athletic fields that already belongs to the Calvert School. We have enjoyed watching the children play and have been glad to have the school as our neighbor.

We were stunned, therefore, when we received a letter recently informing us that, rather than having us and the other 4300 residents as neighbors, the Calvert School preferred to enjoy the convenience of additional athletic fields. They planned to tear down these buildings that have been our homes.

This decision by the school has caused considerable panic among the 130 residents of this apartment complex, particularly the more than 70 percent who are senior citizens.

The children of some of our residents have been trying to ease the anxieties of their aging parents by frantically searching for a new home for them before they are confronted with the hard fact that these apartments will be demolished. But our younger residents, a number of whom are newly married couples, with one of them in college, also share our frustration as they are faced with the task of finding good apartments in which they can continue to enjoy their life together.

When we first moved here, our oldest daughter was living with us so she could complete her nurse’s training. The large rooms, with an unusual amount of closet space, helped make these apartments a nice home for us. We have also appreciated the ample parking space without the additional cost that high-rise apartments require. It would be a crime to allow the wrecking ball to destroy these 45-year-old buildings, which are in tip-top condition.

A blessing that has resulted from the effort to persuade the Calvert School to reverse it plans to destroy these buildings is that it has brought us residents together to oppose this action.

Apartment dwellers don’t always get to know their neighbors. But in our efforts together, we have discovered that we are a community of retired school teachers, bankers, lawyers, doctors, clergy, social workers, artists, engineers, authors, students and others — a community rich with talents and skills. Some of our residents who have recently returned to the city are discovering anew what it is that makes the city such an exciting place to live.

It would be a genuine tragedy for Baltimore to lose these people, their talents — and their taxes — because they were forced to find good apartments no longer available in the city.

Some of our critics identify us as selfish, privileged, wealthy folks, which shows their lack of knowledge about the makeup of our little community. Regarding the accusation about being selfish, the fact that the acreage of the Calvert School would more than double with the purchase of 4300 strongly suggests that the shoe of selfishness could more appropriately fit other feet than ours.

With regard to being privileged and wealthy, it’s unlikely that any of us are more so than the majority of those families who send their children to Calvert.

Most of us, some of whom are retired professionals, live only on pensions and Social Security.

I am a retired clergy person who has devoted most of my ministry to struggling city churches because I saw the city as people — all kinds of people — and I believed it was such people I was called to serve. I continue to love the city. As I have reached my 80th year, I am increasingly aware that my days of a happy life in comparatively good health will not go on forever. At the same time, I believe the life that I, my wife and the other seniors who live here have left is still of more worth than the Calvert School seems to appreciate.

And so we have all joined together, young and old, upper and not-so-upper class, to picket the school. One of our residents, a former student of Calvert, now a senior citizen confined to a wheelchair, has been with us on the picket line.

Some of the parents of the Calvert students have expressed the concern that, as we stand with our picket signs at the school’s entrance as the children are dropped off and picked up, we are putting the children through a painful experience. It is not our intention to cause hurt. The actual effect we’ve seen, as we picketers have waved and smiled at the children, is that, though they may be a bit confused by the unusual activity, they often wave and smile back.

But could this be the more important effect of our protest? Could it be that the children are learning a lesson that the Calvert School, and every school, ought to be eager to teach children early on?

When people in this world experience the arbitrary use of power that is insensitive and unjust, they will try desperately to find some means to right the injustice.

Today’s writer: John Mote is a retired United Methodist minister who has lived in Baltimore for 30 years. Since his retirement 14 years ago, he has worked part-time with several churches in Baltimore. He was raised in seven Indian boarding schools throughout the West and graduated from Western Maryland College and Duke Divinity School.

Dragging students into Calvert School dispute was…  Baltimore Sun. May 17, 2001 at 12:00 am


Dragging students into Calvert School dispute was wrong.  With its May 9 editorial cartoon, The Sun put the children who attend the Calvert School front and center in the controversy surrounding the school’s acquisition of the apartments at 4300 N. Charles St.

The Sun continues to be a party to this. I resent the intimidation, and now slander, of my children.They are not at all as the cartoon portrayed them.

Douglas Comer, Baltimore

What was the purpose of dragging Calvert School students into the property dispute between the school and a group of renters in the May 9 editorial cartoon?

Like the tenants of 4300 N. Charles St. who targeted the children with “Stop Calvert” signs as they entered and exited school each day for five months, The Sun’s offensive, mean-spirited and misguided portrayal of Calvert students illustrates the lack of substance in making the school the bad guy in what is really an issue of unhappy tenants.

The Calvert School offered to help the tenants find new places to live. Instead of accepting this offer, a group of tenants used their influence to try to make the school look as if it were throwing poor and elderly people out on the street.

I believe The Sun’s cartoonist got it backward; it’s the little old man in the cartoon who should be saying: “Money Talks — Tenants Walk!”

Karen McGee, Baltimore