About the Neighborhood

History 1876

1876 Early Transportation

  • Forrest Avenue became Charles Street early in the century.
  • Charles Street Avenue and Merryman’s Lane had a tollgate at the intersection from 1854 until 1906.
  • Melrose Avenue, now Canterbury Road
  • Mallory Lane, now Highfield Road
  • Sixth Avenue, now 39th Street

Charles St. and its Connections

Charles Street had modest beginnings and is one of Baltimore’s oldest roads. Lore has it that it follows a Susquehannock Indian Trail.  I less romantic view is that Charles Street followed an old wagon path.  Known as Forrest Street when “Baltimore Town” was laid out in 1730, it led north from the harbor “toward and through woodlands and farms: to the great forest that still surrounded the fledgling city.

Sometime in the ensuing three or four decades, Forrest Street became Charles Street Avenue.  The street grew with the city, extending north of Merryman’s Lane by 1854 and was paved with cobblestones, wooden blocks, granite blocks, and asphalt blocks until 1920’s when smooth asphalt paving covered the road.  Trolley tracks were installed in 1871 in the downtown sections.

As early as 1804, Baltimore constructed toll roads that connected the interior of the country to the harbor and promoted transportation and economic growth.  In 1858 a toll gate was installed at the corner of Charles and Merryman’s Lane despite the protest of the property owners on the avenue.  The impassioned protests failed and the four and one-half mile toll road from 24th to Powder Mill Road (now Bellona Avenue) opened to the delight of many.  The toll gate operated until 1906.