About the Neighborhood

National Historic District

Tuscany-Canterbury

National Register of Historic Places, 2002

The Tuscany-Canterbury Neighborhood was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. It is an excellent example of a valuable array of preserved historic resources from the early 20th century and reflects the transformation from rural to suburban, and now urban, environment. Evidence of this pattern of transformation which occurred in many major cities along the eastern seaboard is especially well preserved in Tuscany-Canterbury. A circa 1892 Victorian cottage survives to reflect the area’s rural origins.

Other resources reflective of suburban trends began to be added in stages from as early as 1911, including row houses, detached houses, and apartment buildings. The district derives additional significance under Criterion C for the high quality of its architecture, the work of many of Baltimore’s most prominent and accomplished designers of the period. The period of significance extends from 1892, the date of the earliest resource in the district, to 1940, by which date the development of the district was substantially complete.

Historic Properties

The following properties are of particular historical significance and have been placed on the National Registry of Historic Places or the Baltimore City Commission of Historic And Architectural Preservation (CHAP) Special Protection & Landmark List.

Stone exterior of Castalia house
Castaila, 200 Tuscany Rd.
Special Protection & Landmark List, 2008

Castalia

Prominent Baltimore architect Francis Hall Fowler was the architect of this Italian villa-inspired house built for the first headmaster of Calvert School, Virgil Hillyer, in 1929. In 2006, the Calvert School reacquired Castalia and has preserved it for school-related use. Castalia was added to the city’s historic landmark list in 2008, thanks to the efforts of the Tuscany- Canterbury Neighborhood Association and Baltimore Heritage.
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exterior of multistory building
Highfield House, 4000 N. Charles St.
National Register of Historic Places, 2007

Highfield House

The Highfield House, one of two buildings designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is an outstanding example of International Style architecture. The National Park Service listed the Highfield House to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Only 43 years old at the time, the Highfield House defied the convention of only listing buildings older than 50 years. This recognition marks the significance of the building to the history of modernism in Baltimore.

Highfield House opened as an apartment building in 1964. The main residential floors are 20 feet above the base and 36 columns frame an enclosed lobby and two equally sized areas of sheltered terrace to the north and south. The windows are made of dark gray tinted glass. Below each window is a brick panel. The use of brick decoration can also be seen in Mies’s buildings at IIT.
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Black and white image of Ascot House prior to being demolished
Ascot House, 102 W 39th St.
Historical photo

Ascot House

The Ascot House, originally the Shiff House, was the first residence designed by Laurence Hall Fowler, one of Baltimore’s outstanding and most prolific architects of the early twentieth century.

Fowler was a master of synthesizing diverse architectural styles. His designs range from the stark purity of Classical architecture, as in the War Memorial, to the electric asymmetrical massing of the Ascot House. The house further depicts Fowler’s knowledge of contemporary English domestic architecture, embellished here, with Georgian and Jacobethan details. After a prolonged court battle, the Ascot House was demolished in 1981 for a parking lot. Read the full court ruling

Source: Baltimore City Website

black and white historical photo fo Clyde Nelson Friz

Clyde Nelson Friz: An Architect of Tuscany-Canterbury

Architect Clyde Nelson Friz may be known for the Beaux Arts designs of his later works—the Pratt Library Central Branch and The Scottish Rite Temple (both begun in 1928)—but when he arrived in Baltimore right before the turn of the century, he was already a self-made man. He found plenty of demand for his trade after Baltimore’s Great Fire of 1904 and the burgeoning residential growth of the city as it pushed into the surrounding farmlands. One such area was the Tuscany-Canterbury neighborhood—a 90-acre residential treasure, just north of Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus.

Friz was deeply involved in helping to form the character of the neighborhood, where he lived.  He designed its architecture over several decades (between the 1910s and the 1930s), drawing from such Revival styles as Half-Timbered Tudor, Italian Renaissance, and the Mediterranean. Few may know of these tucked away projects today, but at the time, Friz received numerous accolades through national architectural publications.

These are some of the buildings that Friz designed in Tuscany-Canterbury:

100 W 39th Street Building today contains 15 rental units: four one bedroom and eleven two bedroom units.

Canterbury Hall (Constructed in 1912)

The area to north of the original Merryman’s Lane (now 39th Street) was redeveloped by the University Parkway Company (associated with the Roland Park Company).  The University Parkway Company sold the lot off of 39th Street Boulevard to the Fireproof Apartment Company to develop a three-story apartment house costing $30K at that time.  Originally called “Haddan Hall,” it was seen as the first of its kind in the city, a suburban apartment house in a garden setting.  The three-story building is composed of brick with stone and terra cotta trimmings on the first floor, and stucco and timber accents on the upper floors in a late Tudor Gothic style.  Several units had maids’ quarters.  Each apartment is separated by 18” fireproof walls and still retains historic elements, such as hardwood floors, glass doorknobs, period lighting, and gas fireplaces with ornamental mantels. 

(Information assembled by Jillian Storms, AIA for Baltimore Heritage Inc. Walking Tour in May 2019) 

221 Stony Run Lane Building contains (14) co-op units that are one, two, and three bedroom units.

The Lombardy (Constructed in 1914)

In 1913, Friz purchased an irregular tract of land from the University Parkway Company for $12k to create a series of apartment buildings.  The first, The Lombardy, was designed in an Italian Renaissance style of brick and terra cotta for $55K in 1914.  It contained a supervisor and maid quarters on the top floor.  In 1917, as cars gained popularity, he built a 10 story garage to its north to accommodate those of the Lombardy and Tuscany.  Fris’ family lived in the first floor apartment. 

(Information assembled by Jillian Storms, AIA for Baltimore Heritage Inc. Walking Tour in May 2019)

The Tuscany (Constructed in 1918)

 

The Tuscany was the second apartment designed in an Italian Renaissance style of brick and terracotta for $55K.  It contained maid and servants quarters primarily in the basement.  To fit in covered parking, he built a one-story esplanade in front that allowed residents to enter the building at the middle level.  Friz and his family lived in a two-story apartment off the garden.  He sold the apartment to the Tuscany Lombardy Community Cooperative in 1920 for approximately $500 (close to $6 million in today’s dollars). 

(Information assembled by Jillian Storms, AIA for Baltimore Heritage Inc. Walking Tour in May 2019) 

3800 N. Charles St.

The Scottish Rite Temple (Constructed in 1930)

The Scottish Rite of Freemasons began construction of the temple building in 1930, and the building opened in 1932. Renowned architect John Russell Pope and Clyde Nelson Friz (and Scottish Rite Mason) designed the structure which is one the finest examples of the Beaux Arts Classicism style in its use of decorative elements, physical massing, and site orientation.

Learn more on the Baltimore Heritage website or the Baltimore City CHAP website.

230 Stony Run Lane Building contains (34) Condo units that are two and three bedrooms.

The Gardens of Guilford, 1922