Throwback Thursday, Rowhouse Edition

See the source image


From the Maryland Historical Trust a blurry picture of a Baltimore rowhouse block. We didn’t call them townhouses in those days.

From the time I was 2 until I was 25 I lived in a Baltimore rowhouse. It is highly doubtful I will ever call another place my home for as long. Counting from the major road at the “head” of our street, our house was the 37th of 38 houses on our side of the block. The block was “split” in two with about 20 or so houses (24?) in one group and the rest, including our house, in the second group. (As a comparison, our current neighborhood only has 37 homes in total.)

Even now, sometimes when I dream of being home it is this house that appears. Rowhouses still exist in droves in Baltimore and in other eastern cities, but for me rowhouses are a throwback to a different and much simpler time. I suppose that someone in my family might be in possession of photos of our house and that neighborhood, but I don’t seem to have any, hence the appearance of the “borrowed” photo.


Speaking of Maryland, on this day in 1952 the Chesapeake Bay Bridge opened. The original bridge, at 4.3 miles in length, was the world’s longest continuous over-water steel structure. A parallel span opened in 1973. From Wikipedia a small picture of the two spans:


Chesapeake Bay Bridge viewed from Sandy Point State Park.jpg


From the Wikipedia article:


“The bridge is officially named the Gov. William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge after William Preston Lane Jr. who, as the 52nd Governor of Maryland, initiated its construction in the late 1940s finally after decades of political indecision and public controversy.”


Despite being born and raised in Maryland, I have not driven across the bridge that often. The bridge links the “eastern” and “western” shores of the Delmarva Peninsula, with the beach community of Ocean City, Maryland and the Delaware beach communities being on the eastern side. I am not a beach person; Baltimore is west of the Chesapeake Bay.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is part of US Routes 50 and 301 and has led to the growth of towns on the eastern shore. Queen Anne’s County, Maryland is on the eastern shore (and at the eastern terminus of the bridge), but is now considered part of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area by the Census Bureau. The county population increased from about 15,000 in 1950 to almost 34,000 in 1990 and nearly 48,000 in 2010.

Our future home will not be in a place in close proximity to large bodies of water that require enormous bridges. Maybe my wonderful wife and I should take a drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge before we move.






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12 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday, Rowhouse Edition

  1. Go to Zillow, put in your old address, and you should be able to get a picture of your old place.
    It’s funny, I never considered the house of my teens a “rowhouse”. With a front yard, a backyard, and living across from a park with hills and baseball fields, it was an oasis in contrast to where we lived when I was first born.
    Re the Bay Bridge, I am not a bridge guy, but a good friend had a wonderful property on the other side of the bridge so I had to go across it to visit. I also have to go to Norfolk/Virginia Beach for work, which requires crossing another bridge, and going to HQ crossing the Delaware Memorial Bridge. My dislike of bridges arises from going across the Lake Ponchatrain bridge as a twelve year old; it is a pontoon bridge with NO side rails.
    I have a feeling that soon, you’ll be visiting the Eastern Shore just before your move. After you do, go and take a picture of your old house to put up in your Arizona abode.


    1. Thanks, sir. About 5 minutes after I published the post I thought about going to Evil Empire Earth (aka Google Earth) and getting a picture, but I don’t want to use them for anything. Zillow is a good alternative.

      Your observation about not considering your house as a “rowhouse” is interesting and is an example, in my opinion, of the power of perspective and of frame of reference. Our friend GM probably didn’t consider his house to be large although it was huge by our standards.


  2. I couldn’t live in a row house like that. Perhaps if I had lived in something like that as a child I could, but not after having been brought up in rural areas. My one attempt at living in a city in my late teens (why yes, a woman WAS involved) ended in abject failure after approximately 6 months. After I moved out of that area when I became divorced (yes the same woman was involved) I ended up in apartments that I hated. 5 years later I bought a house in what was then a semi rural area, now a conglomeration of subdivisions. 3 houses later I think I’m safe until I shuffle off this mortal coil, from the encroachment of “sprawl”.

    I do miss being near the ocean tho. Even in the rural areas we lived, the ocean was never more than an hour or so away. It isn’t the ocean “lifestyle” I miss, its the fresh seafood, either caught or purchased on the fishing docks. I also miss what were once called “fish camps”. A small restaurant where the main entree was whatever had been caught that morning.and perhaps 2 other choices. Where I live now, it’s about 5 hours to either the Atlantic or the Gulf. Not overly long, but not the same as stopping on your way home each day..


    1. Thanks for the comment, DDM. Perspective is so important; you were raised in what I assume were fairly open spaces in rural areas so you can’t conceive of living in a rowhouse. Having been raised in the city, I can’t conceive of living in an area very far apart from neighbors although I never want to share a common wall with neighbors ever again.


      1. “you were raised in what I assume were fairly open spaces in rural areas”.

        Very open and very rural. We always had sizeable vegetable gardens, usually a hog or 2 raised for the meat, chickens for the same reason.. I don’t have either these days, haven’t since I left the family home.Not for the reason of not wanting to, just that my employment for the last nearly 40 years has required extensive travel.There were always dirt bikes, “field cars” (rusty old junkers that were beat terribly by teenagers), snowmobiles in the winter and ALWAYS wood to cut to hold the heating bill down.I don’t miss that last one at all.

        Maybe if I ever actually retire, I’ll try my hand at gardening again. But probably not as I’m sure I will still travel a fair bit.


  3. Aside from driving over the bridge countless times, I have walked it a few. They used to have a walk for charity. Straight up hill for about two miles. Downhill the second half. And there are grates for drainage which are interesting to walk over with a big drop beneath your feet. I have also been under the bridge on various boats. I can’t say for sure if it is true but I heard as a kid that one or two construction workers who fell to their death are buried in the concrete bases. Probably untrue.


  4. In Arizona we are a ways from the ocean. The Gulf of California is close just across the border in Mexico. Going there is hazardous because of the drug cartels. We have bridges everywhere in Arizona mostly on the freeways. The one I do want to cross is the new one that is the bypass around Hoover Dam on the highway to Las Vegas. It is a beautiful concrete structure and quite high over the Colorado River downstream from Hoover Dam. An engineering feat as pouring the concrete in the heat is difficult. This one:

    One goal of mine is to travel to Michigan and to “Walk the Mac” on a Labor Day. They allow people to walk across the Mackinac Bridge from Lower Michigan to Upper Michigan. Being from Michigan, my Dad would want me to do that.

    In Arizona, most cities do not allow row houses. Here they are called zero lot line houses. Where we live currently the Pima County zoning requires the lots to be at least 1 acre or more. On our cul-de-sac I can throw a rock and hit my neighbors house because the lots are pie-shaped, but it is still nice to have the space. It also allows the wildlife free access around. Gardening is good for you as it gets you back to your roots, the soil. And it is better than therapy plus you get tomatoes.


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