City and State: Baltimore, Maryland
Listed: 1979 – Baltimore City Historic Ordinance
Listed: 1980 – National Register
Type of district: Baltimore City Historic District, National Register Historic District
Major Intersection: Portland and Penn Streets
Ridgely’s Delight is a historic neighborhood located in southwest Baltimore. Primarily a residential community, it was developed between 1816 and 1875 on a portion of the former agricultural estate of Charles Ridgely. The busiest years of its construction occurred during the 1840s and ’50s, concurrently with nearby industrial development, and with the establishment of the University of Maryland’s medical facilities slightly to the north. Many employees of the new industries and hospitals moved to Ridgely’s Delight, along with the employees of several nearby rail companies.
There are no free-standing buildings in Ridgely’s Delight. From the earliest phase of development, all of the houses in this community were intended to be built in long rows of rowhouses. Many of the early residences were Federal-style rowhouses representing Baltimore’s first phase of rowhouse development.
Most of these early rowhouses are two bays in width and two stories in height, with steep gable roofs and central dormers. A second building phase occurring in the latter half of the 19th century resulted in larger, three-storied rowhouses for the middle and upper classes. At first, this second building phase turned out flat-roofed rowhouses, but by the 1870s, rowhouses with intricate cornices typical of Italianate design were being built. The result of this long and varied rowhouse-building campaign was a highly unified, yet diverse, collection of mid-19th-century structures sandwiched between industry and the now-vast campus of the University of Maryland Medical School.