Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Good Husbands’ Row

A view of Good Husbands’ Row from around 1900.

By Kathleen Ambrose

With the opening in June of the 23rd Street restaurant Clavel, local attention is being drawn to Remington's "Little, Little Italy" section, which lies just over the Sisson Street bridge. It is one of the oldest sections of Remington with most of the housing having been built in the late 1800s. It was a thriving residential area interspersed with commerce. Jefferson Place (2200 block of Huntingdon) and Turner Place (houses between 23rd and 24th Streets) were erected for the upper-middle class that wanted to live outside the City but still remain in close proximity to it. Unfortunately, not all of the area's residents were able to afford to own a home in Jefferson or Turner. Instead, they rented houses on Good Husband Row.

This fantastic-sounding enclave no longer exists. The street branched off of Hampden Avenue a little south of W 23rd Street, and its official name was Glen Edwards Avenue. About two hundred persons dwelt in its thirty-some houses, which were developed about 1879. The 13-foot-wide row houses were first designated by letters—A, B, C, etc.—and it was then known as ABC Row. Then people began calling it Precipice Place because of its location at the bottom of a steep hill in a deep gully. It came to be referred to as Good Husbands’ Row because, according to Remington folklore, husbands who toiled in the Peddicord or Schwinn quarries were unable to work when the weather got cold and snowy, so the men kept house and the women went to work, usually in the Jones Falls Valley mills.

Good Husbands' Row was officially called Glen Edwards Avenue.
Good Husbands’ Row was bounded on the north by a gully, on the south by a wall of gneiss rock, on the east by a concrete bridge and on the west by a cobbled road that linked it to Hampden Avenue. Hard rains swept in floods down the low-lying lane, and the summer heat was merciless because of its location behind the rock wall and gully bank. An arch over the west end of the avenue carried the B&O trains, spilling their noise and pollution onto the houses.
Children from the McDermott family and a friend playing at "The Dump" in the 1970s

Because of their proximity to the railroad, residents of Good Husbands’ Row suffered train-related injuries, some fatal. Children were the most susceptible to these types of fatalities. The entirety of Glen Edwards Avenue and all the houses on it were sold to the City of Baltimore in 1923 which in turn sold it to Consolidated (Baltimore) Gas & Electric several years later. The deed to the utility company specified that any streets that happened to be within the land parcel would be closed. All the homes on Glen Edwards were razed at sometime in the late 1930s, and the land was later used as a public dump until the 1950s, when it was filled in the rest of the way and became part of a salvage yard. The only evidence of its existence today is a little glimpse of the arched bridge near the Baltimore Streetcar Museum on Falls Road. ◘

The last visible vestige of Good Husbands' Row