Monday, September 8, 2008

Edmondson Village Shopping Center, Baltimore

According to media reports, the Edmondson Village Shopping Center in West Baltimore is on fire this morning.

This shopping center, built in 1947, is reportedly the earliest built in Baltimore, and among the earliest built elsewhere. It is an oblong Colonial Revival red brick complex constructed to look like a row of different buildings strung together. Although the name may derive from the Edmondson Village neighborhood in which it sits, the cluster of brick pavilions looks like a village in and of itself. It once had a theater, a department store, and other long-vanished amenities.

I surveyed it recently and it's still pretty intact, although ironically it was such a successful model that it essentially spelled its own doom. The advent of ever-newer suburban shopping centers further out has drawn business away and it's now somewhat of a low-rent enterprise and apparently neglected in recent decades by its absentee owners, the Weinberg Foundation (per clippings in the vertical files in the Maryland Department at the Enoch Pratt Free Library). Cheesy replacement windows and peeling paint abound. I hate to see anything happen to it, because given the previous lack of caring displayed by the owners, it might not get rebuilt, or might get rebuilt in a not-so-good way. And it's a really valuable specimen.

The Sun report says that one of the store sections has collapsed. This section is in my second photo at the far (west) end, the front-gabled section. Sigh.

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