The Gwynns Falls first saw industrial development as early as the late 1700s and, by 1808, the small industrial village began to form around an early paper mill along the water where Dickeyville sits today. Although few of these early stone structures remain, the village endured and grew in the mid 1800s when the Wethered Brothers, owners of the mills, began building homes for their workers and made other improvements for the community. The Wethereds sold off small lots to private owners, many of whom built their own houses along with public buildings such as a fraternal hall, a general store, and churches. The diversity of worker housing and industrial buildings created over time resulted in a uniquely diverse architecture that is at the heart of the historic village’s captivating character today. In the 1930s, however, the isolated mill village was rocked by change thanks to the start of the Great Depression and the introduction of electrified industrial facilities that brought older mills like those on the Gwynns Falls to a stop. In 1934, the entire stock of buildings was sold at auction and bought by a group called the Title Holding Company. The new owners hired Palmer and Lamdin, noted local architects from the Roland Park Company, to build new houses and renovate existing ones, using the Roland Park Company as its sales agent. A rush of new residents decided they wanted their community to resemble an English village in design and name—making Dickeyville one of Baltimore’s earliest attempts at historic restoration. The new homeowners added many historic details such as gas-lamps, Belgian block gutters, and picket fences, and gave their streets names evoking another era—like Pickwick Road named for an English village. Dickeyville residents have worked hard for several generations to maintain and build from the village’s historic buildings and character. Standing in the center of the community today, you might swear you were in the middle of an nineteenth century village in the Cotswalds.
Watch our Five Minute Histories video on this neighborhood!