2500 block of Harlem Avenue

In 1967, the Baltimore Afro-American called the home in the 2500 block of Harlem Avenue "a typical slice of Baltimore:"

"The 2500 block of Harlem Avenue is a microcosm of middle-class Baltimore. . . . A visit to the neighborhood on a late summer afternoon caught the block in a typical setting. The tall, majestic greystone Union Memorial Church dominates the northwest corner of Harlem and Warwick Avenues. The row homes are separated from the tree-lined streets by carefully tended shrubbery and small neatly trimmed plots of lawn..."

"Warren Peck, at 2507, is an arts and crafts teacher for the Department of Education... He has lived in the area since 1952 when he was discharged from the Army [as a World War II and Korean War veteran] ... Like most of the residents in the block, he is a native Baltimorean... He worked as a Pullman porter for several years before he was drafted into the army, and later returned to the railroad. “There was good money in those days,” Mr. Peck maintains. As a matter of fact, it was primarily money saved up from his railroad work that enabled him to buy the home in 1952, he said. He paid $11,500 for the house when the neighborhood was undergoing a racial change... Mr. Peck is one of 11 teachers living in the 2500 block of Harlem Ave. Among the residents are at least two ministers, a nurse, two proprietors of beauty salons, three Social Security Administration employees, and a number of retired persons."

The article reported the statements of one of the only two white residents who remained on the block in 1967:

"Miss Julia Knoerr has lived with her two bachelor brothers there since 1926: 'The real estate people used to call me all the time, but I settled them–I made it clear that I didn’t intend to move anywhere. . . . I thought it was silly the way people began to move out [in the early 1950s], but some people will complain about anything.' . . . Contrary to claims of opponents of fair housing who say property value drops when integration comes, Miss Knoerr believes that property values have improved in the block over the past 15 years. 'Everybody takes more interest in keeping their places nicer than people used to,' she noted.”

Dr. J. Welfred Holmes, a Morgan State College (now University) professor of English lived at 2559 Harlem Ave. from the early 1950s to his death in 1968. The obituary in the Sun noted that he had earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, then taught at several historically black colleges before coming to Morgan in 1946. One of the co-founders of the Evergreen Protective Association, he also was active in Baltimore Neighborhoods, Inc. (a fair housing advocacy group) and the American Civil Liberties Union.



2500 Harlem Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216