Ogden Nash at 4300 Rugby Road
After a brief stint in New York, Ogden Nash returned to Baltimore in 1934 and wrote: "I could have loved New York had I not loved Balti-more." Nash grew up in Rye, New York and first came to Baltimore for love. On a trip to the Elkridge Hunt Ball in Maryland in 1928, Nash met Frances Rider Leonard, a granddaughter of Maryland Governor Elihu Jackson and the woman he would come to marry.
Nash married Frances at the chapel of the Church of the Redeemer in 1931. By this time, Nash was already a national celebrity, known for his witty light verse. He spent his time bouncing between New York and Baltimore before settling down at 4205 Underwood Road-–a handsome stone house in Guilford-–in 1934 where he started a family and began his love affair with Baltimore sports. He enjoyed gambling at Pimlico and became an avid fan of the Baltimore Colts and Orioles. He soon moved with his wife and two daughters to his in-law's home at 4300 Rugby Road where they lived until the 1960s.
Nash published numerous poems about Baltimore sports teams. The December 13, 1968, issue of Life magazine had a cover feature on Nash's love of the Colts complete with poems. In the collection, Nash wrote that "Colt Fever" is "the disease fate holds in store / For the population of Baltimore / A disease more virulent than rabies / Felling men and women and even babies." In 1958, Nash wrote "You Can't Kill an Oriole" when the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore for the 1954 season. Present day Orioles manager Buck Showalter has a copy of the poem hanging in his office.
Nash lived in Baltimore for 37 years and led a happy and successful life with his wife, two daughters, and, of course, his dog. Nash adored animals and is credited with coining the phrase: "The dog is man's best friend." He died on May 19, 1971 at Johns Hopkins Hospital of Crohn's Disease. A memorial service was held at the Church of the Redeemer, 40 years after the date he was married there. His old home at 4300 Rugby Road remains a private residence, nestled away in Guilford.