John Street Park

For such a small park, this green block on John Street has had a large impact on the history of Bolton Hill. In the early 1950s, a group of local residents organized to establish the park, one of the first "vest pocket" urban parks in the country. Dedicated in 1955, the park was maintained by the Village Garden Club, now the Bolton Hill Garden Club, which took on the work of maintaining plantings and fencing. The Club started an annual spring plant sale, which continues to this day, to help pay for the upkeep of the park, joining the club's traditional Christmas Greens sale, which included decorations at the Women's Hospital on Lafayette Avenue.

The residents involved in the creation of the park built on their efforts and began advocating more broadly for the Mt. Royal area to be designated one of the city's first urban renewal areas under the Federal Housing Act of 1954. Their small success on John Street led to transformative changes across the area in the 1960s and 1970s with the demolition of many rowhouses and alley houses to make way for new high-rise apartment buildings and modern townhouse developments.

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John Street, Baltimore, MD 21217