Calvert Hills neighborhood seeks historic district status
Nov. 2, 2001
Kristen Perezluha
Staff Writer

The Calvert Hills neighborhood in College Park may soon become a nationally recognized historic district.

College Park planners Terry Schum and Noah Simon presented the Calvert Hills Civic Association, at an Oct. 24 meeting, with a draft nomination for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The association agreed it would like to move forward with the nomination.

"It gives our neighborhood a little class," said civic association Vice President Dora Kennedy.

To become a national historic district, a property must meet certain qualifications.

One of the qualifications is that the area must have a significant number of historic buildings. For a building to count toward the total, it must be built prior to 1948. Calvert Hills has 366 buildings constructed before 1948. Many houses in the area were built in the 1920s.

Calvert Hills' architecture also qualifies it to become a historic district. The nomination requirements state that an area must embody "the distinctive characteristics of a type, period or method of construction." The period of significance for much of the neighborhood's architecture is between 1890 and 1948.

If the area is named a historic district, residents will still be able to change the exterior of their houses, as they desire. Land use and zoning will not change, Schum said.

Many residents said they would like their neighborhood to be classified a historic district.

Linda Gill said when she moved back to College Park from California two years ago, she specifically searched for a home in Calvert Hills. Gill said she supports the effort.

"It has the potential of making the neighborhood feel cohesive," she said.

Civic association Treasurer Jessie Johnson said she grew up in a historic district in Lawrence, Kan. All the children called themselves the "Old West Lawrence Gang," and they had T-shirts emblazoned with a mascot, she said. Living in a historic district fostered unity in the neighborhood, Johnson said.

"If kids could identify with it as much as I did when I grew up, I think it would be wonderful," she said.

To complete the nomination, the city of College Park applied for a grant of nearly $15,000 to research the history of Calvert Hills.

The city hired architectural historians EHT Traceries Inc. from the District to study the neighborhood.

Calvert Road, Bowdoin Avenue, Erskine Road, Calvert Park, Albion Road and Baltimore Avenue border the Calvert Hills neighborhood.

The nomination to become a historic district will be presented to the City Council at a work session Nov. 7.

The council will decide on Nov. 13 whether to make Calvert Hills a historic district.

Schum encouraged all residents to come out to the meeting to support the nomination.

"The council is not going to know how you feel unless you support this," she said.

If approved by the council, the nomination will go through a state review board. It will then be reviewed by the National Register staff to determine if it should be listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

"Our consultants tell you that your neighborhood is pretty remarkable," Schum said. "It is sympathetic to the style that was being built back then."

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