Baltimore’s Two Cross Keys Villages is about two communities virtually next door to one another. As one was dying, the other was born. Cross Keys Village (named after a nearby inn) was established by African Americans in north Baltimore. Forty years ago, in a surprise rush to urban renewal, the city condemned and tore down most of the homes to make room for a high school parking lot. Author Jim Holechek interviewed many of the former residents of the old Cross Keys Village to learn what life was like in their disappearing enclave.
The Village of Cross Keys (named after the village that was named after the inn) was begun by developer James Rouse in 1961 when he purchased Roland Park’s exclusive golf course. He was called the “Sunday School teacher with a Midas touch” and became America’s premier builder of new towns and shopping malls.
In Baltimore’s Two Cross Keys Villages, you’ll learn about the tapestry of other hamlets and other people, of “The Falls Road,” Mt. Washington, Bare Hills and Ruxton, an 1835 log chapel and a woman who carries on the heritage of the slave Tobias.
Brief comments from those who read Baltimore’s Two Cross Keys Villages:
“Terrific!” —John McGrain, Official Baltimore Country Historian; “Must be published” —Sarah Fenno Lord; “Important Maryland history” —Thomas Mallonee, advertising executive; “Marvelous memories” —Paul M. Johnson, retired school principal; “Warm and engrossing”—Holly Parker; “Captivating!” —W. Scott Ditch, retired Rouse Company vice president.
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