Once upon a time . . . Baltimore City was a little pocket of industry and commerce nestled near the Patapsco River and surrounded by vast estates. Large spurts of growth occurred after the Civil War, after the turn of the 20th century, and in concert with World Wars I and II. By the 1950s most of the inner and midtown areas of the city had been filled in.
Baltimore is bracing for new growth in the next few years, too. With the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) bringing thousands of new jobs to Maryland, the city expects many families to move here. Military jobs are being reassigned from Virginia and New Jersey to nearby bases, including Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County, Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County, and Fort Detrick in Frederick. Expansion of supporting services and defense contractors has followed the growth of the military in the past—and that is expected here, too.
If you’re moving to Baltimore, relocating to this city is easy. Many services help newcomers get acclimated. Live Baltimore Home Center is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1997 to promote the benefits of city living. It produces an extensive relocation kit with up-to-date information including the latest home buying incentives. You can order a package for $15 by contacting Live Baltimore Home Center at 343 North Charles St., 1st Floor, (410) 637-3750. You can also visit the Web site, www.livebaltimore.com, which offers a comprehensive list of neighborhoods, home values, real estate contact information, and more.
In this chapter we focus on greater Baltimore and a few of the neighborhoods that are particularly interesting for one reason or six others.
Newcomers to the area often talk about Baltimore’s quality of life, about what a pleasant, easy place it is to live. The great thing is that, unlike some small towns where distrust among the natives runs high toward newcomers, Baltimore tends to open its arms. We are always happy to have newcomers embrace the city and its way of life.
In the city and the counties, schools and churches are important neighborhood fixtures, with solid outreach into the community. They are the institutions we look to to provide day care, after-school care, and places for bazaars, dances, and meetings.
Within the city limits, we try to “buy neighborhood.” If there’s a good drugstore on the corner, we don’t go to one 3 blocks away, and if there’s a good bakery 3 blocks away, we don’t drive a mile to find another. This may account for the continuing success of our neighborhood grocery stores and restaurants.
We’ve tried to provide a range of housing prices, but, as with other cities, they have been jumping all over the place. Perhaps the best thing to do is create a matrix of the kind of housing you want (inner city, back-yard suburban), what price range, how far it should be from your work, and neighborhood services and then decide what area best fits those needs and desires.