Imagining Greenmount Avenue as something other than a bustling urban corridor can be difficult. But at one time Waverly was a sleepy Victorian village that wealthy Baltimoreans would visit to escape the stifling heat of the inner city.
Most remnants of the original village have been knocked down, paved over or destroyed in one way or another. But there are pieces of it still intact. One of those pieces is the Waverly Town Hall at the corner of Greenmount Avenue and 31st Street.
And now the structure, which was built in 1873, is one step closer to being named a Baltimore landmark.
“Town halls in Baltimore are very, very rare,” said Eric Holcomb, a staff member for the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.
The Baltimore Planning Commission voted in favor of adding the building to the landmark list during a hearing Thursday. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the City Council must now approve legislation adding the structure to the list before it’s officially granted landmark status.
Once a building is granted landmark status, any modifications to its exterior must meet guidelines established by the city’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation.
Despite the overwhelming support of surrounding community groups and elected officials for adding the structure to the landmark list, some members of the commission questioned granting the status to the building.
Commissioners Victor Bonaparte and Darlene Kennedy questioned the purpose of naming the building a landmark because much of the historic details on its exterior have been removed.
They also said they were concerned because the building’s owner, Domingo Kim, who also owns the Stadium Lounge, wasn’t present at the hearing.
“It bothers me that a community wants to do this without the support of the person that owns the building,” Kennedy said.
However, Kim did attend the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation’s April hearing on adding the property to the landmark list and did not object.
Despite some objections from commissioners, the commission voted overwhelmingly to approve naming the building a landmark.
Joe Stewart, a Waverly resident who has led the movement, said it's reassuring the city is standing with the community.
"Greenmount Avenue's Waverly commercial corridor was never fairly compensated for the loss of thousands of fans spending millions of dollars here before and after every game at Memorial Stadium," Stewart wrote in an e-mail. "We will find partners in the private and public sectors who have the wherewithal and willingness to invest in our village and use historic tax credits the way they are meant to be used."