The first housing of SoWeBo is almost as old as the first three settlements that made up Baltimoretown. They're what's known today as Ridgley's Delight, Pigtown, Hollins Market, and Poppleton. These neighborhoods came up to house B&O Railroad Workers at Camden Yards, the present site of the Orioles and Ravens Stadiums. Development pushed westward into the "Gentlemen's Communites" of Union Square and Franklin Square with larger homes and public squares for wealtheir businessmen and their families to escape from the smog of Downtown. These were the earliest of the Baltimore suburbs. Along the B&O railroad and Wilkens Avenue Industrial Mill Villages began popping up around the turn of the 20th century such as Mill Hill, Carrollton Ridge, Gwynns Falls, Mount Clare, Morrell Park, and Violetville. Wilkens Avenue became the "Main Street" for these newly created Mill Villaages and near the B&O Railroad is where the Mills were centered. The rise of the affordable automobile led to the creation of the Carroll Camden Industrial Park with acres of parking for factory workers. Almost all of SoWeBo was created to house tradesmen whether it was in Camden Yards, the Mill Villages, or the Carroll Camden Industrial Park.The 1960s marked the demise of the American Industrial Sector of we know it. SoWeBo was no different Mill Villages downsized before closing all together as was the case with factories of the Carroll Camden Industrial Park. Today SoWeBo is at a crossroads. The crime, blight, population loss, job loss, and the threat of bulldozing homes for the creation of Freeways has done a number on SoWeBo and its remaining residents but there's hope in the air. Both big development projects and small rehabs have helped breath new life into the community. There is a lot more work to be done but I believe with the momentum of the Harbor SoWeBo will continue to improve. Housing is not overpriced yet so in these tough economic times buying an old vacant row house for chump change and rehabbing it in an otherwise stable block would be a great place to call home. If several hundred people bought into and invested in the existing vacant housing stock the appearance of SoWeBo would be forever improved. Now it's time to get into what's hot and what's not for SoWeBo just like I did with East Baltimore.
First What's Hot