The vanishing of the proposed electric railroad along the Run, and the imminent development of Anneslie and Stoneleigh, went along with changes in the plan for Idlewylde. A blueprint from 1921 shows the acquisition of the eastern end of the Anneslie estate, adding Maplewood Ave and the west side of Banbury to Idlewylde. Another change, in 1921 or 1922, was the transfer of ownership from the Idlewylde Realty Co. to Cityco Realty, also a Gilbert company. The yellow lines drawn on the blueprint, separating sold and unsold lots, may have been plotted to facilitate the transfer.
The 1924 Cityco plat of southern Idlewylde registers another important change: a further land purchase between the Anneslie annex and Walker Ave., where residential development on what is now the 700 block had begun before 1900. This acquisition permitted the addition of what today is the 6300 block of Banbury, opening a southern route from Idlewylde to York Road and giving the Walker Ave. homes easy access to the stores that began opening on the 6300 block of Sherwood Rd. To this day, residents of the County part of Walker west of Banbury Rd, squeezed between Anneslie and the City-County line drawn in 1918, are invited to join the ICA.
The 1924 plat is a snapshot of the progress of the development. The lots marked on the plat are those that have not yet been sold. Naturally, they cluster at the southeast quadrant, furthest from the Sherwood-Regester intersection, and in the newly acquired southwest corner. The southwest corner was mostly sold off and built on by the end of the decade. Except for Wakeford (soon to become Overbrook) between Beechwood and Arran, most of the southeast quadrant remained undeveloped until the 1940s and 1950s.
But the 1924 plat doesn’t just offer a snapshot of the development at that time: it captures a moment of thought about Idlewylde. Wakeford Road, which originally ended at Sherwood, has been extended through the southwestern annex to Walker Ave. This imagines traffic flowing in and out of southern Idlewylde along the south side of Anneslie. But within a year, the extension of Overbrook Rd to Idlewylde (not provided in the original 1922 Anneslie plat) has opened up a new outlet to York Road and Wakeford has been renamed in a way that diminishes the Walker Ave. route.
Just as the plan of southern Idlewylde was adjusted to the advent of Anneslie, so that of northern Idlewylde was adjusted to the advent of Stoneleigh. For Cityco, this meant hiring Olmsted Brothers, the renowned urban landscape architects responsible for designing the City neighborhoods of Roland Park and Homeland, to design a streetscape that exploited the contours of Beulah’s ravines. Their design is in the custody of the Library of Congress, and there is a copy at the Baltimore City Archives.
However, the stock market crash of 1929 put an end to the dream, and two maps illustrate the reality. Sanborn’s fire insurance map shows the built-up extent of Idlewylde in 1929. In the revised Section B plat of 1938 the acres across Herring Run, fully platted in the Olmsted design, are empty; and where Olmsted Brothers had imagined curving parkways called Idlewylde Drive and Idlewylde Terrace, there’s space for a horticultural nursery and a cement plant. The northwest corner remained undeveloped until the 1950s, when the Maxalea Co. platted the area that today bears its name along with a distinctive identity and architecture.
The 1950s also brought growth to Idlewylde at its southern edge. The City-County line drawn in 1918 had left a fringe of the old John Work Garrett estate on the County side of it. When the estate was developed in the 1950s, residents north of the line were welcomed into the Idlewylde community. As with the homes on Walker Avenue, a bond formed between families whose kids were attending the same schools.
In particular, that meant Stoneleigh Public (now Elementary) School, built in 1929 to serve the area’s growing population. Blanche Dorfler’s son Roy, who was born in Idlewylde and lived here till his death in 2015, was a member of the first class. Like other members of those early classes, he found himself applying the skills he learned there, and in our local middle and high schools, to winning World War II.
Roy Dorfler standing by the window in Idlewylde United Methodist Church that honors his parents.
John Dorfler helped build the church, which opened in 1917.