January 16, 2015

I’ll Take This: Ogden Nash’s Old House in Baltimore

I have always loved this house, ever since I was a child. My best friend’s house over looked this one, and when we’d spend the summers playing poker cards on their screened in porch, I’d look out through the trees and admire this house, which like the others surrounding it, is about 110 years old. Its claim to fame is that the poet Ogden “Candy is Dandy” Nash lived here, although I can’t find any evidence of that. image

I loved the arched window with the detailing above it, and the Juliet balcony. I loved the quirky roofline and the odd assortment and arrangement of windows.

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I loved the stone garages, the stone staircase with the terraces, the big stone terrace with the gated entrance built into it. We had friends who had a secret passage from their garage into the house, so I wonder what this is for!

Of course, I didn’t know the family who lived there, so I never saw the inside of the house. However, some of what I imagine are the original details remain, like the coffered ceiling and the board and batten walls in the front hall. I doubt it was painted white back then. imageCheck out that newel post!image

The house looks like it gets a lot of sunlight in the winter, and in the summer, it’s shaded by 100 year old trees. image

Fireplace with vaguely Tudor influences, which also makes me think that the wood was not originally white.image

As I suspected, the arched door is on the landing of the staircase. image

Several of the bedrooms look to have working fireplaces. How cozy!image

I wonder if this is the original tile? The other baths look like they’ve been redone.image

Some of the bedrooms, of which there are six, have angled ceilings, reflecting the rooflines.imageimageimageimage

I love the back of this house, too. It looks like they’ve enclosed a porch on the terrace. You can see how high this house is above the one to the left, but there are still houses that look over this one! It’s on a very steep hill. imageimageimage

All in all, a pretty great house. Six bedrooms, five baths, one acre, although much of it’s hilly. $1.17 million.

19 comments:

  1. Hello Meg, My favorite part of this house is the first floor interior. I would probably deplore the painted woodwork, but then leave it as it is. I have a book of Nash's letters, which is illustrated with photos from 4300 Rugby Road, which apparently was his main address in Baltimore. I just looked this up--it seems a considerably larger house, which sold a few years ago for a similar $1.2 million.
    --Jim

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    1. I lived very close to this house and never heard it referred to as the Nash's house. I always knew about Rugby Road. Here's a link to an image of that house. http://mhgp.org/Baltimore-City-Guilford-2013 Scroll down to Rugby Road.

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  2. Ogden Nash and his wife Frances Rider Leonard lived at 4300 Rugby Road in Guilford for decades, the house had been built by her parents. After that they lived at Cross Keys until his death. Not sure where the rumors about this house came from.

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    1. I agree... that's why I put the caveat in! It's in all of the real estate listings for the house.

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  3. Meg you should check through your writing circles. Following in his footsteps was his grand daughter Linell Smith, an award winning writer with the Baltimore Sun for many years. She was my sister in law many years ago before she and my older brother divorced. Beautiful woman with a sharp mind and whit and has also become quite accomplished as a distance runner. I believe she has a daughter and is married to a member of the Baltimore symphony.

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    1. Linell is married to Tom Hall, who is with Coral Arts and WYPR.

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  4. I've lived near this house for over 20 years and have never heard this claim. One of my neighbors grew up in the house; I will ask him about it. Oddly enough, yesterday's NYT's crossword puzzle had a Nash theme which spelled out the quote "I could have wowed them in New York had I not loved Balti-more."

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    1. I heard about that quote! And I lived near there too, and never heard the claim. I only knew about Rugby Road.

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  5. Meg I do love homes like this with all of the extra details. A Juliet balcony and stone gets me every time!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Featuring "Inner Spaces"

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  6. Beautiful house -I would suspect a lot of the interiors aren't original, particularly the bathroom which looks brand new (and lovely). I hate all of the dark wood typical in these houses. I know people hate it painting nice wood but I love it painted a crisp white! It takes the heaviness out. Amazing how much more your dollar buys in Baltimore versus DC; this is about what we paid for bobs much less grand fixer upper! lol

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    1. The green tile might be original, but none of the other bathrooms were. Our house, one block away, had subway tile in two of the baths. Our house also had a lot of dark wood, but was pretty bright.

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  7. Very intelligent bunch of commenters today.

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  8. According to the Baltimore Literary Heritage Project http://baltimoreauthors.ubalt.edu/writers/ogdennash.htm
    Places of interest for Ogden Nash are:

    4205 Underwood Rd.—The Nashes lived here when they first moved to Baltimore in 1934.
    4300 Rugby Rd.—Mrs. Nash's parents lived here and continued to live in the house after the Nashes moved in. Ogden Nash and his family lived here until the early 1960's.
    The Village of Cross Keys (5100 Falls Rd.)—Ogden Nash lived here until his death in 1971.
    Church of the Redeemer (5603 N. Charles St.)—Ogden Nash and Frances Leonard were married in the church's chapel in 1931. Forty years later, on May 21, 1971, two days after his death, a memorial service was held for him in the church.

    http://baltimoreauthors.ubalt.edu/writers/ogdennash.htm

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    1. Saw that! As I said, the attribution isn't mine, it's what's in the real estate listing. I was just saying what they said, with a disclaimer... and perhaps as a good headline! ;-)

      I also saw somewhere that it was Nash's parents, not hers, who owned the house. If they moved out of Rugby Road and Cross Keys wasn't really fully developed at that point, perhaps they did live at Beechdale!

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  9. Nicely done Meg!

    I remember a great online piece, found stateside, on F Scott Fitzgerald's Balto' house a few years back.

    When you and I met in London, you mentioned you too liked the Landmark Trust properties there (here).

    The Trust always takes a particular interest of the homes of literary 'kings'.

    - http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/Search-and-book/holiday-ideas/literary-landmarks/

    Best wishes,

    R Armiger

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    1. I think Landmark has Kipling's house in Vermont!

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  10. Here's a bit more information on the house, by my friend Cynthia, whose house also overlooks this one!
    http://www.baltimorefishbowl.com/stories/looks-like-castle-feels-like-treehouse-roland-park-landmark-like-new/#more-78792

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