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Langsdale Library

RPCL Collection Overview

Collection Title: Roland Park Civic League (RPCL)

Inclusive Dates: 1903-1978

Size: 25 linear feet plus approximately 200 oversized portfolios of architectural plans

Scope and Contents:  
This collection includes minutes, ledgers, blueprints, correspondence, membership cards, audit reports, payroll books of the Roland Park Civic League, incorporated in 1907.  Notably, it contains the minutes of the Roland Park Civic League spanning the years 1955 and 1972, and of the Roland Park Roads and Maintenance Corporation dating between 1911 and 1973, with large gaps between 1953 and 1959.  Blueprints and specifications document a significant number of houses and garages built or altered in the north Baltimore neighborhoods which were once served by the Roads & Maintenance Corporation.  Unfortunately, the collection does not span the original years of Roland Park, nor does it contain records of the Roland Park Company.  

Historical Note:  
The Roland Park Company, under the management of Edward H. Bouton, developed Roland Park in sections, building streets, laying water, sewer and electric lines, and selling property lots.  The Company’s first architect was George Edward Kessler, who was succeeded in subsequent plats by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.  Following the completion of Roland Park, the Company developed similar projects in Guilford, Homeland, Northwood, and the Orchards.

The Roland Park Covenants, among the first in the nation, were developed by Bouton to incorporate land-use restrictions and service fee requirements on each property deed.  The fees, paid annually by property owners, covered the cost of lighting and street repair, garbage collection, and the maintenance and operation of the sewerage system.  The Roland Park Civic League was established in 1895 and incorporated in 1907.  The Civic League’s concerns included all aspects of the community, and it eventually succeeded to the Company’s Covenant rights and responsibilities.

The Roland Park Roads and Maintenance Corporation was incorporated in 1909 by the Roland Park Civic League and Company.  The Corporation’s purpose is to collect mandated fees, provide mandated services, and otherwise enforce the Covenants.  Beyond Roland Park, the Corporation carried out these duties for other communities covered by the Covenants. 

Custodial History:  
The collection was donated to the University of Baltimore by Barbara M. Stevens in November 1980.

Access Note:   
Appointments are required to view materials from this collection. Please contact Ben Blake, head of Special Collections, to make an appointment: 410.837.5047 or bblake [at] ubalt.edu.