In January 2004, Mayfield was added to the National Register of Historic Places because of its unusually varied mix of architectural periods and styles and its importance in the rural to suburban expansion of the City of Baltimore. The development of Mayfield happened in three distinct historic phases:
Phase One: A 19th Century Rural Farming Community 1860-1890
The western portion of the neighborhood, between Lake Montebello and Harford Road, is the oldest and most diverse. Once a part of early Baltimore Mayor Samuel Smith’s “Montebello” estate, by the mid-1800s it had developed into a rural farming community along an unpaved toll road. Many of the homes in this part of Mayfield are Victorian Farmhouses from this period. Later Daylight Row Houses and large Queen Anne Victorian homes were built as the streetcar line extended East and the City of Baltimore built Lake Montebello as a city reservoir in the late 1800s.
Phase Two: A New Century – A Grand Design 1890-1922
The houses on the first two blocks of Mayfield and Erdman Avenues East of Harford Road reflect the move from urban to suburban living by wealthy Baltimoreans at the end of the 19th and early 20th century. The large Four-Square, Shingle-Style, Georgian and Richardsonian Romanesque houses in park-like settings echo what was then happening in the neighborhoods of Roland Park and Guilford at the time. Like these neighborhoods, portions of Mayfield were designed by the Olmsted Brothers landscaping firm, who are most famous for their design of Central Park in New York.
Phase Three: Suburban Expansion and a House for Everyone 1922-1945
In 1922, large tracts of land were sold to local developers who built various types and sizes of single family and semi-detached homes. These houses reflect the eclecticism of architectural styles of the 1920s and 30s, including Bungalows, English and Tudor Cottages, Colonials and Spanish Revival houses. Although there are a few later homes scattered throughout the neighborhood, the majority of building in Mayfield was completed by 1945.
© Elizabeth Hopkins