The Hollins-Roundhouse Historic District (formerly Poppleton Historic District) is a primarily residential district that developed north of the Mount Clare train yard in the mid-1830s. The Baltimore & Ohio railroad employed a wide variety of workers in the mid-19th century, including Irish and German immigrants who settled in Baltimore and established modest neighborhoods adjacent to the train yards and shops. The central portion of the Hollins-Roundhouse district is representative of this type of settlement with modest dwellings, including the “two-story-and-attic” house type, dating to the 1840s and early 1850s. The neighborhood became an important center for German immigrants in the 19th century and for Lithuanian immigrants in the early 20th century. The second half of the 19th century saw the rise of the middle class in Baltimore, comprised of business owners and other professionals. The northeastern portion of the Hollins-Roundhouse district reflects this change through its larger, three-story homes constructed in the Italianate and Greek Revival styles. The district also contained several churches, schools and commercial buildings, only a few of which survive today.
Statement of Significance
The Hollins-Roundhouse Historic District played an important role in the early development of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, proving housing for workers at the Mount Clare yards and car-building shops. Rapid expansion westward into Ohio was necessary for the nation’s first railroad to dominate its competition, and the Mount Clare yards supported this effort from the beginning. The neighborhood also became important as the home of several immigrant groups who came to the United States in the mid-19th century and worked on the railroads. Irish and German immigrants established a number of institutions including the Irish Catholic church, St. Peter the Apostle in 1843 (individually listed on the National Register). The neighborhood continued to be a home for immigrant groups and was the center of the Lithuanian immigrant community in the early 20th century. The architecture and design of Hollins-Roundhouse Historic District is also significant and reflective of the change brought on by the development of the B&O Railroad. Many vernacular homes built for the working class in the middle of the 19th century remain today and influenced development in other Baltimore Neighborhoods. The proximity of moderately priced dwellings, including the “two-story-and-attic” and alley houses, with more elaborate homes built for the emerging middle class, including Greek Revival and Italianate styles, became a common development pattern throughout the city.