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Upper Fells home said to have housed Billie Holiday for sale

A Fells Point row house said to have once been home to jazz singer Billie Holiday is being sold for $239,900.

An Upper Fells Point row house said to have once been home to Eleanora Fagan, widely known as jazz legend Billie Holiday, went up for sale today for $239,900.

The three-leveled 1,276-square-foot home, at 217 S. Durham St., includes three bedrooms, a kitchen with heated floors, two full bathrooms, a laundry room, and an outdoor private patio and courtyard, according to listing real estate agent Steve Paxton of Keller Williams Legacy Metropolitan in Canton.

“When I bought the house, I did know that she spent some time there,” said owner Ryan Higgins, 37, who recently relocated to Arizona.

The previous owner told him and gave him a few articles about the singer, Higgins said, and being a fan of Holiday, Higgins said he did some additional research.

He found scholarly articles and books, including “Wishing on the Moon”* by Donald Clarke and “With Billie: A New Look at the Unforgettable Lady Day” by Julia Blackburn, which included references and interviews with people noting the Durham Street house as Holiday’s former home. Some stated that she stayed on the second floor, Higgins said. 

Francis O’Neill, a senior reference librarian at the Maryland Historical Society, said library records confirm that Holiday lived on the 200 block of Durham Street, and also spent some time on Dallas Street and North Barnes Street while living in the city in her early years.

The 200 block of Durham Street boasts Holiday murals, mosaics and painted screens, and has hosted Holiday-themed events.

Higgins said it was cool to know she once lived there, but there were little traces of the singer since the home has been renovated.

Still, Higgins left behind books and photocopied articles about Holiday in the home for potential owners to see, he said.

* This post has been updated. An earlier version incorrectly named Clarke's book.

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