Early bird tickets for Baltimore’s BEST party on sale now!

Oliver C. Winston


Oliver C. Winston, 86, a pioneer in the field of public housing

who helped chart the course of Baltimore urban renewal in the 1950s, died April 25 at the McKerley Health Care Center in Lebanon, N.H.

A well-known innovator in the fields of housing, urban renewal and regional planning, Mr. Winston worked in Baltimore from 1947 to 1959.

He was initially director of the city housing authority, transforming it into the Baltimore Urban Renewal and Housing Agency, which developed the local government's pilot downtown urban renewal project -- Charles Center.

Born in Smithville, Texas, he earned bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture at what is now Rice University.

In 1934, Mr. Winston moved to Washington to work for the new Housing Division of the Department of the Interior, the New Deal predecessor of today's Department of Housing and Urban Development.

During World War II, he was involved in the development of war-related housing in the United States and Puerto Rico.

He was a founding member of the National Association of Housing Officials in 1933, later serving as its president.

As the housing chief in Baltimore, Mr. Winston was credited with removing the agency from charges of politics, favoritism and waste.

He resigned in 1959 to become executive director of the Valley Development Foundation, a privately funded effort that supervised the renewal of downtown Binghamton, N.Y., and other projects in the region.

Mr. Winston taught graduate courses in housing and urban renewal at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and Cornell University in Ithaca N.Y., where he moved in 1965 to became director of Cornell's Office of Regional Planning and Development.

He retired in 1971 and moved with his second wife, Suzanne Spalding Winston, to New Hampshire.

Surviving, in addition to his wife in Hanover, N.H., are three children, O. Cooper Winston Jr. of Wellesley Hills, Mass., E. Perry Winston of New York City and Mary Winston Nelson of Winchester, Mass.; two brothers, P. Eldridge Winston of Austin, Texas, and J. Aubrey Winston of Port Arthur, Texas; a sister, Elizabeth Winston Simons of Edna, Texas; and five grandchildren.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad