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Mayfield: a 'hamlet' in middle of the city Close-knit residents stay for decades


Mayfield residents have a proclivity for hanging around their neighborhood -- for years, and often, for decades and decades.

Ruth Barker grew up in Mayfield, then stayed to get married and raise two children.

Nick and Geri Broccolino moved there in 1967 and still reside in the neighborhood. (As do a myriad of other Broccolinos: their son, brother, nephew and niece.)

Arthur Beksinski moved there when he was a youth -- and stayed for 53 years.

But today, Barker has moved on, and Beksinski has his house on the market.

"Nevertheless, I really miss the neighborhood -- even now. There's not a lot of places like Mayfield," said Barker, an agent with Long and Foster Realtors Inc.

If history repeats itself, the young people moving in will find themselves there for years. "There's more and more young adults coming in. I used to be the young man on the community association board of directors, but not any more," said Nick Broccolino. "The new ones are all young and very active."

According to Barker, the neighborhood was built for several successful merchants who moved from East Baltimore. They didn't just come with their families but also brought their church -- St. Matthews United Church of Christ -- with them.

The Bauernschmidt family -- prominent local brewers -- built a mansion in Mayfield at the corner of Erdman Avenue and Harford Road. After almost being converted to a funeral home, the mansion now is a private residence.

Today, Mayfield -- bordered by Lake Montebello Drive and Chesterfield, Crossland and Erdman avenues -- is an area that residents can't say enough good things about: stable, close-knit, virtually crime-free and with a mixture of professions represented, including physicians, insurance agents, dentists and lawyers, and mechanics as well.

"It's a real nice economic mix," Barker said. "Everyone's just a neighbor, and everyone gets along.

"One of the most attractive things about Mayfield is its feeling of community," she added. "There are older people who have been there most of their lives, and young families who are just starting out, and then there are those in the middle. My kids had plenty of other children to play with, yet they also learned what it was like to have elderly neighbors."

Right across Erdman Avenue is Clifton Park Golf Course. Herring Run Park (part of landscape architects Frederick Law Olmstead and John Charles Olmstead's planning of green space in Baltimore), with its bike trails, picnic areas and ballparks, is adjacent to the neighborhood.

Green spaces pervade Mayfield, particularly with its boulevards on Crossland and Norman avenues, and in the spring, azaleas and flowers can be found in abundance.

Lake Montebello is a stone's throw away, and for years residents could walk to Orioles and Colts games at Memorial Stadium.

"It's a nice, quiet neighborhood, with nobody who is rowdy," Beksinski said. "You can drive over to Northwood Shopping Center, and a brand new Safeway is going up on Harford Road."

Mayfield is home to five churches -- including St. Francis of Assisi with its elementary and middle schools and St. Matthews United Church of Christ with its day-care center.

Bus access to downtown is available on Harford and Belair roads, and driving time to the Inner Harbor is about 15 minutes.

In addition to a diversity of churches, there's a variety of homes -- single-family and semidetached, as well as brick, stone and a few frame cottages -- in Mayfield.

According to the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, 21 houses sold in Mayfield for an average price of $96,250 last year. The neighborhood is estimated to have about 400 households, and virtually all the homes are owner-occupied.

"They're substantially well-built houses," Barker said. "The semidetached homes sell in the high $80,000 range, and the large all-bricks for just under $200,000."

Beksinski's home for the past five-plus decades is on the market. Built in 1939, the brick-and-stone house in the 2400 block of Pelham Ave. has a large living room and dining room with refinished hardwood floors and a kitchen with ceramic-tile floor.

The house, with an extra large lot, has new windows, plaster walls and a two-car garage. It also features a clubroom, office and laundry room.

There are two full bathrooms and three bedrooms on the second floor, and there is an expandable attic.

The asking price is $110,000.

Barker is currently listing a home on Lake Avenue.

"It's typical of Mayfield, in that it has stained-glass windows, hardwood floors with mahogany inlay, built-in bookcases and a lot of features that you won't find in new homes," she added.

The single-family home also has an entrance foyer, living room, dining room, powder room and kitchen with breakfast room.

Built around 1930, the house carries an asking price of $109,500.

Mayfield residents benefit from a strong community association and enjoy a wealth of social opportunities. "There's a very active community association that has always demonstrated the good sense not to be either too permissive or too restrictive in zoning matters," says Nick Broccolino, who has worked as the association's attorney for many years.

"The community association sponsors an extremely well-attended block party, which serves as an association fund-raiser and features the Baltimore Municipal Concert Band every July," Barker said. "We also sponsor a Halloween party and Christmas party and go caroling through the neighborhood in December."

Nick Broccolino summed up the area: "Everyone knows everyone, and it has the advantage of being a well-boundaried neighborhood.

"Mayfield's really kind of like a little hamlet in the center of the city."


Population: 1,022 (1990 Census)

Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 15 minutes

Public schools: Montebello Elementary, Hamilton Middle, Lake Clifton High

Points of interest: Lake Montebello; Clifton Park Golf Course; Herring Run Park

ZIP code: 21213

Average price of a townhouse: $96,250 *

* Based on 21 sales in 1997 by the Metropolitan Regional Information System

Pub Date: 5/17/98

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