Nothing says Baltimore like Formstone

While perusing an urban planning website recently from my office here in Honolulu, I learned with great sadness that the iconic and unique Baltimore Formstone building material is to be banned under new city design guidelines. Having lived my early adult years in Mount Vernon on St. Paul Street after a stint overseas in the Peace Corps in the mid-1990's, I have fond memories of Charm City, its quirky eccentricities, its incredible people and its unbelievable neighborhoods.

No other streetscape better identifies Baltimore to the outside world than a block of Formstone-clad row houses with their scrubbed white stoops and sprinkled with a few painted screens throughout. Sure, there are numerous beautiful non-Formstone neighborhoods in the city from Bolton Hill to Ridgely's Delight to Roland Park, but nothing brings such a comfortable level of familiarity and sense of place like these Formstone jewels.

Jeff Merz, Honolulu, HI

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