Baltimore Evening Sun (7 February 1913): 6.


The Right Hon. the super-Mahon to the Paving Commission:

I appointed the Paving Commission particularly with a view to removing from any field of conjecture the integrity of our entire paving operations. It is too serious a matter to permit individual views, either political or personal, to enter into the question.

Faint echo from the Hon. Paving Bob Padgett, now at large in the West:

Ha, ha, ha! He, he, he! Ho, ho, ho!


The evil of prostitution is here. It is a matter that has existed from the beginning. It is a matter that has got to be looked at and controlled and destroyed. When the millenium comes we will destroy it. * * * Until we get the millenium we have got to do the best we can with it, just as we have got to do the best we can with a great many other evils. To my mind, as I have looked at it, I think that the wisest thing is strict police regulation.--The Rev. Dr. Wallace Radcliffe, pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington.

From a notice for a special meeting issued by the Hon. A. de R. Sappington, secretary of the Bar Association of Baltimore City.

Messrs. John J. Donaldson, George Whitelock, Sylvan Hayes Lauchheimer and Hon. S. S. Field will address the meeting.

Respectfully referred to the bilious and slanderous Democratic Telegram, with the renewed suggestion that it give up its persecution of the Hon. Mr. Field.

Don’t miss Bishop Wegg’s defense of the Belair speakeasies in today’s Letter Column. It is in his best ex cathedra manner and gives the highest moral ratification to a principle I have long maintained--the principle, to wit, that the true test of a law lies in the character and motives of the persons who are in favor of it. Bishop Wegg objects to license in his cathedral city on the ground that its chief defenders would be kaif-keepers, a class that he views with unutterable bile, as he views race-track gamblers and blacklegs with pious charity. He thinks it much better to have law-breaking by deacons and boot-leggers than the enforcement of the law by kaif-keepers. It is a pleasure to agree with the learned chorepiscopus in this doctrine. I myself think that it os better to have the Blue laws broken at Back River by tired workingmen, eager for a day of ease and a breath of fresh air, than to have them enforced by the assiduous wiskinskis and pussy-footed archangels of the Lord’s Day Alliance.

It is moved and seconded that a paragraph be entered upon the minutes in praise of the architect who designed the new building at the southwest corner of Lexington street and the Courthouse Plaza. Not only is it graceful and sightly in itself, but it also harmonizes most agreeably with the Gunther Building, which fills the rest of the plaza block. Here, in brief, and perhaps for the first time in downtown Baltimore, we have a palpable effort to obtain a reasonable harmony in architecture. Instead of merely trying to create a satisfying building, this architect has tried, and with considerable success, to create a satisfying block.

Would that there were more like him! The chief beauty of such a town as Paris lies in the harmony visible in its architecture, and particularly in the architecture of its private buildings. Look down any of the principal streets and you will note at once that most of the houses are of a height, and, what is more, that most of them are of the same general style. In the treatment of details there remains plenty of room for individual enterprise and skill. Some houses are quite commonplace. But taken together they produce an effect of order and dignity. There are no bloody wars between Doric and Gothic, Moorish and Tudor English, the pointed arch and the mansard roof, the Corinthian column and the Byzantine minaret. Huge towers do not leap indecently from squat Greek temples. The stories of one house are not twice as high as the stories of the house next door.

Even in London, a town generally hideous, an effort at harmony is still visible. True enough, you will find huge sarcophagi shouldering pretty little Georgian houses in Pall Mall, and a saturnalia of styles in Park lane, but in most other parts of the West End every separate street, beside its virtues in detail, has some virtue as a whole. It is, in fact, a street, and not a mere hodge-podge of houses. The roofline is broken, not by leaps, but by intelligible progressions. And if we cross the Channel and proceed to such streets as the Ludwigstrasse, in Munich, we find harmony become almost perfect.

Harmony, of course, does not mean sameness. Here in Baltimore, at least in our residence sections, we have plenty of sameness. One wanders for hours through endless rows of undifferentiated houses. Citizens in liquor are constantly pulling the wrong bells, swearing at the wrong keyholes. It is difficult, so I hear, even for a teetotaler to find his house on foggy nights; the wine-bibber, in despair, frankly gives it up and so stays down town. But that ugly and depressing monotony is not harmony--no more, indeed, than the beating of a tom-tom is music. Harmany means the agreeable co-ordination of distinct but related details. It is important that they have elements in common, but it is also important that they have elements not in common.

Such harmony is rare in Baltimore. South street, for example, which might well have had character and beauty, for its builders did not lack rnoney, is unspeakably and amazingly ugly. It has beautiful details, true enough, but the general effect is cacophonous and repulsive. So with Baltimore street, Lexington street, Hopkins Place. Even Mount Vernon Place, for all its charm, is still chaotic and disturbing. The serene dignity of a London square is not in it: the war between its antagonistic details is too savage and too noisy.

But here and there a better understanding of beauty begins to show itself. I have mentioned the case of the Courthouse Plaza, a gratifying move in the right direction. Better still is the palpable effort at harmony in the fine new residences now going up along Charles Street Boulevard. Here every detail is being skillfully subordinated to a beautiful whole, but without losing anything of individuality and fitness. The result promises to be a suburb of which any capital in Europe might be proud.

Boil your drinking water! Cover your garbage can! Mallet the recrudescent fly!