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Old West Baltimore


In 2004, over a decade ago, the Old West Baltimore Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The area is historically significant as Baltimore’s premier early African American neighborhood. Beginning in the 1890s, African Americans began occupying houses on the main streets of this area, most notably Druid Hill Avenue.

The Old West Baltimore community is the nation’s largest registered African American historic district. The designated Pennsylvania Avenue Black Arts and Entertainment District is the commercial main street in this area. The Colored High and Training School, later renamed Frederick Douglass High School, along with other segregated schools within the district produced many prominent individuals, such as the nation’s first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and educator, tennis champion, and one of the 16 founders of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Lucy Diggs Slowe. Many notables visited, such as Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Countee Cullen, Romare Bearden, Madame C.J. Walker, Marcus Garvey, and entertainer Princess Wee Wee.


For the last three decades, Philip J. Merrill, CEO & Founder of Nanny Jack & Co, LLC has preserved, documented, presented, and written about the history of Old West Baltimore through research, oral history, and artifacts within the company’s archives. This website focuses on the people, places, and historical legacies of Old West Baltimore is maintained by Nanny Jack & Co.

For more information on the designation of Historic Old West Baltimore, visit:

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