Liberty Housing Company Dundalk Collection - PP137

Collection finding aids of Photograph Collections in the Prints and Photographs Division of the Maryland Historical Society Library


Prints and Photographs Division, Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Finding aid created by Katherine Cowan with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, July 1999



In 1916, the Bethlehem Steel Company purchased an existing foundry from Henry McShane in Dundalk, Baltimore County, with the intention of expanding it. McShane had built a foundry in this farming area, formerly known as Patapsco Neck, ca. 1870, later naming it Dundalk after his home town in Ireland. In 1917, Bethlehem Steel purchased some thousand acres of land and formed the Dundalk Company in order to construct housing for their workers. With the onset of World War I, the U.S. government took over steel production facilities in the vicinity of Fort Holabird for defense purposes, and secured the area, with the U.S. Shipping Board taking over the house building at that point. After the war, private development resumed, and the community was marketed to steel workers at the Sparrows Point Ship Building Yard. The result was Dundalk, the first planned community in Baltimore County, created in consultation with the developers of Roland Park in Baltimore city.

The St. Helena section of Dundalk was marketed by the Liberty Housing Company, with houses designed by Baltimore architect Edward L. Palmer, Jr. in conjunction with Edward Henry Bouton. Homes were available in detached and semi-detached styles, and in blocks of four, six, or nine. Houses featured brick foundations laid in cement, slate roofs, and walls of hollow tile with stucco exterior. Indoor conveniences included gas for cooking and hot water, both gas and electric light connections, coal furnaces, and modern plumbing and sewer systems. Streets in the area were paved with cement sidewalks, and the area was carefully landscaped to avoid the perception of crowding and to allow gardens for growing vegetables and flowers.

Collection Origin

Provenance unknown.

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 1 box with 3 folders containing 17 photoprints produced by the Dundalk Company in 1918, showing several stages of housing construction in the St. Helena section of Dundalk. Workers are shown, including African Americans. All photos are captioned within the image with date and location.

Note: There is also a marketing pamphlet produced by the Liberty Housing Company.


The photographs are arranged in folders according to PP catalog number.

Container List

1 Box

Box 1: 3 Folders

Box 1, Folder 1
PP137.1-.7 – House construction in various stages. 7 items.

Box 1, Folder 2
PP137.8-.14 – Houses near completion, with roads and sewer lines under construction. 7 items.

Box 1, Folder 3
PP137.15-.17 – Houses near completion, with roads under construction. 3 items. © 2001 Maryland Historical Society - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Internet Management - WEBNETT