Then and Now: The 'Burbs

Many of the city's surrounding communities, blossomed into true “streetcar suburbs”

Edited by Ron Cassie - May 2014

Then and Now: The 'Burbs

Many of the city's surrounding communities, blossomed into true “streetcar suburbs”

Edited by Ron Cassie - May 2014

Dundalk -Reprinted with permission of The Baltimore Sun Media Group. All Rights Reserved.

Get Baltimore Daily.

Sign up today and you'll get our latest stories delivered straight to your inbox every weekday afternoon.


In 1916, Bethlehem Steel Corporation purchased 1,000 acres to build housing for nearby Sparrows Point workers. With winding, tree-lined streets modeled after the garden-city design of neighborhoods like Roland Park, Dundalk became a haven for blue-collar, middle-class families. It's also become known for its July Fourth parade and annual Heritage Fair—a three-day Independence Day celebration.


Towson, like many of the city's surrounding communities, blossomed as a true “streetcar suburb." It's growth was supported by service from the No. 8 streetcar line, pictured below circa 1950, which shuttled between the Baltimore County seat and Catonsville via the city center. At 16-plus miles, the No. 8 was the longest line in the country and, in November 1963, the final one to cease operation.

Downtown Towson is undergoing another renaissance with a recently renovated and expanded Towson Town Center, plus a new $300 million "transformation" project announced last year by county officials.

Columbia -Courtesy of Design Collective Inc., for Howard Country Department of Planning and Zoning


Howard County

The brainchild of developer James W. Rouse, Columbia was created upon the ideals of racial, religious, and economic diversity—hard to come by in suburban 1960s America. Rouse's vision included attracting enough businesses to create an economic base for his new city, and building a mix of detached single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments available at rents and prices to match the income of all local workers. The first residents moved in in 1967, and the planned community, encompassing 10 self-contained villages, hasn't looked back.

Bengie's Drive-In

Opening June 6, 1956, the Middle River theater is entering its 59th season of showing first-run features on its giant screen, purported to be the largest in the U.S.

Gino's Restaurant -Courtesy of The Baltimore Museum of Industry

That was then, this is now

Gino's Restaurant

Named after Colts defensive end and restaurant co-founder Gino Marchetti, the first Gino's opened in Dundalk in 1957. The franchise was bought out in 1982, and its last burger joint closed in 1986. Marchetti and his partners revived the company in 2010, and the Towson location opened in 2011, followed by locations in Glen Burnie, the stadiums, Aberdeen, and Bensalem, PA.

You May Also Like

The Chatter

'Marshall’ Director and Star Discuss Legendary Civil Rights Lawyer

Legal thriller built around Baltimore’s Thurgood Marshall hits the big screen.

The Chatter

Local Leaders Call on Trump to Protect “Dreamers”

An Obama-era program to protect young immigrants is in jeopardy of being reversed.

Outside World

First New Street Unveiled in Port Covington

Pedestrian-only Rye Street runs only 190 feet, but offers public access to waterfront.

News & Community

Cameo: Heidi Daniel

We talk to the new CEO and president of Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Arts & Culture

Don't Touch That Dial

WYPR looks good at 15.

The Chatter

Bike Share Temporarily Shut Down

Theft, vandalism and maintenance issues force retooling on cusp of one-year anniversary of city program.

-Reprinted with permission of The Baltimore Sun Media Group. All Rights Reserved.

Connect With Us

Most Read

Pillow Talk
Add a pop of color, texture, and personality to any room.

The Gringo's Guide to Tacos
Charm City's taco scene comes into its own.

Washington D.C. Arts Guide
From concerts and art exhibits to comedy and theater, we round up the best events to check out in the District.

Squad Leader
Raised in Hawaii, Ken Niumatalolo has found a home in Annapolis.

Small World
Small batch products are bigger than ever.