Oakenshawe is an example of an early 20th century Streetcar Suburb. The name Oakenshawe derives from Henry Wilson’s estate, once located in this area. Built between 1916 and 1925 to coordinated designs by brother architects Flournoy and Flournoy, 337 houses were laid out in the manner of English garden suburbs in “terraces” which employ the design of each dwelling to make larger symmetrical groupings. Georgian Revival building materials were used: red brick, gray slate roofs, wood sash and casement windows. The original advertisement proclaimed that no two houses were exactly alike.
Oakenshawe also includes Calvin Avenue. These Victorian homes were built 126 years ago. According to the Maryland Historical Society, Calvin Avenue was one of the first, if not the first, integrated streets in the United States.
Since architectural history is always in flux, the earlier houses of Oakenshawe also reflect the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, a development begun in England in the 1870’s that remained popular in the U.S. throughout the 1920’s. This style includes the use of small windows and clipped gables. Arts and Crafts details were gradually superseded by design elements more strictly associated with the Georgian Revival style.
Oakenshawe’s Historic Designation
Oakenshawe is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Oakenshawe Historic District. The National Register is a list of places acknowledged by the federal government as worthy of preservation for their significance in American history and culture. These places include districts, buildings, sites, and objects of significance and are eligible for certain state and federal regulatory protections, financial assistance, and tax benefits.
The Maryland Historical Trust administers the National Register program in Maryland. One program the Trust oversees is a state income tax credit for homeowners equal to 20% of qualified expenditures in the rehabilitation of certified historic structures. Eligible properties must be single-family, owner-occupied residences and within a historic district, e.g., homes within Oakenshawe. Qualified expenditures include roof repair and replacement, masonry repointing, plumbing systems, and floor refinishing. For more information, visit Maryland Historical Trust.