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 Arts and Crafts details were gradually superseded by design elements more strictly associated with the Georgian Revival style.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
The National Register of Historic Places is a list of properties acknowledged by the Federal government as worthy of preservation for their significance in American history and culture. National Register properties include districts, buildings, sites, and objects of significance to their local community, state, or the nation.
The National Register is maintained by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior and administered by the National Park Service. In Maryland, the National Register program is administered by the Maryland Historical Trust, the State Historic Preservation Office. Certain state and Federal regulatory protections, financial assistance, and tax benefits are available for resources listed in the National Register. Information on these programs is listed here.
The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development, Division of Historical and Cultural Programs maintains the Maryland Rehabilitation Tax Credits. The Heritage Preservation Tax Credit Program, administered by the Maryland Historical Trust, provides Maryland income tax credits equal to 20% of the qualified capital costs expended in the rehabilitation of a “certified heritage structure.”