This block has been vacant and falling apart for years. Baltimore Development Corporation appeared to understand the urgency in fixing at least two of the buildings in 2015, but it doesn’t look like anything was ever done. (See Westside Building Assessment for Park 414 and 412. Links open a PDF.) 406 Park Avenue was listed on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties. (Link opens a PDF)
Sadly, the ownership chain for this property is completely convoluted. It was foreclosed on at one point, then it appears to have been purchased in a tax sale in the late 1990s, then it was condemned by the City in 2004.
However, it did have one notable occupant, and it’s a wonderful little home, tucked inside a row and set back from the sidewalk.
The home was once lived in by a Mr. John B. Sanks, whose colorful obituary graced the pages of the Afro-American in 1911. Mr. Sanks was born in 1831, and his obituary is as follows:
Mr. John B. Sanks Passes Away
John B. Sanks, one of the best known of the older Masons in the city, died at his home, 1144 Argyle avenue, Thursday afternoon of last week, after a lingering illness.
He was born in Northumberland county, va., nearly 75 years ago.
He came to Baltimore at an early age, and had been connected with Sharp Street Memorial M. E. Church since 1861. For seventeen consecutive years he as superintenent of the Sunday School and had filled about every official position in the church. He was also a member of various departments of the Masonic fraternity. Over 28 years ago he served as grand master for Maryland and was one of the delegates to the Masonic centennial celebration in Philadelphia.
The deceased is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mary A. Sanks, one daughter, Mrs. William I. Butler, Jr., and several grandchildren.
The funeral services at Sharp St. Church Monday afternoon were largely attended. The opening prayer was by Rev. Dr. I. L. Thomas and the Scripture lesson was read by Rev. C. G. Cummings. After brief eulogies by Revs. E. W. S. Peck, and N. M. Carroll, Rev. W. A. C. Hughes delivered the funeral oration. The life and services of the deceased were extolled by the pastor, and the departed was eulogized as one of the most zealous of the members of the church.
The Masonic fraternity under the leadership of Grand Master Thomas Jones conducted the services peculiar to their order. The Grand Lodge, Blue Lodge, Knights Templar and Royal Arch Chapter and Odd Fellows were represented.
This is a curious old building, tucked away in a residential neighborhood that’s home to some blighted blocks, an apartment complex, and a new-ish suburban-looking subdivision.
On further research, it turns out that this property might be the oldest school building in Baltimore City, built in 1858. A shame that once again, the city has allowed a piece of Baltimore history to rot away.
The original building received an addition in 1882, which was found somewhat unsatisfactory when reported in the “Reports of the City Officers and Departments”:
The addition, made to No. 18 Primary School, on Argyle avenue near Lanvale street, is now occupied by the school, and supplies accommodations which have long been needed. In the Male Department, though, the lighting has been seriously impaired by the addition. This could have been avoided by putting the stairway at the north end of the building instead of putting it between the old and new portions. Now, it is necessary to improve the light in the rooms of the old building, which are adjacent to the addition.”
Property Address: 1411 and 1413 Kuper Street, Baltimore, MD 21223
Property Owner (1411): 2008 DRR-ETS, LLC, 3604 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21224 (Click on link for more blighted homes owned by this shell company.)
Resident Agent for 2008 DRR-ETS, LLC: Anthony J Delaurentis, c/o Delaurentis, Reiff and Reid, same address.
Property Owner (1413): 1413 Kuper Street, LLC, 1 N Wheeler Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21223 (Company charter has been forfeited, company is not in good standing.) No resident agent on file for 1413 Kuper Street, LLC.