Pictured above is Francis Joseph Zeller (1897-1979), AKA Frank, on 19 June 1910. He was about a month shy of 13 years old. As you can see from the caption on the back (below), he is standing in the back yard of 1529 Holbrook Street, Baltimore, MD “which mother kept neatly and proudly.” Holbrook Street is in the neighborhood of Oliver (see map below). I have not yet determined which of Frank’s sisters wrote that.
Frank was the son of Louis M. Zeller (1864-1926) and Margaret Ann Buechner (1868-1938). Louis purchased 1529 Holbrook Street from Ella A. Murphy in 1907. The house was subject to a ground rent of $39 until Louis acquired the ground from W. Allen Hammond in 1920. Margaret sold the house to Frank after Louis died in 1926 but maintained ownership of the ground. In 1937 Margaret and Louis sold the house and ground to Frank’s sister, Caroline M. Zeller (1893-1965), and her husband, Benjamin Harrison “Harry” Gosnell (1889-1960). Caroline and Harry had owned 1544 Holbrook Street since 1927. I’ll tell you more about the Gosnells in a future post.
The next door neighbor whose window is visible and mentioned in the caption was Ella M. Carlin (1858-1946) who lived at 1527 Holbrook Street. She was married to John W. Harris (1852-??). Her brother Louis B. Carlin (1864-1930) lived with them there at the time of his death.
Here is the back of the above photograph:
In the next photograph of Frank, developed 2 May 1933, he is 35 years old and again standing in the back yard of 1529 Holbrook Street. The dog in the photograph belonged to Eva M. Smith (1890-1981) who was married to John W. Bates (1897-1969). They were neighbors two doors down at 1525 Holbrook Street.
The three-story residences behind Frank were in the 1500 block of Aisquith Street. These three-story residences were replaced by two-story residences in the 1970s. A 10 June 1970 article in the Baltimore Sun discussed the recent demolition of 1531, 1533, and 1535 Aisquith Street, after they were condemned by the Baltimore Department of Housing and Community Development. The article noted that 1531 Aisquith Street was owned by a couple living in Trieste, Italy. A lien of $1200 was placed against the property to cover the costs of razing the house and “wall patching” at 1529 Aisquith Street, which was left standing, but a spokesman for the Department was quoted as saying “it’s going to be difficult to collect.” Almost 50 years later the problems associated with dilapidated housing and absentee owners still exist in Baltimore.
Below is a recent Google Earth Street View view of 1525, 1527, and 1529 Holbrook Street. All three of the houses are vacant.
Here is a map of the neighborhood of Oliver with Holbrook Street marked in red”
These photographs were among about 50 I purchased from an antique store on The Avenue in the Hampden neighborhood of Baltimore in July 2017.
Watch this blog for more of what these photographs tell us about the Zeller Family and life in ancient Baltimore.