All Class Reunion 2014-Part One

Forest Park High School's All Class Reunion is an annual event that grows each year. Hosted by a dedicated group of Forest Park alumni, the event reconnects students from across decades and raises funds for current students.

School 18 Project is a multi-year retrospective of Baltimore's Park Circle + area communities. We tell, document and preserve the history.

Forest Park Files: New All Saints Church

One of the long standing institutions of the Forest Park Community is New All Saints Roman Catholic Church (merger of All Saints and Our Lady of Lourdes congregations). It has served as a guide for parishioners and students alike. It is also the venue of choice for Forest Park High School’s annual all-class reunion. Like many other well lived communities, Forest Park neighborhoods have its obstacles but also a rich history that will serve it well into the future. More info on New All Saints in our forthcoming church series.


The Forest Park Files: Forest Park HS

Opening in the early 1920’s, Forest Park began as a combination high school/junior high at 4300 Chatham Road. In 1932 Garrison Junior High School opened at Garrison and Barrington Road. Garrison, which later became Garrison Middle School, has recently closed after 80 years of educating Baltimore’s youth. Forest Park stood at Chatham Road for more than five decades. In the late 70’s the building was razed to make way for the current building that sits on Eldorado Avenue.

C. Green | RockRose Pictures

C. Green | RockRose Pictures

Streetscapes: Liberty Heights & Gwynn Oak #1

Liberty Heights & Gwynn Oak 1952: I marvel at Coca Cola's marketing with the use of prominent signage. The store behind the Read's truck displays Coca Cola signage.


Streetscapes: Liberty Heights & Gwynn Oak #2

Liberty Heights & Gwynn Oak 1952: Baltimore at one time was scattered with movie theaters. The Gwynn Theatre operated from the 1930s-early 1950s. Across the street was the Ambassador Theatre which opened in the 1930s as well. Its last showing reportedly was in 1968. Since then the building has been used for various ventures including a cosmetology school.

Also prominent is the Ben Franklin store. Ben Franklin was a five and dime franchise that some say was the first retail franchise in America. Ironically, the late Sam Walton who started Walmart got his start in retail by owning a Ben Franklin franchise.

This area was also a thriving commercial district. As malls became prominent some neighborhood commercial districts became more economically challenged. But what ultimately changed communities like this was integration. This was not simply because of Blacks moving into neighborhoods but the behind the scene strategies that were initiated to stall the development of progressive Black communities and contain Black business development. It is the plan of the School 18 Project to detail this history in the near future.


Streetscapes: Liberty Heights & Garrison #2

Liberty Heights & Garrison 1952: This area was a thriving commercial district. Check the Pabst Blue Ribbon truck. Pabst started in 1844 and at one time was known as "your grandfather's beer". In fact, it was this writer's grandmother favorite beer. Today it is more popular with "hipsters" and is known in some professional circles as "retro chic" beer.

In the 1950's the area still had significant walking traffic. That would change decades later as more people owned cars.