Clifton Park, Baltimore
Clifton Park is a public urban park located between the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello and Waverly neighborhoods to the west and the Belair-Edison community to the north in the northeast section of Baltimore, Maryland, United States. It is roughly bordered by Erdman Avenue to the northeast, Sinclair Lane to the south, Harford Road to the northwest and Belair Road to the southeast. The eighteen-hole Clifton Park Golf Course, which is the site of the annual Clifton Park Golf Tournament, occupies the north side of the park.
The land on which Clifton Park sits was once farmland. In 1838, it was bought by local merchant and philanthropist Johns Hopkins (1795-1873) for his estate (along with his city mansion on West Saratoga Street between North Charles and Cathedral-Liberty-South Sharp Streets, next to the old St. Paul's Church Rectory where he died), and was later developed with a nearby lake and a large sculpture collection. Later, in 1858, it was converted into an Italianate villa with a tall landmark tower. It was originally planned by Mr. Hopkins to locate the campus of his future bequest of Johns Hopkins University there which opened in February 1876, but was relocated by the appointed Board of Trustees and first President, Daniel Coit Gilman for monetary and research-reference (Peabody Institute and the George Peabody Library) reasons, plus the nearby location of a possible prep secondary school in the Baltimore City College, to first situate itself in several downtown buildings built along North Howard and Little Ross Streets (between West Centre and West Monument Streets in the southwest corner of the Mount Vernon-Belvedere neighborhood. The mansion from when it was a farmland was once used as the pro shop at the golf course and offices for the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks.[n 1] Now, the headquarters of a local service based nonprofit, Civic Works, inc., are located within the Clifton Mansion. Civic Works is currently doing a $7 million renovation to the Clifton Mansion. The Clifton Mansion address is 2701 Saint Lo Drive; Baltimore, Maryland, 21213.
On the land is the Clifton Park Valve House, an 8-sided distinctive stone structure with a cone roof that has become a local landmark that was used beginning in 1887 as a water transporter, with eight valves. It supplied water for the whole village and water for cropping.
St. Vincent de Paul Church Cemetery borders the golf course in the southeast section of the park. Still owned by the church, which is located about three miles southwest of the cemetery, it is a seven-acre burial ground for about 2,000 parishioners of Irish, German and Italian descent dating back to the mid-19th century. Heavily hit by vandalism during the 1960s, it was officially closed in the early 1980s and has since fallen into disrepair. Cleanup and maintenance of the cemetery began in mid-2010.
Clifton Park became the central area where Maryland National Guard troops were moved in and out of Baltimore during the riots of April 1968 centering in the Jonestown/Old Town commercial neighborhood along North Gay Street following the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. It was there that the troops camped out during their mission. They guarded the streets against looting during the day and slept at the park during the night hours. Dallas Arthur, a National Guard soldier, describes the situation as intense when he relates to roadblocks posted near Clifton Park.
Clifton Park once had a lake as part of the Baltimore City Department of Public Works metropolitan water system, named Lake Clifton Reservoir; this was drained in the late 1960s . On this site, Lake Clifton High School, (now referred to as the "Lake Clifton Campus"), was built in 1971, which is the largest school campus in physical size in the Baltimore City Public Schools system and one of the largest in the country built at the time. The ancient all-girls secondary school of Eastern High School (founded 1844) after the 1984 closure of its 1938 building to the northeast on East 33rd Street and Loch Raven Boulevard (opposite Memorial Stadium) was merged with Lake Clifon for a number of years. The campus currently comprises two small schools: Heritage High School and the REACH! Partnership School.[n 2]
Clifton Park is also home to Real Food Farm, a 6-acre urban sustainable farm managed by Civic Works, Inc. that was started in 2009. The farm aims to increase food access in the neighborhoods around the park, demonstrate the economic potential of urban farming, and provides experiential education opportunities to the students from Heritage, REACH! and other public city schools.[n 3]
- Civic Works, Inc.
- Civic Works, Inc. manages as the operator and CEO of the REACH! Partnership School. More information about the schools can be found on the official websites about the schools.
- Real Food Farm is adjacent to the athletic fields. Additional references and information can be found on the webpage "About - in the news" and the "Official website of Real Food Farm". Information relating to Real Food Farm can be found on Lake Clifton Eastern High School article.
- Clifton Park. Department of Recreation and Parks, Baltimore.
- Clifton Park (venues & attractions). Baltimore Fun Guide.
- Jacques Kelly (July 18, 2010). "Descendants want unmarked cemetery to be maintained." The Baltimore Sun.
- Jacques Kelly (September 20, 2010). "Cleanup takes place at neglected cemetery in Clifton Park." The Baltimore Sun.
- "Official website of Heritage High School". Heritage High School. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- "Official website of the REACH! Partnership School". The REACH! Partnership School. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- "Hoop Dreams". The Baltimore City Paper. 2009-10-21. Retrieved 2012-05-06.
- "About - in the news (Real Food Farm)". Real Food Farms. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- "Official website of Real Food Farm". Real Food Farm. Retrieved 2012-05-17.
- Civic Works, Inc at the Clifton Mansion (accessed and retrieved on May 6, 2012).
- History and description of the park (accessed and retrieved on May 6, 2012).
- Brief description and address (accessed and retrieved on May 6, 2012).
- Map showing the location of the park (accessed and retrieved on October 14, 2007).
- Clifton Mansion at Explore Baltimore Heritage