Mount Vernon is a neighborhood located just to the north of downtown Baltimore, Maryland. Designated a National Landmark Historic District and a city Cultural District, it is one of the city's oldest neighborhoods and originally was home to the city's most wealthy and fashionable families. The name derives from the Mount Vernon home of George Washington; the original Washington Monument, a massive pillar commenced in 1815 to commemorate the first president of the United States, is the defining feature of the neighborhood.
The Baltimore City Planning Commission defines the neighborhood as being bound by Eager Street to the North, The Jones Falls Expressway (JFX) to the east, Franklin Street to the South, and Eutaw Street to the West. The Commission also considers the northern section to be the Midtown-Belvedere neighborhood after the Belvidere estate of John Eager Howard, the Revolutionary War patriot. The Inner Harbor is about half a mile south of Centre Street.
Being close to downtown, Mount Vernon is well-served by public transit. Many area major bus routes head through the neighborhood on their way to the financial district. The Light Rail line runs down Howard Street on the west edge of the neighborhood, and the Metro Subway runs beneath Eutaw Street a block west of that; both have stations within easy walking distance of the neighborhood. Penn Station, served by Amtrak and MARC commuter rail, is also one block to the north past Mount Royal Avenue and over the JFX.
Although mainly residential, Mount Vernon-Belvedere is home to a mix of institutions, including the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University, Walters Art Museum, University of Baltimore, Maryland Historical Society, Maryland Institute College of Art, Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, Baltimore School for the Arts, Lyric Opera House, Center Stage, Enoch Pratt Free Library Central Branch, Contemporary Museum, Spotlighters Theatre, Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute, and Theatre Project.
In the decades after World War II, the neighborhood has also become home to many professional service providers, including medical and legal offices, publishing firms, architectural firms, insurance and financial institutions, and fund managers. Art galleries, retail stores, hotels, and bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) also populate the neighborhood, and Mount Vernon has a rich nightlife, with many fine restaurants, cafes, and bars located along Charles Street and throughout the neighborhood.
Mount Vernon is home to some of the most beautiful and well-preserved 19th century architecture on the East Coast of the United States. The centerpiece of the neighborhood is the area around the Washington Monument, where stately palatial homes face onto four small parks that radiate from the monument. The parks, which have survived almost intact, are considered to be the finest existing urban landscapes by the beaux-arts architectural firm of Carrere & Hastings, who also designed the New York Public Library, portions of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and the residence that houses the Frick Collection. Elsewhere in the neighborhood are many older apartment buildings and three- and four-story rowhouses; most of the latter were originally single-family dwellings. Though many have been broken up into multiple apartments, a growing number are being restored back to single family use.
On the northeast corner of Washington's monument sits the Mount Vernon United Methodist Church. Conceived as a cathedral of Methodism, it was built on the site of the Charles Howard mansion – the house in which Francis Scott Key died. The southeast corner is occupied entirely by buildings comprising the Peabody Institute, and the southwest corner includes three buildings forming the Walters Art Museum.
As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there were 4,520 people residing in the neighborhood. The racial makeup of Mount Vernon was 55.3% White, 33.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 7.4% Asian, 1.2% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population. 5.6% of occupied housing units were owner-occuped. 10.2% of housing units were vacant.
60.4% of the population were employed, 3.5% were unemployed, and 36.0% were not in the labor force, a reflection in part of the student population. The median household income was $21,225. About 15.2% of families and 26.9% of the population were below the poverty line.
The neighborhood also has a reputation as a gay village. Although it is by no means an exclusively gay community, a number of Baltimore's most prominent gay bars are in Mount Vernon, and it is the center of activity during Baltimore's annual Gay Pride festival.
- Mount Vernon - Belvedere Community Association
- Mount Vernon Cultural Distrtict
- Live in Baltimore
- Demographics from Neighborhood Indicators Alliance
- Baltimore, Maryland, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary