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History

MWIA is one of the oldest continuously running neighborhood associations in the United States. It was founded in 1885 when Mount Washington was largely a retreat for the city's wealthy.

The neighborhood has evolved quite a bit over time and MWIA has evolved along with the times.

MWIA stopped development of these fields
MWIA stopped development of these fields

Some notable achievements that MWIA has been a part of:

Community Garden at NW Park
Community Garden at NW Park

MWIA has been supportive of local organizations such as the Mount Washington Preservation Trust and the community garden at Northwest Park. In many ways, MWIA is the advocacy arm of our community. It supports the community activism of the neighborhood whenever it is in the interests of the neighborhood. Its support consists of money, politicking, and awareness.

Join MWIA today and help contribute to our ability to help the neighborhood. We also need volunteers with the time and experience to help move our goals forward.

The Making of the Mount Washington Improvement Association

By Ira Kolman, Former MWIA president

The origin of the Mount Washington Improvement Association dates to November 1885, when Mount Washington was part of Baltimore County. Four men, John Graham, Edward Gernand, John Carter, and W.S. Powell, met to formally establish the new entity. According to Mark Miller, author of “Mount Washington-Baltimore Suburb” (Gordon’s, 1980), at that time, Mount Washington roads were still dirt or gravel and paved sidewalks were nonexistent. It was getting more difficult to acquire clean water, and, as a result, destructive fires ravaged houses.

The minutes from that first meeting on November 30 read: “We are organized to secure better roads, better lighting, better drainage, better police protection and other public conveniences in our village.” According to Miller, membership in the newly created Association was limited to Mount Washington residents only. The boundaries at that time were: “The south side of Belvedere on the south, and the north side of Smith Avenue on the north, the Northern Central railroad on the east, and a line running parallel on Jones Falls from the corner of Green Spring Avenue on Belvedere Avenue, to the north side of Smith Avenue on the north, shall represent said Village.”

The Association tried to have the state legislature incorporate Mount Washington because the residents felt neglected by county authorities responsible for the maintenance of sanitary and transportation facilities. Those incorporation attempts failed. However, as one resident wrote: “One thing is sure, since the series of meetings were held in which the incorporation idea came to existence, there has been more work done on our roads and sidewalks in three months than done in five previous years. Acting upon the motto ‘Union is Strength,’ let us go to work now and perfect our Village Society, the very existence of which in our own opinion will be a potent force in our midst.” Mount Washington was annexed to the City of Baltimore in 1919. As can be seen from this brief history, the MWIA has a strong foundation upon which current members continue to build. Still believing that “Union is Strength,” the MWIA will keep working to “perfect our Village Society.”