Poor City Families Find Respite at Country Home


Escaping the heat, dirt and pollution of the city during the oppressive summer months wasn’t a hardship for wealthy Baltimoreans in the Roaring ’20s. But for the city’s Jewish poor, often living in overcrowded and unhealthy conditions, escape to anything but a nearby city park was out of reach.

Jewish philanthropists and aid societies such as the Hebrew Benevolent Society, Daughters in Israel, the Maccabeans and the Jewish Educational Alliance, which became the Jewish Community Center, established summer getaway homes and camps outside the city environs, such as at Woodland Country home near Catonsville, the subject of the Associated News page in the Aug. 9, 1929, edition of the JT.

“To many people the Woodland Country Home is merely a name without particular significance,” the article says. “To hundreds of Baltimore Jewish mothers and children, however, the Woodlands Country Home is literally a blessed place during the summer months.”

Photos of children relaxing, exercising and enjoying a game of volleyball among wide, airy lawns and large shady trees accompany the article.

“Situated in one of the most beautiful regions near Catonsville, away from the stifling heat of the city, it affords an opportunity for rest and recreation for those who need it most. Tired mothers, burdened with household cares and duties, are able to secure a two weeks’ rest from drudgery and are afforded an opportunity to build up their strength for the winter months ahead. Here you will find babies, to whom a few weeks of fresh air and sunshine means the foundation of health for the coming year; boys and girls of school age and younger, undernourished and weak, sometimes physically disabled.”

The camp included six bungalows and an administration house. Families received “plain, wholesome food” and participated in “simple lessons” in cooking and “cleanliness” to “improve their mode of living and raise their standard of health, thus lightening the burden of their struggle for existence.”

Flashback is a feature that honors the JT’s 100th anniversary. Have a particular date you’d like us to look at? Let us know.


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