St. Helena

"People are involved - they care!"
"We can walk to everything we need."
"My neighbors watch out for me."


What's great about St. Helena

The neighborhood predates Dundalk, and several blocks are a National Historic District.
Great access to Interstates 695, 95 and to Baltimore City
Housing is affordable.
Churches, parks, shops, eateries, post office, pharmacy are all within walking distance.
Easy access to Old Dundalk, Main Street, schools and Heritage Park.
Family-friendly, with lots of activities and events.
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Boundaries

Holabird Avenue (north)    
Dunhill Road (south)
Dundalk Avenue (east)
Broening Highway (west)

Overview

St. Helena has been part of the region's steelmaking story since its earliest days. It began to change from a farm area to an urban community as early as 1882, the year the first railroad was built after Sparrows Point had been purchased by the Maryland Steel Company. As that industry grew, homes for workers were erected, and much of St. Helena's housing was constructed for bachelor boarders who ate in commissaries - many original homes had no kitchens! Renovations to add kitchens were finished before housing in other parts of Dundalk were even built.

Today, St. Helena has an eclectic mix of housing that includes wood frame, concrete, brick and Formstone. Most date from the early 1900s through the 1940s, although there are some newer homes to be found. The neighborhood is partly within the city of Baltimore but most is in Baltimore County, surrounded on three sides by industry, and has a secluded, insulated feel. Lots of residents grew up in St. Helena and have family here, and the area has attracted young families as well.

For a small neighborhood, there 
are lots of churches and parks to go around! St. Helena Park has a playground, ball fields, a bathroom building, a dog park, and new shrubs and landscaping - ots of large trees provide shade for kids and parents. Cornell Playground is tucked away in the neighborhood, and Cimaglia Park at Fort Holabird will be completed in November 2013. Once finished, it will offer residents a reforestation area, open meadow, wetland with a scenic overlook, open recreation area, ball fields, community gardens,a natural spring system, basketball court, picnic area and parking lot.


St. Helena residents suppport an amazing number of  
events - neighborhood cleanups and dumpters days, a year-long aluminum can collection to support an annual college scholarship, a community Christmas party, the Annual Harvest Fest, the National Neighborhood Day, a community yard sale, and Dundalk Antiques Appraisal Day. The community also sponsors Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts,and conducts an annual food drive for Thanksgiving distribution.


Housing choices                             

Rental apartments
Row houses and attached homes
Single detached homes


Parks and other attractions

St. Helena Park and Dog Park
Cornell Playground
Cimaglia Park at Fort Holabird (completed Nov. 2013)
St. Helena Community Center
Dundalk Memorial VFW


Neighborhood and civic organizations

St. Helena Community Association (city)
St. Helena Neighborhood Association (county)

Both meet (jointly) the first Thursday of each month at the St. Helena Community Center


Schools

Dundalk Elementary School - 2717 Playfield Street
(410) 887-7013
Logan Elementary School – 7601 Dunmanway
(410) 887-7052
Dundalk Middle School - 7400 Dunmanway
(410) 887-7018
Dundalk High School  -1901 Delvale Avenue
(410) 887-7023
Community College of Baltimore County - 7200 Sollers Point Road (443) 840-2222


Faith-based organizations

St. Timothy's Evangelical Lutheran Church
Flagship House of Prayer
First Baptist Church
Dundalk Community Church of God
New Light Lutheran Church
The Light of Christ Church International
Dundalk Seventh-Day Adventists

History

St. Helena is an island in the South Atlantic Ocean where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled after his defeat at Waterloo. Our St. Helena, part of Dundalk and Baltimore City, was so named by Col. Arthur Bryan, a Britisher, who had served as an army officer in wars with the French. It is thought that he secured the land as a grant from Lord Baltimore. Ryan farmed in what was later to become the Dundalk area and called his spread ‘Bonaparte’ after England’s foe, whom he held in high regard. But his daughters objected to the name and begged their father to change it, so Col. Bryan changed the name to St. Helena.

The first railroad was built through St. Helena in 1882, after Sparrows Point had been purchased by the Maryland Steel Company. This provided the means to ship coal and iron to the works there, and to bring away the rails that were manufactured.

St. Helena was established several years before Dundalk, and on Sept. 8, 1898, Miss  Annie Grace, as the first Principal, opened the doors of the St. Helena School. The school was temporarily housed in the basement of the St. Helena Presbyterian Church, and by 1900, a 1-room school opened to serve the 30 students in the area. Within 2 years, two additional rooms were added, and by 1919, three portables were erected on the small playground. The building still exists today and is currently owned by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization.

There was no fire department in the area in 1895, and the closest one was in Canton. Because it took over ½ hour for a messenger to get there to summon help, the St. Helena residents requested a fire alarm box. That request was denied, and after many debates, the St. Helena residents took action. They procured their own ‘engine’ – an enormous water tank on wheels with attached hoses – that men pulled to fires. Eventually they were able to secure horses for this task.

In 1916, The Bethlehem Steel Co. acquired the Sparrows Point plant, owned at that point by the Pennsylvania Steel Co., and needed homes for its workers. Through its subsidiary, The Dundalk Co., it bought up all available land between Holabird Ave. and Bear Creek, a tract of 1,000 acres. But before any construction was started, the Government restricted private building. However, to accommodate shipyard workers at the Point, the U.S. Shipping Board built 531 stucco houses on the ‘ship’ streets in north Dundalk and 284 units in St. Helena. Those homes were barely finished when the war ended, and Uncle Sam pulled out and sold the homes to private individuals. The units in St. Helena had been constructed strictly for bachelor boarders, however, who ate in commissaries, and a kitchen had to be built at the rear of each before it could be sold. Since World War I brought growth, Dundalk had mushroomed.  A 1919 ad noted that 135 homes were sold in St. Helena in six days.

St. Helena learned about the woes of industrial society when Harbor Field was built on nearby fill land, and the drone of planes filled the air. Serious pollution problems were apparent in 1941, and residents took a paint manufacturer to court, claiming that the firm was fouling the air. The company was ordered to change its ways. Fourteen years and one war later, the same residents were back in court, and the company spent almost $1 million to end fumes and noise. Such is the determination of the St. Helena residents to protect their community!