“Crittenton Home was originally the home of David Carroll, owner of
the Mount Vernon Mill Company. The building got its name after being
absorbed by the Florence Crittenton Mission in 1925.
was started in 1882 by wealthy New Yorker and Protestant evangelist
Charles Crittenton who made his fortune in pharmaceuticals. After losing
his four year old daughter Florence to Scarlet
Fever, Crittenton dedicated himself to philanthropy, using his wealth
to open sanctuaries for unwed mothers. He traveled across the country
proselytizing and offering five-hundred dollars to each town willing to
open a Home. In 1898, President McKinley signed a special act of
Congress which granted a national charter to the Florence Crittenton
Mission, making it the first charitable organization to receive a
national charter from the United States. At its peak, the Mission had
over seventy-five Homes internationally.
The mansion that became the Crittenton Home was likely constructed in
1845 during the development of Stone Hill, a company housing development
for workers of the Mount Vernon mills. Positioned high on a hill, the
mansion provided an impressive view over Stone Hill and the
mills.Carroll could comfortably oversee his industrial domain from the
comfort of his grand home, while employees catching glimpses of the
house from their homes and workplace below could not shake the feeling
that the boss was always watching.
Carroll died in 1881.
Afterward other executives of the Mount Vernon Mill Company likely
inhabited the mansion. (His son, Albert Carroll, had Evergreen on the
Hill, a Greek Revival Mansion now used by the SPCA). After a devastating
1923 labor strike, the mill company moved its operations south in
search of cheaper labor and in 1925, the mansion was sold to the
Florence Crittenton Mission. The purchase was a response to overcrowding
at Baltimore’s first Crittenton Home located in Little Italy.
the 1950s and ‘60s many Florence Crittenton Homes had become places
where embarrassed middle class families hid their pregnant daughters.
Under these arrangements, children were taken from their mothers and
given up for adoption. With the introduction of birth control pills, the
legalization of abortion, and the lessening of stigma against unwed
pregnancy, Homes across the country began closing. The Hampden Florence
Crittenton Home stayed in use until 2010.
The mansion is currently
being renovated and converted to apartments. The mid-century dormitories
that served the Florence Crittenton House have been demolished to make
way for townhouses.” source: baltimoreheritage.org