Established in 1876, Shiloh AME Church has occupied the former school building in the Windsor Hills neighborhood since 1958. In 2001, the church and then Pastor Rev. Charlotte Clemons prepared a proposal to construct a new building on the adjoining lot (located along Mondawmin Avenue between their existing property and Chelsea Terrace). After encountering opposition from the neighborhood association during a zoning review (required due to the proposed setback for the building) and the unexpected cost of construction (over $2,000,000 for the new building, around $800,000 for site preparation) the church chose not pursue the proposal.
The National Register Registration Form for the Windsor Hills Historic District provides additional background on the history and architecture of the building:
The first permanent structures in Windsor Hills, a pair of Italianate villas, were built sometime after the Civil War. It is rumored that they were built for a pair of heiresses, and local tradition holds that they derive their names, Tusculum and Monticello, from schools run there by Adele and Alfred Bujac. By the 1870s William P. Webb, an insurance broker, and Charles Hilgenburg each owned one of the houses, and would keep them well into the twentieth century. Baltimore city demolished Monticello in 1925 to make way for a new elementary school. Tusculum became the Shiloh A.M.E. Church, on Lyndhurst Avenue.[…] The sole example of the Italianate style in Windsor Hills is what is now the Mt. Shiloh AME Church, at 2601 Lyndhurst Avenue. It is understood the building was built originally as the Tusculum School in the late nineteenth century, and that it pre-dates the suburban development of the neighborhood, overall. The style is characterized by a rectangular form with wide eaves supported on brackets, and central tower form.
A recollection of “The Early Days of Windsor Hills” by Robert Base, published on July 29, 1956, provides additional details on the building and the development of the surrounding property:
It was started by developers like Charles K. Swartz, who bought the Charles Hilgenberg estate, Tusculum. in 1911 and started what he called Windsor Park. The Tusculum house still stands, a well-known local landmark, on the northeast corner of Lyndhurst and Mondawmin avenues. I understand it was built originally by a Madame Bujac as a girls’ school.
Madame Bujac built an identical house near by as a school for boys, which later was called Monticello and was owned by the Webb family until 1925, when the city bought it and razed it to make way for Windsor Hills school and the 3900 block of Mondawmin. The two old homes were reached by a lane from Windsor Mill road, and some of the lane’s old pines still stand. Other parts of the community were developed on land that had been the estates of’ Thomas Winans and George R. Vickers.
This account is supported by an 1864 classified in the Sun advertising “Tusculum” for sale:
FOR SALE—”TUSCULUM”—A Country Seat on the Windsor Mill road, two and a half miles from the western city limits, improved by a beautiful MANSION in the Italian style, containing all the modern improvements, hot and cold water, bath-room water closet, &c
There is also a very substantial COTTAGE, well suited for the accommodation of servants and workmen.
This property contains 15 1/2 acres, is beautifally located as to scenery, and is in the immediate vicinity of the property of Messrs Galloway Cheston, White Carey, Dr. Bull, W. Carson and T. Winans. Parties are invited to visit the premises. Immediate possession given, and the property sold for below its real value.
Every information can be obtained by calling at MRS. A. T. BUJAC’S, No. 138 St. Paul street, between Read and Eager sts., Baltimore.
A death announcement on July 27, 1868 lists “Tusculum, Baltimore county” as the residence of the deceased 40-year-old John B. Armstrong.
An account from September 28, 1911 begins to show how the property was subdivided:
The Realty Securities Corporation has sold to C.A. Barton a lot at the northeast corner of Lyndurst and Tusculum road, Tusculum Park.
Another account on October 27, 1911 notes a similar transaction:
The Realty Securities Corporation has Bold to H. R. Crouse a lot on the east side of Monnt Holly street, Mont Alto. The same corporation has sold at Tusculum to Lieut. Gilbert C. James a lot fronting 50 feet on the north side of Alto avenue, with an even depth of 168 feet.
Base, Robert E. “…The Early Days of Windsor Hills.” The Sun (1837-1990). July 29, 1956.
“BUNGALOWS FOR RELAY: Mr, Kilbourn Erecting Fine One On Old Lord Property PLAY SITE FOR MT. WASHINGTON Wine And Fruit Store For North Avenue, Near Charles Street – Firemen To Have Fine Home.” The Sun (1837-1990). October 27, 1911.
“Classified Ad 8 – No Title.” The Sun (1837-1990). July 20, 1864.
“Died.” The Sun (1837-1990). July 27, 1868.
“Dr. and Mrs. Hemmeter’s Guests.” The Sun (1837-1990). July 15, 1902.
“WILL BUILD 26 HOUSES: Mr. Bronner To Erect Them In Northern Suburbs ARCADE FOR SOUTH STREET Will Form Part Of New Structure To Be Constructed For Colonel Le Viness.” The Sun (1837-1990). September 28, 1911.