Saturday, September 22, 2012

Charm City Confidential: 6250 North Charles is no more

When we were looking for our house in Baltimore, our Realtor hooked us up with a web site that was supposed to give us a dynamic and electronic way to communicate between professional and client.  We did our end, him?  Not so much.  We'd click on houses we wanted to see and he pretty much ignored it as a communication channel.

6250 - taken the last time Google Maps came a knocking

ANYWAY, one of the houses that kept coming up in our search was one at 6250 North Charles Street - a ramshackle three story house built at the bottom of a hill, and kinda into the hill.  The ad said it was a tear down, and after looking at the picture it was pretty much a disaster in field stone.  And for as much as I am about historic preservation, this looked like tearing it down was the most humane thing to do.

So when I drove into Baltimore when I left Ohio, there was a wrecking crew and most of the house had come down.  Over the last 20 days less and less of the house remained.  Today, all that's left is a field stone wall and the one car garage, and, according to yesterday's Baltimore Sun, the site of one of the Baltimore area's most brutal murders is no longer.

On June 12, 1956, Myrtle Agnes Bopst - described as a "baltimore area matron" had just returned her, which was the family home, in her 1955 Chrysler hardtop from a shopping trip into nearby Towson. Bopst's had moved to this secluded house on what was then "North Charles Street Avenue" after their prior neighborhood was identified as one of the earliest sites for a freeway interchange.  That afternoon, she took an snack of a small bowl of ice cream and two coconut covered cupcakes up to the second floor den and she heard someone force the screen door open on the first level door.

Getting up to see what it was, she was confronted by a 21 year old African American Carl Daniel Kier, and Keir attacked her with pure savage intent.  He beat her within an inch of her life during their struggle through two rooms of the house.  Police reported that blood covered almost every surface.  He thrashed her head with a bronze statue, used two army issue bayonets to nail her legs to the floor so he could rape her, and if that wasn't enough, he used a Japanese Samurai sword, still in its scabbard to stab her through the neck.

After making sure she was dead, Kier cleaned up by washing her blood from him in the bathroom sink, took the keys from her purse and stole the Chrysler from the garage.

Mrs. Bopst body was discovered by her husband who saw her on the ground through a window and thought she had fainted. Mr. Bopst, according to police, broke the down the door, found the mutilated body of his wife, was sick, and then called the police.

Keir was found shortly thereafter - he had gone door to door looking for work in the area earlier that day  and a local attorney took his name and promised to call if her had any odd jobs.  That slip of paper allowed police to find Keir to confessed to the crime.

Baltimore was horrified at the crime that killed the mother of four. Lock sales in the area tripled as fearful area residents doubled down on protection.

Kier was tried in Baltimore County and found guilty of capital murder.  Shortly thereafter, it was determined that Kier's first trial wasn't a fair trial, so a second trial was held in Frederick, Maryland, where a jury quickly found him guilty, again.  Kier was executed in January 1959 in Maryland's gas chamber.

Mrs. Bopst was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Baltimore.  Eventually her husband remarried and moved to Florida.   The housed passed through several owners hands, but its location, and history eventually lead to the property's decline and it fell into ruin.  After languishing on the market, the owners figured that a clean slate was in order.

And now the house that was home to Bopst family is gone and the ground laid bare.

I'm not one that finds crime sites all that interesting, but the property was eerie when I first saw it, and now that its gone, it seems just sad.  Last time I drove past it today they were loading the bulldozer onto the transport and the realtors sign now has a placard reading "LOT" affixed to it.

And it got me thinking about that poor woman, who sat down for a treat and had no idea what horrors would befall her in a matter of minutes.   All she wanted was her ice cream, those cupcakes and for her husband to come home.  Tragic.

Life is fragile, and nothing is forever.  Leave nothing to chance.  Check the locks.  Be careful.

6 comments:

  1. What a horrible and sad story. Are there any pictures of the house before it was razed? There is often a problem what to do with tragedy houses. Razing is the usual solution; the Amity Horror murder house is still there but remodeled, as is I understand the Kirtland Lundgren Massacre house AND the barn (remember that one?)!

    I also realize that I should be respectful of Mrs. Bobst, but isn't ice cream plus two cupcakes a little odd and a bit much for a snack?
    --Road to Parnassus

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  2. It's all very gruesome, but at the same time, I can't help but think of poor Dottie Hinkel settling down to watch Annie, all unsuspecting of the carnage to come...

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  3. Holy cow. We have a house ghost and I have always believed that houses hold pain as well as love. Our ghost always appeared to me in a mirror whenever my daughter was coming down with an illness. When my daughter hit puberty, she stopped appearing. I read that this often happens with ghosts...

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  4. All has been very quiet here in CookieTown these past few days.

    We can only hope Cookie has not ventured into 6250 North Charles Street!

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  5. That poor woman, on just so many levels. She even lost the privacy of her little snack. Perhaps the cupcakes were miniature ones?

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