BNHA Billie Holiday Houses

Interpretive Framework

Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century

Star Attractions

Historic Fell’s Point Trail

Resource Type

Points of Interest

219 S Durham St

Baltimore, Maryland 21231

Billie Holiday (or Lady Day, as she was affectionately known) was born Eleanora Fagan on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia. She was raised in East Baltimore, mostly in and around Fell’s Point, by her teen-aged mother Sadie. Sometime in 1926, they moved into a two-story house at 217 South Durham Street. At ten, she began singing in theaters, whiskey houses and storefront churches throughout the “Point.” The family lived for a short time at 219 South Durham before moving to New York in 1929.

Rolling Stone co-founder and Downbeat magazine editor Ralph J. Gleason described her as a “singer of jazz, the greatest female jazz voice of all time, a great interpreter, a great actress, and the creator of a style that, in its own way, is as unique and important to jazz as the styles of Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Lester Young!”

Site summary courtesy of the Preservation Society of Federal Hill and Fell’s Point