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Remembering Guy Hollyday

A Dedicated Steward of Wyman Park and the Stony Run

by James Wolf, Vice-President, FSR Board

A few years ago, a truckload of household garbage was dumped down into the Stony Run stream bed from up on the Wyman Park Drive bridge. If the scofflaws were aware of Guy Hollyday, they would have thought twice. As an ardent defender of the Stony Run, seeing the garbage dumped so brazenly into his beloved park was too much for Guy to take lying down. So he dove in to look for clues.

Those who knew him wouldn’t be surprised he took action. He was a man of initiative. Wyman Park resident Ray Itturalde worked with Guy on many stewardship initiatives in the Park. Ray told me “Any time I ran into Guy in the park he had a bag for trash or his trusty axe to cut down those hated invasive paper mulberry trees." In the 1990s Guy was instrumental in a crusade that led to the removal of hundreds of predatory alcohol billboards in distressed Baltimore neighborhoods. He practiced acupuncture which he used in aid of substance addicts in the city. He wrote a history of the Stone Hill neighborhood replete with documents, photos, and interviews (Stone Hill in Baltimore: Stories from a Mill Village).

Guy was raised in Baltimore. He attended the Gilman School, Princeton University, then earned a doctorate in German from Johns Hopkins. He served in the Army stationed in Germany during the Korean War. He returned to Baltimore and in the 1980s committed himself to public service. In the park, he led an esteemed “Sewage Tour” of the Stony Run. He would show how the aging sewage system crisscrossed the park and how it presented a problem. He worked with Bluewater Baltimore and the Jones Falls Watershed Association before that. He faithfully reported all-too-common sewage spills, which continue hamper the Stony Run ecosystem.

Now back to that pile of garbage. Guy found a piece of paper with an address on it. The resident of the house must have been surprised when Guy came knocking. I suppose he was wearing a different disposition than usual when he appeared at that person’s door. “He always had a twinkle in his eye” remembers WPCA President Jack Boyson. Everyone I spoke with about Guy gushed to me about what a bright and buoyant personality his was. ‘Gemütlichkeit’ is a good word for the feeling of being in his presence. Guy taught German at several universities including the University of Pennsylvania.

As it turned out, the person whose address was in the pile of garbage had hired a contractor to dispose of the refuse. I’m not sure what happened with that contractor, but thanks to Guy Hollyday, they didn’t get away with it.

When offered a gift for his 90th birthday, Guy requested a paper mulberry removal event in Wyman Park. Ever the steward of Wyman Park and Stony Run, he waged a decades long war against this particularly aggressive invasive species. He also planted many trees. Guy’s legacy lives on in the trees and in the continuation of all the natural and civic stewardship activities he so loved.

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