The president of the Orioles from 1955 to 1959, he was the former chairman and president of a homebuilding firm founded by his father in 1904. Keelty-built residences fill large sections of Baltimore City and Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.
In 1924, the elder Keelty bought 86 acres of a Baltimore County dairy farm -- the basis of today's Rodgers Forge. In a 1986 Evening Sun interview, James Keelty recalled working for his father in the summer of 1933, between his junior and senior years of college, with the construction crew of the first section of Rodgers Forge rowhouses that went on sale in 1934.
"He introduced the rowhouse to Baltimore County in a suburbanized form," said John McGrain, the Baltimore County historian who worked for Mr. Keelty in 1955 as a waterproofer for the last section of homes built in Rodgers Forge. "His neighborhoods have well- established trees, and the houses were quite nice, with vestiges of Georgian Revival architecture."