This week’s Baltimore Building of the Week from Dr. John Breihan, the Hansa Haus at Redwood and Charles Streets, is right next door to last week’s building– the Savings Bank of Baltimore. The Hansa Haus reflects both Baltimore’s rich German heritage and the history of immigration into Locust Point as the former Baltimore office of the North German Lloyd Steamship Company–
A favorite Beaux-Arts era historical-revival building housed the Baltimore offices of the North German Lloyd Steamship Company, a decidedly up-to-date modern enterprise when this building was erected in 1912. Its site, adjacent to the Baltimore Savings Bank (see last week) testified to the importance of German immigration to Baltimore in the early 20th century. To prevent said immigrants from being too homesick, Hansa Haus resembled a half-timbered 16th-century German Rathaus, perhaps the Zwicken in Halberstadt. Originally coats of arms of the cities in the Hanseatic League decorated the upper floor. Since the departure of the steamship line, Hansa Haus has had a variety of uses; it remains a challenge to sympathetic re-use.