Baltimore Building of the Week: Richardsonian Romanesque

This week’s Baltimore Building of the Week from Dr. John Breihan is St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church representing the many Baltimore buildings designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque Style,

Image courtesy Jack Breihan

Still another distinctively American architectural style of the late 19th century was named for the most prominent architect of the day, Henry Hobson Richardson. “Richardsonian Romanesque” was even more robust than the blocky, polychrome Romanesque style that grew up alongside Victorian Gothic in England. Richardson favored very heavy masonry walls punctuated with enormous round arches springing directly from the ground. The best-known Richardsonian Romanesque building in Baltimore is Lovely Lane Methodist Church, designed by Stanford White in his youthful Richardsonian period. Most of the old Goucher College buildings that line St. Paul Street just north of Lovely Lane are also in the Richardsonian style. My featured building is also not far away on St. Paul. It is St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, designed in 1877 by the socially prominent Baltimore architect James Bosley Noel Wyatt. Wyatt attended Harvard and the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris about a decade after Richardson, and was clearly influenced by his style.

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