The former Ma & Pa Railroad Roundhouse is an often overlooked landmark located on Falls Road just north of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum. The Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad (better known as the Ma & Pa) built tracks, roundhouse, the adjoining yard office and power house, as part of a $47,000 investment in their Baltimore terminal facilities. Baltimore City purchased the entire complex in 1960 for $275,000 for use as a highway department warehouse. While the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum has successfully preserved the former Mount Clare Roundhouse in southwest Baltimore as an iconic attraction for railroad buffs young and old, most roundhouses have been lost to demolition or neglect.
Over sixty years of service to the Baltimore Department of Transportation has taken a toll on the structure. Unfortunately, in August 2014, the roof at the roundhouse suffered a partial collapse when the several salt-damaged supports failed. Without support, the roof has rotted and partially collapsed causing the damage to spread to a growing number of bays by the late fall. Despite the damage to the columns, the visible stonework appears in good shape and the clerestory seems intact.
2601 Falls Road, Baltimore, MD 21211
Unfortunately, the Baltimore City Department of Transportation has blocked off the damaged bays but has taken no action to stabilize or repair the damaged structure. Without intervention, the condition of the roundhouse will continue to deteriorate placing this iconic historic asset at risk. The Ma & Pa Roundhouse should be stabilized and preserved as a rare example of Baltimore’s industrial architecture, a visible reminder of the history of Maryland railroads and a useful structure with continued potential for reuse by the Department of Transportation or others future occupants.
The Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad, known as the Ma & Pa, connected Baltimore, Maryland and York, Pennsylvania, over a circuitous seventy-seven mile route. In 1881, the Falls Road site became the Baltimore terminal for the Baltimore & Delta Railway (a predecessor of the Maryland & Pennsylvania) originally including a wood frame roundhouse. The original roundhouse burned down in 1892 but was replaced in 1910 but the substantial stone building that stands today. The Ma & Pa thrived in the 1900s and 1910s providing regular commuter service between Belair and Baltimore, country excursions for city residences, and milk and mail delivery between Baltimore and Pennsylvania.
Two year after the Ma & Pa ceased operations in 1958, the city bought the roundhouse and the terminal complex. For the past 55 years, the site has been used by Baltimore City for truck parking and winter road salt storage.
Last Updated: July 11, 2017