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Old Hamilton Library

Overview

The Old Hamilton Branch Library at 3006 Hamilton Avenue is a historic branch library building constructed in 1920 to serve the Hamilton community in the developing Harford Road corridor of northeast Baltimore. The library remained at this location through 1959 when a new Hamilton Branch Library building opened on Harford Road.

Location

3006 Hamilton Avenue, Baltimore, MD, 21214

Our Approach

In 2012, the Old Hamilton Library was threatened with demolition. Fortunately, neighborhood preservation advocates and the Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street moved to push CHAP to designate the building to the Special List. Baltimore Heritage worked with the neighborhood to list the building on the National Register of Historic Places in late 2012. The designation opens important financial incentives for preservation but the building remains vacant and in need of a new use.

History

Designed by Baltimore architect Theodore W. Pietsch and built by Baltimore contractor R.B. Mason on a property donated through the organized efforts of the Woman’s Club of Hamilton and the Hamilton Improvement Association, the Old Hamilton Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library is a handsome example of the work of an accomplished Beaux Arts architect and an enduring legacy of the enterprising efforts of civic and social organizations in promoting community development and civic life of northeast Baltimore during the early 20th century. In addition, the Old Hamilton Library is distinguished as one of a collection of libraries in Baltimore and across the nation built from the late 1900s through the 1920s with support from Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie.

In May 1917, the Woman’s Club of Hamilton and Ms. E.W.H. Scott, a library organizer with the Maryland Public Library Association established a “library organization” with the goal of building a free public library in Hamilton. They combined their efforts with the Hamilton Improvement Association to raise funds and purchase a lot for the library at the northwest corner of Hamilton.

The building remained in use as a library for nearly three decades, providing books to patrons and serving as a social center for the broader community with exhibits from local painters and evening movie screenings. By the late 1940s, however, the growing number of library patrons living in northeast Baltimore made it difficult for the small building to keep up. After more years of efforts by local residents, construction began on a new library building designed by architects Cochran, Stephenson and Wing on April 2, 1957. In 1959, a new Hamilton Branch Library opened on Harford Road at Glenmore. The original building passed into use as commercial office building and remained occupied in this use by a variety of tenants through the early 2000s.

Read more at Explore Baltimore Heritage