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Baltimore Building of the Week: Carroll Mansion

This week’s featured Baltimore Building of the Week from Dr. John Breihan is the Carroll Mansion built in 1811 at 800 East Lombard Street. If you enjoy this post be sure to support Carroll Museums, follow their blog, become a fan on Facebook,  or follow @CarrollMuseums on Twitter.

Image courtesy Jack Breihan

The years just before and after 1800 saw Baltimore’s greatest expansion. With it came a new style of architecture – called “Regency” in Great Britain and “Federal” here. Although still using Flemish bond brickwork and gabled roofs with dormer windows, the Federal style was lighter than Georgian, with moldings less deeply inscribed and gables less steep.  Shallow decorative panels adorned exterior walls, and entrances were often marked by elegantly slim columns. A leading example is the town mansion of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the young republic’s richest men.  When not residing in this house along the Jones Falls, Carroll lived at his country house, Doughoregan Manor in what is now Howard County. After Carroll’s death his house was put to a number of uses, causing increasing dilapidation until it was saved by the City of Baltimore.  It is now lovingly tended by the Carroll Museums, Inc.

Baltimore Building of the Week: Baltimore’s Columnar Monuments

This week’s Baltimore Building of the Week is not, in fact, a building. Instead, it is three of Baltimore’s notable “Columnar Monuments.” Both the Battle Monument and Mount Vernon’s Washington Monument have also been featured on the Monument City website. Visitors can take a tour of the Shot Tower’s ground floor exhibit, sound and light show, and informational video are available with appointment at 10:30 AM on Saturday or Sunday. The Washington Monument is open for visitors Wednesday to Friday 10 AM to 4 PM and Saturday and Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM up until Memorial Day.

Battle Monument, Image courtesy Jack Breihan
Battle Monument, Image courtesy Jack Breihan

Completed during the 1820s, two of these towering structures established Baltimore’s distinction as “the Monumental City.” Maximilian Godefroy’s Battle Monument, depicted on the City flag, commemorated the Defenders who died beating off the British attack in 1814. It combines Egyptian and Roman themes, including a giant set of fasces. A gigantic Roman Doric column, Robert Mills’ Washington Monument portrays the Father of Our Country, dressed in a toga, performing what its builders considered his most heroic act. (What was it? answer next week!) The contemporary Phoenix Shot Tower was a monument to Baltimore’s growing industrial sector; it manufactured lead shot for the Chesapeake Bay duck-hunting industry.

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Baltimore Building of the Week: 9 North Front Street

Staying in the historic Jonestown neighborhood for another week in our Baltimore Building of the Week series, Dr. John Breihan shares an exceptional example of the characteristic federal row house: 9 North Front Street. Read on then click here for an additional photo of 9 North Front Street from the interesting Monument City project.

Image courtesy Jack Breihan
Image courtesy Jack Breihan

The federal style of architecture was popular during Baltimore’s most vigorous period of growth, from the 1790s to the 1850s, when Baltimore vaulted into second place among American cities. The new residents were mostly housed in 1, 2, and 3½-story dormered brick row houses, less ornate than their Georgian predecessors. They are to be found all around the bustling harbor, from Fells Point through Little Italy and Jonestown to Federal Hill. A good example is 9 N. Front Street, the home of Baltimore’s second mayor, Thorowgood Smith, built in 1790. It was saved from deterioration by the Women’s Civic League during the 1970s. Other federal row houses preserved for public use include the Mother Seton House, the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House, and the Edgar Allen Poe House.

Behind the Scenes Tour of B’nai Israel Synagogue

Image courtesy Monument City

With its Moorish-Revival architecture and deep roots in Baltimore’s Eastern European Jewish community, the B’nai Israel Synagogue is a magnificent historic building with a congregation that has played a central part of the fascinating story of immigration and change in East Baltimore. Please join us for a tour of the synagogue with B’nai Israel historian Fred Shoken and other members of the congregation.

We are also partnering with the neighboring Jewish Museum of Maryland for a tour of the Lloyd Street Synagogue in a two-part exploration of Jewish heritage in Baltimore. Stay tuned for the announcement of the Lloyd Street Synagogue tour shortly.

Tour Information

Dates: Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Time: 5:45 PM: Kosher wine and cheese reception
6:00 to 7:00 PM: tour
Place: 27 Lloyd Street (Baltimore, MD 21202)
Parking is available along nearby streets
Cost: $15 (includes wine and cheese reception)
Registration: Click Here to Register
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2010 Preservation Awards: Old Town National Bank

Image courtesy Kann Partners

The classically styled Old Town National Bank building at 221 N. Gay Street was constructed in 1924 as a bank headquarters. Despite many years of vacancy, the primary first stories retained an array of historic details, including a two story lobby, cornice and parapet wall, grand marble stairway, and even vault spaces. The work included refurbishing and repairing these and a host of other features, and the building now shines as a Holiday Inn Express Hotel. For more information on the project see this great account from the Baltimore Sun. The Adaptive Reuse and Compatible Design Awards went to owner Old Town Properties LLC and architects Kann Partners.