Thursday, September 8, 2011

A. Aubrey Bodine's Photograph

 While reporting for jury duty on August 23rd, we had a 5.9 earthquake here in Charm City. All the folks working downtown had to evacuate the buildings they were in. We were told to leave for the day from jury duty. I was stuck for the rest of the afternoon because there was no cell phone service and I was dropped off and without a car. Not expecting to be picked up until after 5:00, I walked around and took photographs of the great architecture in Baltimore. I had recently been obsessed with A. Aubrey Bodine's photographs, and remembered one I loved of the old Post Office and old Maryland Casualty Tower building he took from Davis Street. I was right around the corner and thought I would try to capture the same scene on this chaotic afternoon. While the photo I took is not exactly in the same place, it is very similar in perspective. From what I can tell, there is only one building from Bodine's photo that is still standing. I think the smaller houses on the left side in the far distance are the same, but am unable to confirm at this time. Bodine's photo conveys a "feeling" of the past that captured me from the moment I saw it. He took the photo in the late 1920s. I plan on taking more of this view in the future, but for now here's what I took on "quake" day.

Photograph by A. Aubrey Bodine • © Copyright Jennifer B. Bodine • Courtesy of
Taken on "quake" day
Second attempt to capture this photo

The old1890 Romanesque Post Office building was torn down and replaced with the lovely Neo-Classical style building you see in my photo to be compatible to the Baltimore City Courthouse on the west side of Monument Square that was built in 1894
The wonderful eighteen-story tower building was designed by Otto B. Simonson and built in 1912. It originally housed the headquarters of the Maryland Casualty Company but was sold to William Randolph Hearst in the mid-1920s to house his Baltimore-based newspapers, the Baltimore News and Baltimore American. The building changed hands a few more times before being torn down by the Manekin Corporation in 1986 because of structural instability. The grounds where the building once stood are now a parking lot. 

For more info on A Aubrey Bodine, please check out his daughter's website here:
For more info on the old Maryland Casualty Tower Building go here:

For more info on the Old Post Office Building see this site:

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