Friday, September 14, 2012

The NW Corner of Baltimore & Calvert Streets

The NW corner of Baltimore and Calvert  Streets has always been a busy one. As a matter of fact, up until the early 1800s, Baltimore Street was called Market Street and was the main shopping district until the Lexington/Howard street area became popular in the later part of the 19th century.

The first notable building to arise at the northwest corner of Baltimore and Calvert Streets was the Baltimore Museum, opened in 1829 by Rembrandt Peale after the sale of his family's original Museum on Holliday Street to the city of Baltimore for municipal offices. For over 40 years the Museum was operated by a succession of entrepreneurs - including, for a time, P.T. Barnum - until it was destroyed by fire in 1872.

Photo of a lithograph from my collection of E. Sachse's view looking west from Calvert Street on Market (Baltimore) Street circa 1850. This copy was made by A. Hoen and Co. sometime in the mid 1900s.
Similar view of Baltimore Street in 2012.
Photo of an original lithograph from my collection of view looking north on Calvert Street from Baltimore Street.
The Baltimore Museum after 1872 fire. Photo source Maryland Historical Society.
The site was purchased a year later by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which commissioned local architect E. Francis Baldwin to design a building capable of holding all its various departments under one roof. Baldwin originally projected a five-story structure with arched window heads on every floor, but the railroad's growth in the late 1890s required that the building grow, too.  By the time it opened in 1882, it consisted of seven floors with arched window heads on only every other floor. Further railroad expansion required the addition of two more floors under a mansard roof in 1888. The building was destroyed in the 1904 Baltimore fire, after which the railroad moved its offices to a new building on North Charles Street.

 The Baltimore Street corner became the site of the Emerson Hotel, Joseph E. Sperry's entry in Baltimore's race to copy New York's Plaza Hotel. The 17-story Emerson opened in 1911 and closed in 1969. It was demolished in 1971.  
The Emerson Hotel was built, legend has it, because one sweltering hot afternoon in 1910 Capt. Isaac Emerson (the Bromo-Seltzer inventor) was dining in the Belvedere Hotel and became so hot that he took his coat off. The management reminded him that it was a hotel rule that gentlemen had to wear coats. So the cantankerous old captain allegedly said: "the hell with you, I'll build my own hotel." And so he did.

After years as a parking lot, the Bank of Baltimore Building was built and opened in 1989. 
Today the building is the main office of SunTrust Bank.
Looking north on Calvert Street towards Monument Square from Baltimore Street in 2012.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Tale of Two West Side Breweries

August Beck/Frank Steil Independent Brewing Co. 

August Beck opened a brewery on Garrison Lane, now the 200 block of Franklintown Road, in 1865. The brewery was successful and in 1876 he built a three-story mansard-roofed home for his family and workers. By the 1900s, the brewery was sold and now called the Frank Steil Independent Brewing Co. The brewery closed due to Prohibition.

The brewery complex had a concert hall, a beer garden, a restaurant, stables for 10 horses,
a large brew house, two large ice houses and a beautiful 3 story brick mansard roof mansion.
The site today. It would appear that most of the buildings on the left side of the complex have survived, although in a very altered state.
The old mansion is covered in formstone, but is still standing.

Eigenbrot Brewery 

 Joh was German born (according the the 1870 census, he emigrated from Baden. He was 43 in 1870) and opened a brewery in the 101 Willard Street, between Hollins Street and Frederick Avenue.  Brewing began here in 1873 and ceased with the onset of prohibition.  Nearly 100 barrels were rolled out each year.  Brands brewed here included Extra Pale Adonis and Stock Lager.  The brewery was expanded and renamed after Ferdinand’s daughter’s husband, Henry Eigenbrot.   The 1880 Census shows Henry living with Ferdinand’s daughter, Louisa on Wilkens Street in Snake Hollow Baltimore.  He was 34 and Louisa was 24.  The census shows that Henry was born in Maryland, but both parents were German born.  Henry inherited the operations at the death of Ferdinand.  

The brewery complex in the later part of the 1800s.
The brewery today.

Update: The row houses on Lombard Street have been torn down. The view of the brewery looks much like the old photo above now.