Mary Ellen Hayward called it a void. She refers to the
scores of architecture books she had read, studied and
taught that all but ignored Charm City. Sure, many works
featured edifices in New York, Chicago and Boston, even New
Orleans and Washington, D.C. But where was Baltimore?
Ten years ago she, Frank Shivers and a few other
regional historians who had formed the Dead Architects
Society, a group within the Baltimore Architecture
Foundation, set out to remedy the affront and put Baltimore
more firmly on the architectural map. Working with the
Johns Hopkins University Press, the group assembled a
coterie of scholars, writers and critics to provide a fresh
account of the city's architectural heritage.
The result is The Architecture of Baltimore: An
Illustrated History, released this month by the JHU
Press (456 pages; $55). Hayward, an architectural historian
and co-author of The Baltimore Rowhouse, edited the
book along with Shivers, a Baltimore historian and
instructor at the
School of Professional Studies in Business and
The book begins with Baltimore in the last half of the
18th century, with its open fields and rolling hills
interspersed with grand Georgian buildings. The first
chapter, in fact, includes a striking 1752 John Moale
sketch that depicts a green Inner Harbor area
ever-so-lightly sprinkled with one- and two-story white
houses: a time when fields of crops led all the way to the
water's edge, and men cast out fishing nets from the
harbor's banks. Chapter two moves on to the port city's
Federal-period achievements, including "country" houses
such as Montebello and Homewood House. The late 19th
century brings such landmarks as The Johns Hopkins Hospital
and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Mount Royal Station.
Other stops along the way include Romantic stylings,
American neoclassical design, Greek and Gothic revivals,
industrial buildings and churches both grand and
The Architecture of Baltimore also addresses
the rise of modernism in the city and the years between
1955 and 2000, a "renaissance period" that witnessed the
construction of Charles Center, Harborplace and the two
sports stadiums at Camden Yards.
Walter Schamu, former president of the Baltimore
Architecture Foundation, says that Hayward and Shivers'
book profoundly builds upon the scholarship of Richard H.
Howland and Eleanor P. Spencer, who co-edited the 1953 work
The Architecture of Baltimore: A Pictorial History,
also published by the
"The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated
History expands coverage of the 18th and 19th centuries
and completes the 20th century," Schamu says. "It takes a
comprehensive historical overview of the social and
economic forces that allowed the architects of Baltimore to
produce some of the best buildings in America. Baltimore
has a rich architectural heritage, and this new book tells
At the recent launch party at
Evergreen House for "The Architecture of Baltimore,"
co-editor Frank Shivers autographs a book for architect
PHOTO BY HPS/WILL KIRK
The book is illustrated with nearly 600 photographs,
architectural plans, maps and details. It also offers a
narrative of the history of Baltimore and the men and women
who shaped the city, both building it up and tearing parts
of it down, Hayward says.
"I always say that talking about architecture is
really talking about the growth of a city, both its
geographic growth and physical growth," she says. "We tried
to give that sense of what Baltimore was like in the early
days, what was here as opposed to what we are looking at
Prominent architects featured in the work include
Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Robert Mills, Maximilian Godefroy
and Richard Upjohn. The book also recognizes the work of
lesser known architects and local artists such as Robert
Cary Long Sr. and Jr., E. Francis Baldwin, Josias
Pennington and Laurence Hall Fowler.
"I hope we do shed some interesting lights on the
architects who painted this landscape, offering up their
backgrounds and what they did here," Hayward says.
The book's contributors include the late University of
Iowa architectural historian Robert L. Alexander; author
and former Baltimore Sun arts critic John Dorsey;
Sun architecture critic Edward Gunts and Phoebe B.
Stanton, a renowned guardian of Baltimore's architecture
and an art history professor
emerita at Johns Hopkins, who died in 2003.
Hayward characterizes the book's creation as a hike,
not a stroll. Research begat more research, she says, and
the scope of the book grew in scale as time went on.
"As more people got interested, the more people wanted
to share. That led into doing more research," Hayward says.
"In the end it was worth all the 10 years of effort. We
really wanted to do this right."
Robert J. Brugger, history/regional book editor at the
JHU Press and a contributor to The Architecture of
Baltimore, said that this book synthesizes existing
scholarship, adds new insight to how Baltimore was built
and delivers it all in a broadly accessible form.
"We feel this book will acquaint general readers with
the richness of this city's building stock and the enduring
legacy of the architects, artists, skilled workers and
others who built Baltimore," Brugger says. "We also hope it
will draw attention to what is being done here in terms of
Shivers, the author of Walking in Baltimore: An
Intimate Guide to the Old City and other works, sets
the historical scene for the architecture of each period in
the book by means of social-history preludes. He says that
for the past 300 years, wealth and cultural traditions have
shaped Baltimore's buildings and how they looked.
"Today, for instance, it is easy to see the
architectural conservatism in Johns Hopkins buildings, on
both the Homewood and East Baltimore campuses, and in the
style of Oriole Park," he says, referring to their
Georgian-style use of red brick and white trim. "What I
hope the book does is aid people who want to keep what they
like about Baltimore by learning all they can about how and
why this architecture came about."
The book mentions many buildings that no longer stand,
including the Academy of Music on North Howard Street and
the Gail and Ax warehouse, which is now the site of the
Harbor Court Hotel. In the margins next to photos and
illustrations of demolished and reused buildings —
excluding those lost in the Great Baltimore Fire —
the book details what became of the structure, or what
Brugger describes several of the buildings included in
the book as being "at risk." He mentions the Church of St.
John the Evangelist, an Italianate structure built in 1855
and located on East Eager Street.
"I drove by it for this book. I thought it was gone by
the wayside, but it was still there. Yet, it's really in a
shambles, not used for anything," he says. "We knew if you
write about these places still standing, you can give
readers a sense of what they looked like, and what maybe
they can one day look like again."
Hayward said she only wishes that
Chicago-native-turned-Baltimorean Phoebe Stanton were here
to celebrate the book's release. In the last paragraph of
the book's acknowledgments, the editors write about the
late historian, "Phoebe always demanded that we create a
book worthy of Baltimore and its underappreciated
treasures. We hope the sum of all our efforts will live as
a memorial to her and to her scholarly dedication to her