N Gay Street & E Fayette Street (Street View)
GPS: 39° 17′ 26.85″ N 76° 36′ 31.96″ W
Construction on the War Memorial Building at 101 North Gay Street began in 1921, and was completed four years later. The massive monument to Maryland’s soldiers that died in World War I is the work of Laurence Hall Fowler, a local architect who’s design won a competition held by officials for the commission. Directly across from Baltimore’s City Hall, the lot was chosen as part of the 1910 Olmstead plan to focus the city’s more important buildings into a civic plaza.
Flanking the Neoclassical edifice are two aquatic war horse sculptures created by by Edmond R. Amateis that are said to depict “the might of America crossing the sea to come to the aid of the Allies.” Made of Indiana limestone, the horses, when viewed up-close, display fossils of marine organisms. Along the sides and back of the building are German cannon confiscated during WWI. In 1977, the memorial was rededicated to honor the state’s lost from both World Wars, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Inside the building is an impressive banquet hall occupying the top floor. With high ceilings and room for hundreds of people, the vast open space is used for various events. Usually occupied by veteran’s groups and city or state politicians (the memorial is owned jointly between Baltimore and Maryland), the location has recently been used for fashion shows and movie sets. A large mural depicting the “sacrifice to patriotism,” painted by Charm City artist R. McGill Mackall, covers the back wall. Throughout the auditorium are the names of the 1752 Maryland fatalities of WWI.