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Branches of Baltimore History

The Null House in Old Town

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Built between 1782 and 1784, the Null House is one of the oldest extant homes in Baltimore City. The historic clapboard abode is located at 1037 Hillen Street, 300 feet from where it originally stood. The dwelling was relocated in 1980 to avoid demolition. A BGE facility occupies the lot today.

The Null House is significant for its all wooden construction. Its highly flammable building materials were prohibited after an 1799 ordnance was enacted. Equal parts luck and good fortune have spared this piece of Americana. Painted light blue and unoccupied, the two-and-a-half story building is invariably easy to walk past without noticing. The fact that it’s been responsibly owned and cared for all these years is extraordinary.

Listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1983, three years after it was relocated, and fairly early for a Baltimore structure, raises questions about the further significance of the privately owned Hillen Street home. The first being: Why is it called the Null House?
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After viewing the Passano file entry at the Maryland Historical Society’s H. Furlong Baldwin Library I found that the Null family owned the house for several generations. Cabinetmaker Francis T. Null (1872-1949) used the building for his successful business. His daughter Cornelia inherited the property thereafter.

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Written by monumentcity

April 11th, 2011 at 8:19 pm