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Architect Robert Cary Long, Jr.

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Green Mount Gatehouse Franklin Street Church Saint Alphonsus Church Lloyd Street Synagogue

Robert Cary Long, Jr. was one of the first trained architects from the state of Maryland. Born in 1810, as a youth he apprenticed with his entrepreneurial father. Robert Cary Long, Sr. (1770?-1833) was one of Baltimore’s prominent builders during America’s youngest days. Working from design books and construction experience, Long Senior began creating his own structures by the late 1780s. His modest Peale Museum and the ornate Davidge Hall are lasting legacies of his work.

R. Cary Junior attended Saint Mary’s College and later worked at the office of Martin E. Thompson and Ithiel Town in New York City where he cut his teeth in the architecture profession. When his father passed in 1833 he returned to Baltimore and took over the established family practice. In 1837 Long designed Green Mount Cemetery’s Gatehouse and original mausoleum. In 1929 the Egyptian Revival style mausoleum was replaced with the structure that exists today. Why it was replaced is unknown. The E. Sachse’s & Co’s Bird’s Eye View of Baltimore 1869 shows the antecedent building surrounded by sparse monuments and abundant trees.

The younger Long specialized in houses of worship, designing churches and synagogues primarily in the Gothic and Greek Revival forms. In 1845 his Lloyd Street Synagogue was completed in Old Town. It stands today as the third oldest synagogue in the United States. Across town, Saint Alphonsus Church was finished around the same time initiating a professional relationship with the Catholic Church that would last until the architect’s death.

Saint Peter the Apostle Church, Franklin Street Presbyterian Church, Mount Calvary Church and the aforementioned are excellent examples of Cary’s work inside city limits. His buildings can be also found in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Mississippi and throughout the state of Maryland. In the late 1840s, Robert Cary Long, Jr. outlined his plans to move his family to New York City. He died suddenly of cholera in New Jersey in 1849 during a visit with a client, having never completed the move. His influence and skill were on the rise at the time of his tragic death. The architect is buried at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown’s historic cemetery.


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September 9th, 2011 at 11:00 am

The Latrobe Family and Charm City

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The Latrobe family is sewn into the fabric of Americana. Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the patriarch, was the Union’s first trained architect and a strong proponent of Greek, Gothic and Neoclassical architecture. Latrobe designed elements of the U. S. Capitol and the White House. His sons John H. B. Latrobe and Benjamin Henry Latrobe II, with headquarters in Baltimore, helped organize, orchestrate and engineer the nations first railroad. Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe (son of John H. B. Latrobe) was mayor of Baltimore five times. He was known as the “Grand Old Man of Maryland.” His cousin Charles H. Latrobe (son of Benjamin Henry Latrobe II) was city engineer for a quarter century, designing bridges and buildings around Baltimore. Together the Latrobe Family helped shape and develop Charm City.

Architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe arrived on American soil in 1796. Known as the “Father of American Architecture,” Latrobe was born in England in 1764 to a British father and an American mother. He showed an early interest in landscape drawing and quickly moved to the architectural field. By age 20 Latrobe entered his initial apprenticeship in design and engineering. Married and the father of two, Latrobe’s first wife died in 1793 while giving birth to their third child. He struggled financially in his native country and sailed, with his children, to the newly forming United States in hopes of establishing a career. Landing in Virginia in March of 1796, Latrobe visited the Mount Vernon estate of President George Washington by that summer and his succesful and incredible life began taking form. After building a state of the art prison in Richmond, Virginia he moved to Philadelphia and then Washington D. C. seeking further government commissions.

Benjamin Latrobe relocated his family to Baltimore at the beginning of 1818 in order to finish work on the Baltimore Cathedral (or Basilica of the Assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary). Commissioned by John Carroll, America’s first native-born Archbishop, the building’s construction began in 1806 and was completed in 1821. He also created Baltimore’s original Merchant’s Exchange (razed in 1901) and the quaint Spring House of Dairy. Known as the father of American architecture, Benjamin Latrobe was a friend of presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He and Jefferson were instrumental in bringing Greek Revival architecture to our newly forming country, pairing the classic style with themes of democracy. Latrobe died of yellow fever in New Orleans in 1821 while working on a massive waterworks system for the southern port city. His sons and grandsons stayed in Baltimore and created legacies of their own.

John Hazlehurst Boneval Latrobe was born in 1803 in Philadelphia. Moving to Washington as a young child his house was frequented by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The multi-talented Latrobe took after his father’s passion for landscape painting. He eventually studied engineering at West Point but was forced to return home before graduating when his father suddenly passed away in 1820. Baltimore was home, and John H. B. began studying law with his father’s good friend, Robert Goodloe Harper. After passing the Maryland Bar, John went into private practice with his younger brother Benjamin Henry Latrobe II. The practice proved too difficult to maintain and Benjamin II turned to engineering. John H. B. went to work for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as a land acquisition attorney. He was instrumental in the railroad’s expansion west, helping to link America’s rising industrial network. John H. B. incorporated the first telegraph service in the world along the Baltimore & Ohio’s line, his persuasive manner convincing company’s leaders of the communications system’s potential. He would spend most of his life working as the B&O’s chief legal counsel.

In his spare time, John H. B. Latrobe pursued numerous other ventures with the same intensity and professionalism he had for his day job. He was on the board of directors for Druid Hill Park and Green Mount Cemetery, spearheading the establishment of two of Baltimore’s finest outdoor museums. He founded the Maryland Historical Society and established a colony in Liberia for America’s growing population of freed slaves. John also wrote an extensive memoir (along with poetry) that can be read in the Maryland Room of the Central Branch of the Enoch Pratt Library System.

John’s work as a patent attorney may have peaked his interest in inventing. His most famous creation is the Latrobe Stove (Baltimore Heater), a heat concentrating device that went inside a home’s fireplace. By 1878 there were 300,000 in use in the United States.

Perhaps best known today for his association with Edgar Allan Poe, John H. B. Latrobe was one of three judges that awarded the struggling author with a first place prize in a local writing contest for the story MS. Found in a Bottle. Poe showed up to collect his prize at John’s Mount Vernon rowhouse. The historic building stands today and is in shouting distance of the Basilica of the Assumption. The short story was published in the the Baltimore Saturday Visitor, helping to launch Edgar Allan Poe’s turbid career.

Benjamin Henry Latrobe II, younger brother to John H. B., was born in 1806. He studied engineering and law, following the paths of his famous father and gifted older sibling. After a short time practicing law, Benjamin II began a career in engineering, starting at Ellicott’s Mill measuring ballast stone for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. He rose rapidly through the ranks and eventually became head engineer for the historic company. His greatest standing accomplishment is the Thomas Viaduct, the railroad’s first bridge built on a curved alignment. Originally rated for 30 ton trains, today the massive stone viaduct carries loads weighing up to 300 tons. Benjamin Henry Latrobe II designed the rolling pathways in Green Mount Cemetery where he is buried.

Charles Hazlehurst Latrobe was born in a house on Calvert Street in 1833. He was educated locally and apprenticed under his father, Benjamin Henry Latrobe II, as an engineer for the B&O Railroad. He worked several years with his father expanding the rail lines west of the Ohio River at Wheeling, Pennsylvania. When his cousin, Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe, was elected mayor of Baltimore in 1875, Charles was appointed Chief Engineer of the Jones Falls Commission. He designed the containing walls that direct the Jones Falls through the city. The former Guilford, Calvert and Saint Paul Street bridges spanning the Jones Falls, with their monumental iron arches, were also articulated by the third generation engineer. As an architect Charles created Patterson Park’s Pagoda and Casino building, projects he worked on during his quarter century tenure as a city employee. During the Civil War he served in the Confederate Army where he earned the title of First Lieutenant in the Engineers of the Confederate States of America. Charles H. Latrobe is memorialized with a granite cross on the eastern wall of Green Mount Cemetery.

Born in 1833, Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe was the oldest son of John H. B. Latrobe. During his first professional life he practiced law with his father, working closely on the B&O Railroad’s legal affairs during its westward expansion. In 1875 Ferdinand was elected to his first of seven terms as Charm City’s top official. Loved by many in the community for his down to earth lifestyle, the mayor was known to have breakfast with his mother each morning, traveling there (as he traveled everywhere) in his horse-drawn carriage with his legendary Old Grey Mare leading the way. His political tenure was one of dignity and respect, his battles with Baltimore’s mob culture uniquely significant. In 1895 Ferdinand acquired land from the estate of Johns Hopkins that eventually became Clifton Park. He is memorialized in statue on the North Broadway median near East Baltimore Street.


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June 18th, 2011 at 10:43 am

Maximilian Godefroy’s Carriage Gates

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In 1815, French-born architect Maximilian Godefroy completed the carriage gates at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground. Godefroy designed the cemetery entrance in the Egyptian Revival style with its hourglass form symbolizing “time’s swift flight.” He earned $5000 for the work. Landing in America after fighting on the losing side of the French Revolution, Godefroy spent 15 years in Baltimore working in the architectural field. He designed the Battle Monument, First Unitarian Church and Saint Mary’s Chapel, all of which are still standing. Westminster Burying Ground is the final resting place of James McHenry, Samuel Smith and Edgar Allan Poe.

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November 24th, 2010 at 10:11 am

Architect Edmund George Lind

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Edmund George Lind was one of America’s earliest successful architects. Born in England in 1829, Lind eventually studied at the London School of Design. After apprenticing in several offices in his home country, he moved to America to work for N. G. Starkwether. The partnership gained commissions in Baltimore with Lind working on Starkwether’s design of Mount Vernon’s First and Franklin Presbyterian Church. The young architect soon switched firms, joining William T. Murdoch. Edmund’s most famous work, the Peabody Institute & Library, comes from this period.

Lind’s artistic endeavors were not limited to building design. He was interested in the correlation between math, music and color. Inspired by the acoustic properties of his physical creations, Edmund began using the number seven to create the perfect environment for sound. He noticed the relationship between the seven colors of the spectrum and the seven tones of the diatonic scale. Applying these principals to popular music of the time, Lind created visual representations of song. One piece he transposed to color was Francis Scott Key’s Star-Spangled Banner. His essays and drawings on the subject are kept at the Peabody Library.

Buildings in Baltimore designed by Edmund George Lind:

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March 31st, 2010 at 6:13 am

Stanford White and Baltimore’s Lovely Lane Church

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Stanford White (1853-1906) was one of the most successful and gifted architects of the Gilded Age. A partner in the prominent New York design firm, McKim, Mead and White, Stanford was known for his detailed artistic renderings. Specializing in elaborate private residences, he created a variety of houses throughout the eastern United States, along with public buildings and churches. The second Madison Square Garden was designed by White, its rooftop the eventual site of his highly publicized murder.

In 1906, White was shot in the head by the millionaire Harry Kendall Thaw during the premiere performance of Mam’zelle Champagne. Thaw, an avid drug user and possible sadist, was the husband of 21 year-old Evelyn Nesbit, a model, actress and former lover of White. The murder was mistaken as exhibition by the excited Madison Square Roof Garden crowd, cheers gleefully trailing three point blank pistol shots. Two massively popular trials ensued and Thaw, after pleading temporary insanity, was sentenced to an asylum. He walked in 1915 and continued his abusive, bizarre life.

White designed north Baltimore’s Lovely Lane United Methodist Church in 1884. Also known as the First Methodist Episcopal Church, the building at 2200 Saint Paul Street was completed in 1887. The Romanesque Revival style construct was modeled after the basilicas of Italy, the tower closely resembling Pomposa Abbey.

Buildings in Baltimore designed by Stanford White:

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March 10th, 2010 at 7:03 am

The Architects of Baltimore’s Historic Buildings

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This semi-chronological and ongoing list aims to clarify and organize information about some of America’s prominent early architects and the Baltimore buildings that continue to memorialize them.

Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764-1820)

Maximilian Godefroy (1765-1840)

Robert Mills (1781-1855)

Robert Cary Long, Sr. (1770-1833)

Robert Cary Long, Jr. (1810-1849)

Richard Upjohn (1802-1878)

Thomas U. Walter (1804-1887)

Joseph F. Kemp

John Rudolph Niernsee (1814-1885)

James Crawford Neilson (1816-1900)

William H. Reasin (1816-1867)

William Howard

William F. Small

N. G. Starkwether

Edmund George Lind (1829-1909)

Thomas Dixon (1819-1886)

Jackson C. Gott (1829-1909)

Charles H. Latrobe (1833-1902)

John Murdoch (1833-1907)

Nathaniel Henry Hutton (1834-1907)

E. Francis Baldwin (1837-1916)

Bruce Price (1845-1903)

Josias Pennington (1854-1929)

George A. Frederick (1842-1924)

George Archer (1848-1920)

Edward Hughes Glidden, Jr.

Charles E. Cassell (1842-1916)

Henry F. Brauns (1845-1917)

Daniel H. Burnham (1846-1912)

McKim, Mead & White

Stanford White (1853-1906)

James Bosley Noel Wyatt (1847-1933)

William G. Nolting (d. 1926)

Charles L. Carson (1847-1891)

Joseph Evans Sperry (1854-1930)

Louis L. Long

Joseph C. Hornblower (1848–1908)

John Rush Marshall (1851–1927)

George C. Haskell (1852-1925)

T. Buckler Ghequiere (1854-1910)

Otto G. Simonson (1862-1922)

Theodore Wells Pietsch (1868-1930)

Kenneth MacKenzie Murchison (1872-1938)

Thomas White Lamb (1871-1942)

  • Hippodrome Theatre (1914)

Clyde N. Friz (1867-1942)

John Russell Pope (1874-1937)

Laurence Hall Fowler (1876-1971)

Philip H. Frohman (1887-1972)

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January 27th, 2010 at 2:41 pm