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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Chas Belfoure, 04/2001
Northern District Police Station
Inventory No.: B-1339
Date Listed: 12/28/2001
Location: 3355 Keswick Road, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1899
Architect/Builder: Architect: Henry Brauns
Description: The Northern District Police Station is a complex of interconnected buildings designed in the late Victorian/French Renaissance style consisting of a three-story main station house with a hipped roof and dormers. A two story building which had originally housed the cellblock connects to the rear of the station house. The main building is in turn attached to a pair of hipped roof garages which were originally used as livery buildings. They are in turn connected to an L-shaped building consisting of the original clerestoried stable and flat roofed garage. Along with another separate garage on the southern edge of the lot, the buildings encircle a courtyard which is now used as a parking lot. It is accessed from West 34th Street through an arched entry between the two livery buildings. The walls are brick with a granite base and brownstone trim and the hipped roofs are sheathed in slate with wrought iron finials and ridge cresting. The unattached garage is built in brick with a flat roof. The main façade, which fronts on Keswick Road, is symmetrical in design with identical two-story slate roofed turrets at each end. The detailing includes stained glass transoms set in keystoned brownstone arches and carved brownstone bases that seat brick pilasters. The interior consists mainly of plastered walls with wood wainscoting and pressed tin ceilings and wood stripped floor now covered with vinyl tile. The original wrought iron stair is still intact. The original gymnasium on the third floor is still used. Significance: The Northern District Police Station is architecturally significant as an outstanding example of late 19th century Victorian eclectic design in Baltimore’s public buildings. It’s massing and impressive architectural detailing demonstrate the high degree of regard that governments of the period in American cities gave aesthetics when it came to the design of important civic structures. The building embodies the distinctive characteristics of the French Renaissance chateauesque style, which was a strain of late 19th century Victorian eclecticism, with its detailing and palette of red brick and brownstone, using such materials as stained glass, pressed tin ceilings, wainscoting, and central steel and wrought iron stair. This is probably the best and most intact example of this style in Baltimore. The Northern District Police Station was designed by Henry Brauns, one of the founding members of the Baltimore Chapter of the AIA in 1870. The building is also significant for the important role it played in the category of government and law for over 100 years, serving Baltimoreans in the northern section of the city which almost doubled in size from land taken in by annexation from 1888 to 1917. The building chronicles the evolution of police work from the Late Victorian era to the present. Out of the city’s three remaining stations from this period, the Northern District is the most intact and is the only one used in its original function.
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