Aaron M. Levin
239 North Gay Street
239, Gay St., N., Baltimore, Baltimore City
The building at 239 North Gay Street is located on the southwest corner of North Gay and Front Streets. Built around 1875, the building is a tall three-story iron-front structure of Italianate style. It was altered at street level by the construction of a modern store façade. Some of the original cast iron framing elements may remain in place behind this modern screen. The upper stories are essentially unaltered, displaying a three-bay cast-iron façade which wraps around the north corner of the building (Front Street elevation) a distance of one bay. Large window openings are flanked by Corinthian columns and headed by segmental arches. The windows are set deeply within the openings; the edge of the spandrels between the arches is decorated with a continuous molded band. Solid panels have been installed over the double-hung sash. Between the second and third floor levels, an intermediary cornice comprising crown molding above a dentil course runs between consoles decorated with heraldic shields. Piers at the corners of the façade are decorated with recessed panels. The building cornice has a deep overhang, supported on large curvilinear brackets with stylized modillions; the cornice returns at the north corner, and continues completely across the Front Street elevation. The Front Street façade is six bays wide, constructed of brick laid in common bond. The northern half of the street level has been altered, with infill and small glass-block windows. A secondary entrance remains in the south bay, and a small window is located in the second bay from the south on the street level; these openings are topped with brick segmental arches. On the second and third stories, the cast-iron structure and detailing is repeated in the westernmost bay; the remaining bays are defined by tall 2/2 sash windows with segmental-arched heads, decorated with heavy molded hoods of cast iron. The rear elevation is two bays wide, with infilled openings at each level, and a corbeled brick cornice.
239 North Gay Street achieved its present configuration about 1875. The 1880 Sanborn map shows an iron front store, 3 stories, 50’ high, at this location. In 1896, Emanuel Schloss was assessed for a 3-story iron front building; M. Rosenblatt, clothier, was listed as tenant. In 1974, the property was purchased by Anthony R. Spartana; Spartana had founded an electronic supplies business in 1925. This building is historically significant as representing a Full Cast Iron Front and Major Exterior Cast Iron Detail type building.