Jennifer Goold, Betty Bird and Associates
Southern District Police Station
28, Ostend St., Baltimore, Baltimore City
The Southern District Police Station, constructed in 1896, is a monumental Romanesque Revival steel-frame building faced in stone and brick. The station is comprised of a three-story cubic main block (set on a full basement), a two-story rear ell, and two c. 1950s additions that fill most of the remainder of the corner lot. The organization of the building reflects its original function as a Baltimore Police Department station house. The cubical mass is capped by a hipped slate roof, pierced by single large dormers on three sides. The first story is faced with quarry-faced ashlar stone. The second story is faced in pressed brick laid in a running bond detailed with stone. Ornamentation includes rusticated stone, round-arched openings, stone and corbeled brick beltcourses and stringcourses, Bartizan-inspired piers, and carved stonework featuring groteques and foliate elements. The building name, "Southern District Police Station," and date of construction, "1896," are carved over the center bay of the front (south) façade. An original ell and a c. 1950s addition, each two stories in height, extend from the rear (north) façade. A second small late 1950s addition projects out from the east façade. At the time of these additions, the police department altered window openings, fenestration, and the interior of the building. In 1990, a more recent owner, Baltimore Jobs and Energy Projects, further altered the interior. The clarity of architectural design has survived these changes and the building retains sufficient integrity to convey the architectural image employed by the Baltimore Police Department at the end of the 19th century.
The Southern District Police Station, built in 1896, is locally significant for its association with the development of the Baltimore Police Department. The station is an important artifact of municipal expansion in Baltimore neighborhoods. Constructed at the dawn of an era of police reform, the building marks the implementation of new technology and ideology in police work. The building remained in use by the Baltimore Police Department until the mid 1980s, when it was sold to a local non-profit group. The Southern District Police Station remains as a significant reminder of municipal expansion and police reform ideals in Baltimore at the turn of the 20th century. It also derives significance as an example of Romanesque Revival architecture.