MHT File Photo
Gallagher Mansion and Outbuilding
431-435, Notre Dame Lane, Baltimore, Baltimore City
The Gallagher Mansion is a large house near the southwest corner of York Road and Notre Dame Lane in the Govans section of northern Baltimore City. It was originally built in the mid 19th century as an Italianate villa, and was subsequently enlarged and embellished in the Second Empire style of the later mid century. The walls are built of local rough fieldstone and rubble. There is a mansard roof covered with decorative slate including polychrome bands of hexagonal-cut and diamond-cut shingles. The house is three stories high, the third story being within the mansard. Its most distinctive architectural features include the mansard roof, the French windows, the Italianate entrance loggia, the true stone construction, and perhaps most interesting, the rear service wing, which upon close examination clearly reflects the stages of alteration and enlargement that gave us the present Second Empire house. The house was built, in its original Italianate form, sometime between 1854 and 1857. The Second Empire enlargements were done in 1873 or shortly thereafter. The outbuilding is a rectangular wood carriage house, two stories high, with a hip roof and cupola.
The Gallagher Mansion is significant for its architecture, and for its association with two prominent Baltimore citizens. Architecturally, it embodies the distinctive characteristics of an Italianate villa of the 1850s enlarged and embellished in the Second Empire style of the 1870s. It is one of only three extant local examples of the mansardic mode employed in a large stone villa. (The others are Clover Hill and Cylburn.) Also, with its mix of styles from different stages of construction, it is an essay in the mid-19th-century evolution of local style and taste, a progression rarely illustrated in a single building. Its exterior walls are built of rough fieldstone and rubble. This is a highly unusual building material in Baltimore, and it is especially rare among such large and elaborate houses. The walls are of true stone construction. Most "stone" buildings actually have brick walls covered by stone veneers. The polychromatic, decorative cut shingle roof, having shingles of three distinct shapes and three different colors, is the most elaborate roof covering surviving on a mansard in Baltimore. The property derives additional significance from its historic associations: the original portion of the house was built sometime between 1854 and 1857 for Dr. Benjamin W. Woods, a former Army surgeon and a veteran of the Second Seminole War of 1835-1842. Woods was the only physician practicing in that north-central vicinity during part of the time he lived there, and there were never more than three other physicians during his career in Govans; thus he was important to the health and social development of the north central Baltimore region. Also, in 1854, Woods was one of five principal organizers of the turnpike company that extended Charles Street from the old city line north to what is now Bellona Avenue; thus he helped create one of Baltimore’s major transportation arteries. The house’s alterations and enlargements were done in 1873 or shortly thereafter for Patrick Gallagher, a Baltimore County roads commissioner and proprietor of a Govans grocery. Since the village of Govanstown was the hub of a sub-economy of farms and estates north of Baltimore, and since Gallagher’s grocery business was a point of exchange, where people from the area bought provisions from elsewhere as well as selling some of their own products, Gallagher played a significant role in the economic development of the region.