Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital & Gate House
6501, North Charles Street (MD 139), Towson, Baltimore County
The gatehouse of the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital is a symmetrical, two-story structure of the Tudor Revival style. Constructed of fieldstone, it has a large central open archway through which vehicles passed until 2001 when a bypass drive was constructed. This central gable-front portion features three small round-arched 1/1 sash windows above the arch, and a small bullseye window in the top of the attic gable. All gables on the building are decorated with elaborate bargeboards and drops. Flanking the steeply roofed main section are two gable-roofed side sections, with perpendicular ridgelines. The front facade of each features a gable-roofed dormer projecting towards the front facade of each, containing a single round-arched 1/1 sash window, and below is a double 4/4 sash window in a segmental arched opening. The side elevations also contain 1/1 sash round-arched windows in the attic gables. The rear elevation of these wings extend past the central section making a U-shaped structure in plan. These rear wings do not have dormers but instead have decorated cross gables. Each wing has one interior chimney. The Gatehouse plan provides for two separate cottage units, one on either side of the archway. The main hospital itself consists of two immense buildings designed by Calvert Vaux. Designed to accommodate men in one and women in the other, these 3 1/2-story structures each with a six-story tower are virtual mirror images of each other. They are 360' long and were originally separated by a 100'-wide courtyard. In 1971 this space was filled in by the New Central building which, though modern in design, is in harmony with the Vaux work. Each of the Vaux buildings are roughly T-shaped in plan, with many cross gables, oriel windows, towers, and setbacks. A hybrid of the English Norman and Italianate styles, the buildings have very spare decoration and derive their impressive dignity and impact from the advancing and receding planes of the walls and complex juxtaposition of the roof forms. The interior arrangement of the two buildings represents a major step forward in the planning of mental institutions.
The Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital has been for over a century one of the leading private hospitals in the country devoted to the care and treatment of the mentally ill. The architecture of the two principal buildings of the hospital, built from 1862 to 1891 and known originally as the Western Division and the Eastern Division, were designed by the nationally prominent architect Calvert Vaux who also designed most of the buildings in Central Park, New York. These two buildings are virtual mirror images of each other and together with their twin towers present and impressive aspect over 800' long. The dramatic appearance of these Norman Revival buildings is, however, secondary to their functional design which marked a milestone in psychiatric planning by separating patients according to the nature of their illness, and attempting to create for each category a pleasant, self-contained, non-institutional environment. The gatehouse of the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, was designed by Thomas and James M. Dixon of Baltimore in 1860 and constructed by John L. Gittier, builder. This quaint Tudor Revival double cottage, located at the Charles Street Avenue entrance to the hospital, was the first building to be built and has become familiar to generations of passersby. It is used by the hospital as their symbol and as a result they requested National Historic Landmark evaluation for it alone. However, familiarity cannot be substituted for architectural excellence and the Gatehouse, for all its charm, is in no way exceptional.