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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Jennifer K. Cosham, 03/25/2006
Cylburn House and Park District
Inventory No.: B-46
Date Listed: 5/4/1973
Location: 4915 Greenspring Avenue, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1888
Architect/Builder: Architect: George A. Frederick
Description: The architect of Cylburn House, George A. Frederick, designed the structure in Renaissance-Revival-style and constructed the mansion of dressed gneiss stone, quarried in the Bare Hills area of Baltimore County. The building is 2 ½ stories with a 3 ½-story tower on the principal (south) façade. A 1-story, open veranda extends around the south and west sides of the house. On the west there is a porte-cochere, formerly a carriage entrance. Cylburn House has a hip-on-hip roof with a kick, or "bell cast," at the eaves. Narrow, elongated, paned dormers in the lower hip have curved roofs. A bracketed, exterior cornice with dentils surrounds the house. The second story window lintels are curved and the window as a unit extends to the veranda floor. The veranda cornice is plain with dentils only. The porch roof is supported by square columns with scrolled fretwork brackets at the juncture of the cornice and each pier. The tower projects above the south wall and roof. A 3-window semicircular bay window on the second floor projects from the south tower wall and supports a third-floor balcony. The two floor-length, narrow window-doors open onto the third-floor balcony. Each of the pair has semicircular stone trim. The tower cornice, above the third floor window-doors, is bracketed, and above this is a four-sided Mansard tower roof with a round-head dormer, one in the east and one in the west roof face of the tower. A two-story stone wing extends from the north side of the building. The house is surrounded by 165 acres of lawns, woods, 11 nature trails, and individual gardens. Significance: Cylburn House and Park have great significance to the citizens of Baltimore as park land, as an area for the study of horticulture, and as a small museum of natural history. It represents an educational alternative use for a large 19th century house and its extensive grounds in any city. It typifies status as constructed for a late 19th-century owner of exceptional wealth, and the success resulting from engaging a good architect. The house is significant as an example of a post-Civil War "mansion," many of which have already been demolished. Its designer, George A. Frederick, (1842-1924), was one of the most important late 19th-century architects working in Baltimore. Frederick began his practice in Baltimore at the age of 20. He received the commission for the Cylburn House in 1863, at age 21. The house was built for Jesse Tyson, a mining magnate and President of the Baltimore Chrome Works. Tyson had inherited a controlling interest in the company from his father, Isaac Tyson, Jr., who pioneered the development of chrome processing. In the 1860s, Tyson began amassing small tracts of land along the Jones Falls for a country house which he envisioned as the "finest house in Maryland." The impressive stone structure was furnished with pieces of furniture custom made for him in Florence, Italy.
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