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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: JP, Undated Photo
Franklin Street Presbyterian Church & Parsonage
Inventory No.: B-23, B-1988
Date Listed: 11/5/1971
Location: 100 W. Franklin Street, 502 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: church: 1844-1847; parsonage: 1857
Architect/Builder: church: Robert Cary Long, Jr.; parsonage: R. Snowden Andrews
Description: The Franklin Street Church is a rectangular Tudor Gothic building. Essentially a hall-type church, it has seven bays on the Cathedral Street elevation. A large entrance on the main (Franklin Street) fa├žade is trimmed with stone and set in an arched stone head. Above the door is a similarly shaped window with Perpendicular tracery. The central roof gable is crenelated and accented by stone coping. The 60 foot flanking octagonal towers are also crenelated and have louvered belfry openings. Stone buttresses and a frieze surround the doorway. Along the sides the bays are divided by buttresses and each one contains a stained glass Gothic-arched window. Stone belt courses accent the brick exterior, which was originally painted to resemble stone. The length of the chancel was increased in 1865. Inside, the church is paneled with oak and the bottom chords of the roof trusses are exposed. Similar in design to the church, the parsonage has walls of brick, heavy Tudor-Gothic window hoods, and battlements atop the roof. Significance: An important Gothic Revival landmark in American architecture, the former Franklin Street Presbyterian Church contrasts with the neo-classical Basilica of the Assumption and the First Unitarian Church. The difference in the styles was originally less apparent when the original scored stucco exterior was still in place on the Franklin Street Church. The Franklin Street Presbyterian Church was incorporated in 1844 by a group of men from the First Presbyterian Church who felt the need for a new church in the fast-growing northern section of the city. They purchased the lot and chose Robert Cary Long, Jr. as the architect. Long persuaded the Trustees that the popular neo-classical style of architecture was too costly and selected the Tudor style instead. Business relationships between Long and the Trustees were frequently strained by lack of funds and the claim that Long was too slow in submitting his drawings. The structure, however, was dedicated February 22, 1847. A parsonage, designed by R. Snowden Andrews, was constructed next to the church on the Cathedral Street side, in 1857. In the ensuing years, the congregation thrived and members have been instrumental in organizing other Presbyterian churches in the city. At the close of the Civil War, in 1866, the Franklin Street congregation severed connections with the Presbytery of Baltimore because of a dispute over the requirement of paying allegiance to the Federal government. This resulted in the formation of the Presbytery of Maryland, or the "Southern" Presbyterian Church.
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