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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: L. Wingate, 04/2000
Grace-Hampden Methodist Episcopal Church
Inventory No.: B-3660
Date Listed: 8/2/2001
Location: 1014 W. 36th Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1899-1904
Architect/Builder: Architect: George Clifton Haskell; Builder: Gladfelter & Chambers
Description: Grace-Hampden Methodist Episcopal Church is a large stone building constructed in 1899 at the principal intersection in the Hampden neighborhood in Baltimore City. The church exemplifies the distinguishing characteristics of the Romanesque Revival style in its complex massing featuring multiple gables and a square tower and masonry construction utilizing local granite with round-arched openings and decorative sill and lintel courses. The asymmetrical three-part design reflects the functions of the structure. The western, cross-gabled volume of the sanctuary and nave is situated at the corner of 36th Street and Hickory Avenue. The square, hipped, belfry tower which serves as the central entrance is both engaged and projecting from the auditorium and Sunday school wing. The latter section’s volume and prominence are diminished by the setback, hipped shape of the clerestory roof and its location along a secondary alley to the east. The three parts are unified by their materials, decoration, and fenestration with the two larger volumes sharing the longest ridge of the slate roof. The stonework appears to be of locally quarried "Falls Road granite." The coursed ashlar has areas of random bond close to the cornerstones. The capitals of the engaged columns flanking the door appear to be of sandstone. Tall, rectangular 1/1 double-hung windows dominate the lower levels and leaded glass sets off the western sanctuary. A sillcourse around the main floor echoes the horizontal banding of the wider lintel course of the lower level. Despite damage by fire in 1999, the building retains a high degree of integrity in its interior features, and a recent rehabilitation has respected the primary interior spaces---sanctuary, auditorium, and Sunday school rooms. Significance: The Grace Hampden United Methodist Church is significant as an example of late 19th century ecclesiastical architecture in the Romanesque Revival style in Baltimore. It represents the first ecclesiastical commission of local architect George Clifton Haskell, and its design was sufficiently successful to serve as the model for another Baltimore church. It embodies the distinctive characteristics of the Romanesque Revival in its locally quarried granite masonry, round arches and horizontal banding, slate roofing, and the stained glass windows in a variety of configurations. The building is an architectural landmark in the Hampden community, and has served the neighborhood in a variety of functions. The congregation and facility provided religious, social, and educational services, including choirs, church school, charitable committees, day care center, Boy Scout troops, high school equivalency education, and an historical retrospective exhibit to the evolving community over the course of 100 years.

 

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