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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT Files, n.d.
Hebrew Orphan Asylum
Inventory No.: B-5180
Other Name(s): West Baltimore General Hospital; Lutheran Hospital of Maryland; Tuerk House
Date Listed: 10/28/2010
Location: 2700 Rayner Avenue (730 N. Ashburton), Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1876, 1944
Architect/Builder: Architect: Lupus & Roby/ Builder: Edward Brady; Architect: Henry Powell Hopkins/ Builder: John K. Ruff Company
Description: The Hebrew Orphan Asylum (HOA) is an 1875 four-story brick Romanesque structure, substantially attached by a four-story brick hyphen to the 1944 three-story Colonial Revival building known as the Tuerk House. The area to the north of these structures was formerly the site of several additional structures associated with the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the West Baltimore General Hospital, and the Lutheran Hospital of Maryland. These were demolished in early 2009 and the spaces currently remain vacant green space. The asylum building is composed of a four-story central block flanked on the east and west by two three-story wings all built from red brick with stone trim. The corners of the wings and the corners of the central block feature octagonal turrets extending above the roof line. The primary south façade is symmetrical in composition and characterized by a large central porch that provides access to the first floor of the building. All window openings, and the arches of the one-bay porch sheltering the central entrance, are round arched. Those on the central block are surmounted by curved architraves terminating in blocks. Ground-floor windows are separated from the large first-floor windows by a decorative string course of molded brick that wraps continuously around the west, south, and east sides of the building. Both the wings and central block are sheltered by a flat asphalt clad roof and the central block features a parapet roof projecting up around the front and both sides. The brick is laid in a running bond pattern. Both wings are four bays wide on the front, four bays deep, and five bays wide at the rear. The central block, including the octagonal turrets located at the southeast and southwest corners, is five bays wide and six bays deep. The entire building is ornamented by an elaborate galvanized iron cornice with a corbelled appearance. The full entablature resembles a Lombard band with repetitive arches below a modest Doric cornice. The projecting central bay, above the entrance, contains a single window. The third floor contains a pair of yet smaller windows. Between these two levels is a stone panel, equal in width to the central bay, with the incised all capitals text, "Hebrew Orphan Asylum." In general, first-floor windows are large, second-floor windows are slightly smaller, and third-floor windows are smaller yet. Stories are separated by a stone band. The wings lack the architraves and the third floor, but are otherwise similar. The interior of the asylum is organized around a central hall within the central core space. The 1944 Tuerk House is a four-story Colonial Revival structure composed of a medium brown brick laid in Flemish bond. The L-shaped building is seven bays deep on the south face by fifteen bays wide on the east face. The north-south leg of the leg is 3 bays wide on the north face and the east-west leg of the hyphen is four bays deep. The corners of the structure echo the turrets of the asylum building with shallow projections running the full height of the building at the corner and between the first and second bay, as well as the second to last and last bay on each face of the structure. This same detail is used in the stone cladding that defines the three bays around the primary entrance with a shallow projection between each bay. This entrance, on the east face of the structure, is comprised of a set of wide glass double doors with a glass transom above. The door is surrounded by a three-bay wide wooden surround that rises to meet the sill of the windows on the second floor. The top edge of the surround is detailed with a modest cornice with exaggerated dentils. The interior of the Tuerk House is based around a small central lobby and communal spaces with individual rooms for patients accessible from central halls. There are multiple openings connecting the Tuerk House with an attached hyphen. Within these spaces original window openings and later door openings between the Hebrew Orphan Asy Significance: The history of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum site spans nearly 200 years of development from its beginning 1815 as "Calverton", the country home of Baltimore banker Dennis Smith. The Calverton mansion served as the Baltimore City and County Almshouse from 1820 through 1866 and became the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in 1872. An 1874 fire destroyed the Calverton mansion, and led to the construction of the present building, which was specifically designed as an orphanage and was dedicated in 1876. The building transitioned to serve as the West Baltimore General Hospital from 1923 through 1945 and finally as the Lutheran Hospital of Maryland from 1945 to 1989. The attached Tuerk House was constructed in 1944 for the West Baltimore General Hospital. The Hebrew Orphan Asylum is historically significant for the institution’s association with the Jewish history of Baltimore, and architecturally significant as a rare example of a 19th century purpose-built orphanage and as the work of the little-known master architects Edward Lupus and Henry A. Roby in their partnership Lupus & Roby. The attached Tuerk House is also historically significant for its close association with the broader growth of the West Baltimore area in the early 20th century, and architecturally as a representative example of the institutional medical architecture of notable Maryland architect Henry Powell Hopkins.


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