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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Michael O. Bourne, 09/1996
Charlcote House
Inventory No.: B-4171
Other Name(s): James Swan Frick House
Date Listed: 10/17/1988
Location: 15 Charlcote Place, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1914-1916
Architect/Builder: Architect: John Russell Pope; Builder: Cowan Building Co.
Description: Charlcote House is a three-story brick detached Classical Revival dwelling built about 1914-1916 in the Guilford development of Baltimore County (now part of Baltimore City), Maryland. The house is basically rectangular and is set on an east-west axis with the principal entrance in the five-bay north elevation. The entrance is recessed and elaborated by Composite columns in antis. The five-bay south elevation has a central bow element with Composite-capped pilasters and pedimented French doors opening on a terrace. At the east and west ends of the house are enclosed one-story sun porches. The hipped roof is hidden by a plain parapet. The principal rooms are arranged around a T-shaped entry and cross hall paved with marble tiles. The three largest rooms face south and were originally connected enfilade, but the doorway between the drawing room and the library is now closed off. A reception room and office or small library flank the entrance hall and the main staircase rises from the west end of the cross hall. The second floor contains five bedrooms and service rooms. The third floor contains servants’ rooms divided by a wall down the central hall to separate white and black employees. The only other structure on the property is a small brick garage directly north of the house. The lot is shield-shaped with its two buildings placed toward the north side and focused south toward the point of the lawn which is enclosed by a brick wall with a wrought iron decorative arc at the south point. The lot contains large trees and groups of shrubbery possibly based on the original landscape plan by the Olmsted Brothers. The house is virtually unaltered since its construction except for minor changes in doorways on the first floor. Its style, size, and setting are eloquent statements of the social and economic status of its original and subsequent owners. Significance: Charlcote House is one of the two identified domestic buildings in Maryland and the only one in Baltimore entirely designed by John Russell Pope, the nationally prominent architect. Pope is best known for his monumental Neo-Classical work in the early 20th century in Washington, D.C., which helped define a Federal architectural style during the period 1915-1937. His residential designs were also widely recognized for their archeological precision combined with a uniquely American feeling. Charlcote House was designed and built for James Swan Frick just prior to or coinciding with the beginning of Pope’s predominantly monumental work. The other known Maryland residential buildings are Woodend, built 1927-1928 in Chevy Chase, a National Register site since 1980, and the 1905 remodeling of the Garrett-Jacobs House (The Engineering Center) at 11 West Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore, also a National Register property. Charlcote House is unique in its suburban setting among the three residences and is one of the relatively few of this type that Pope designed. Charlcote’s decorative details were most likely inspired by the library wing at Bowood, Wiltshire, England, where the Composite order was used in the Adam brothers’ remodeling. The high quality of design and the setting of the house on a large lot in Guilford mark Charlcote House as an architectural landmark.


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