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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Caroline Kellam, 04/1988
St. Michael's Church Complex
Inventory No.: B-4208
Date Listed: 5/17/1989
Location: 1900-1920 E. Lombard Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1857-1938
Architect/Builder: Architects: Louis L. Long, Frank E. Davis, Otto Goldbach, and Peter Dedio
Description: St. Michael’s Church is a late 19th century Romanesque Revival, rectangular shaped, attached structure surrounded by six related secondary buildings and one small outbuilding with construction dates ranging from 1857-1860, 1870-1874, 1884, 1900, and c. 1896-1914. These buildings make up the community at St. Michael’s in the Washington Hill section of East Baltimore. Overall, the seven main buildings: the Church, Girls’ School, Rectory, Boys’ School, Convent, Brothers’ Residence, and the Parish Hall are semidetached, three to four-story structures constructed of common bond brick or granite with stone or granite trim, wood doors and windows, pitched asphalt roofs, and some Romanesque Revival details such as corbeled brick cornices, round arches, central gables, and spandrels. The relationship between the buildings creates a community feeling with all the structures located either attached to, beside one another, or across from each other within the complex. Four of the central structures: the Girls’ School, Church, Rectory, the Parish Hall, and an 8-foot-high brick wall running along South Chapel Street form a private courtyard and garden for the Fathers. Directly across South Wolfe Street is the Brothers’ Residence and the Boys’ School, and immediately across East Lombard Street is the Convent and its small outbuilding. Interior connections exist between the Girls’ School, Church, and Rectory. The interiors of the Boys’ School and the Brothers’ Residence also connect. St. Michael’s’ overall integrity has been remarkably maintained both interior and exterior. As a complex, the community feeling still exists and there have been no intrusions within the immediate area of St. Michael’s Church which could damage the relationship of these buildings as a complex. Significance: St. Michael’s Church and the religious community formed by its buildings is associated with the significant waves of German Catholic immigrants that settled in East Baltimore during the mid-19th century and the Redemptorists who took charge of these German Catholics as part of their mission here in Baltimore. As a religious missionary order, the Redemptorists made considerable contributions to the education and assimilation of German Catholic immigrants who produced necessary labor for the railroads and assisted in the industrial transition of Baltimore during the second half of the 19th century. The Redemptorists used the School Sisters of Notre Dame as their educators in their parochial schools, which at one time had one of the largest enrollments in Baltimore. Finally, the longevity of St. Michael’s Church as a Redemptorist church designates it as the oldest continuously operating Redemptorist Catholic church in Baltimore possessing the largest extant, completely intact Redemptorist complex remaining in the city.

 

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