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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: MHT File Photo, 01/21/1989
President Street Station
Inventory No.: B-3741
Date Listed: 9/10/1992
Location: President Street & Fleet Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1849-1850; 1861
Architect/Builder: Architect: George A. Parker
Description: The President Street Station, constructed in 1849-1850 by the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad, stands at the southeast corner of President and Fleet Streets (formerly Canton Avenue) in Baltimore. The surviving portion comprises the headhouse, a 2-story brick structure in the Italianate style with a barrel-vault roof. The headhouse contained passenger ticketing and waiting facilities and the offices of the railroad company. The building is constructed of brick laid in common bond, and measures approximately 66 x 28 feet. As originally built, a 218 x 66 foot trainshed extended from the east wall of the headhouse. Significance: The President Street Station is important in Baltimore and Maryland history. Constructed in 1849-50, this station is the second oldest train station remaining in Baltimore. Maryland was the site of the first railroad in the United States. Baltimore’s vigorous commercial and manufacturing growth in the mid-19th century was sustained by a network of railroads. By 1861, Baltimore was an important railroad center in the country. The Baltimore and Ohio; the Northern Central; and the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore (for which this station was built), linked the city directly to West Virginia, Delaware, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and the anthracite fields of Pennsylvania. Point beyond were linked indirectly through connecting railroads. The oldest station in Baltimore, Mount Clare---built in the 1830s, was used only for a year or two, and did not originally have train sheds. The President Street station is one of the first large city stations in the country to take the traditional station form incorporating a huge train shed made possible only by the development of a unique trussed arch by engineer George Howe. Part of one of the original arches still exists, but it no longer functions in its original purpose and, unfortunately, the original train shed was destroyed around the turn of the 20th century. The President Street Station also is important for the state’s history for association with events in the Civil War. Although Maryland did not secede from the union, a large section of the population---including vast numbers in Baltimore---were sympathetic to the Southern cause. On April 19, 1861, Union troops debarking from President Street station for transfer across town to Camden Station were attacked by a mob of Southern sympathizers. This event inspired the composition of the state anthem, "Maryland, My Maryland," by James Ryder Randall.

 

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