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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Janet Davis, 03/1986
409 West Baltimore Street
Inventory No.: B-2359
Date Listed: 12/1/1994
Location: 409 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1875
Related Multiple Property Record: Cast Iron Architecture of Baltimore, Maryland, 1850-1904
Description: The building at 409 West Baltimore Street, known historically as the N. Hess & Bro. Building, is a four-story brick commercial building with a cast-iron façade above an altered storefront, erected about 1875. It is located on the south side of West Baltimore Street about 160’ west of North Eutaw Street in central Baltimore. The principal elevation faces north. The first floor storefront is completely obscured by a plain brick wall which extends across the adjoining building on the east (#407). This wall is pierced by two small rectangular fixed windows flanking the off-center entrance. The cast iron façade remains intact on the upper stories, however; it is three bays wide, defined by chamfered piers with foliated capitals flanking window openings whose arches have rounded corners and flat tops. Windows are large 2/2 sash. The floor levels are marked by intermediary cornices spanning between consoles; the building cornice has a deep bracketed overhang above a paneled frieze enriched with quatrefoil appliques Significance: This building is significant as representing a full cast iron front type building. Documentary and structural evidence suggest that it was constructed at the same time as its neighbor, #407, about 1875. The property was owned at the time by the successful Reiman family, who owned a wholesale grocery company, and probably constructed the building. The boot and shoe factory of N. Hess and Brother occupied the building in 1876. Nathan Hess, shoemaker, immigrated from Germany in 1852 and began manufacturing shoes in Baltimore in 1872 in partnership with his brother Sol. Following the death of Nathan Hess in 1883, the Hess Shoes firm moved out of the building, and by 1898 Mendel Schwartz & Sons, wholesale clothiers, had become the occupants. Since that time, the structure has been occupied by four different dry goods or clothing stores. In 1983, the property was joined with the adjacent 407 W. Baltimore Street, and is currently occupied by the Discount Depot, a wholesale clothing business.


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