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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Fred B. Shoken, 03/1986
Knipp, George & Brother Building
Inventory No.: B-2320
Date Listed: 12/1/1994
Location: 117-121 N. Howard 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 George Knipp & Brother Building at 121 North Howard Street is a five-story brick commercial structure with a four-bay cast-iron façade, constructed about 1875. The two lowest stories have been altered by the addition of a modern brick and metal façade which unites the building with 117 and 119 North Howard Street. The cast iron façade of the upper stories remains intact, comprising four bays defined by large window openings flanked by Corinthian columns and headed by flat arches with rounded corners. Dark translucent plastic has been installed in the window openings; the visible sash have 2/2 lights. The floor levels are marked by intermediary cornices comprising crown and bed molding running between consoles decorated with heraldic shields, above a geometric frieze. Piers at the corners of the façade are decorated with recessed panels. The building cornice has a deep overhang, supported on large foliated brackets above a frieze enriched with stylized modillions. Significance: The George Knipp & Brother Building is significant as representing a Full Cast Iron Front type building. 121 North Howard Street achieved its present configuration about 1875. The Baltimore city directory for 1870 indicates this address as the dwelling of John C. Knipp, a use which is inconsistent with the present building. The property was the location of John Knipps’ furniture business and his brother George Knipp’s enterprise in gas fixtures and plumbing supplies. It is likely that the present building was constructed between 1870 and 1876, when George Knipp was assessed for a 5-story iron front warehouse on the site. The building continued to be occupied by George Knipp & Brother until George Knipp’s death in 1904. At that time, the furniture and carpet firm of John Turnbull, Jr. and Son moved in, having been burned out of their quarters at 16 W. Baltimore Street. The Turnbull firm occupied the building for only about a year. Between 1910 and 1915, the carpet and furniture firm of Gusdorff and Joseph occupied 117, 119, 119 ½, and 121 North Howard Street. In 1927-28, Theo Friedmann, Inc., shoe repair, was a tenant in #121. Since 1929, the J.G. McCrory Co. store has occupied the first two stories and basement of the 117-121 complex. The Celestial Restaurant was also located in the building in 1930.


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