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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Janet Davis, 03/1986
Frank, L., & Sons Building
Inventory No.: B-2360
Date Listed: 1/19/1995
Location: 407 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1875
Description: Erected about 1875, the L. Frank & Sons Building is a four-story brick commercial building with a cast-iron façade. 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 obscured by a plain brick wall with a plate glass window flanking the off-center entrance. A canvas awning is located above the window and door. The storefront cornice is enclosed in a box. The upper window openings on the façade are filled in and covered with stucco. The three-bay cast iron façade survives, defined by window openings topped with flat arches with rounded corners and framed by chamfered piers with floral capitals. Intermediary cornices at each floor level are terminated by scrolled brackets. The main cornice has a paneled frieze and scrolled consoles. The cast iron façade is painted in shades of cream and brown. The building has a flat sloping roof and a partially exposed east elevation which adjoins a covered drive-through bank. Significance: The Italianate-style L. Frank & Sons Building is significant as representing a full cast iron front type building. Documentary and architectural evidence suggest that the four-story iron front building was constructed at the same time as the adjacent #409, about 1875. The building was constructed for Samuel Stein & Bros., who had started in business as clothing manufacturers in 1852 but switched to banking in the 1870s. Presumably the building was a speculative venture for the firm. The tenant at this time was Charles Weatherby, a dealer in iron ranges and furnaces, who remained at this address until 1877. The shoe manufacturing concern of L. Frank & Sons moved into the building in 1878 and remained there until 1886. By 1890, the building accommodated the Dannenberg Manufacturing Co., manufacturers of infants’ wear; their 50 operatives occupied three floors. IN 1989, ownership of the property passed to A.J. Strauss & Co., pants manufacturers. In the early 20th century, the ground floor became a restaurant called the New York Fancy Cake Bakery, operated by Osias Schonfeld, who purchased the building in 1919. The restaurant was to be succeeded by the Traffic Cafeteria. The upper floors continued to be leased to tailors and other garment-related industries throughout the historic period.

 

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