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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: Heather Ewing, 11/1998
Stewart's Department Store
Inventory No.: B-2290
Date Listed: 9/3/1999
Location: 201 N. Howard Street & 226-232 W. Lexington Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1899; c. 1910
Architect/Builder: Architects: Charles E. Cassell
Description: Stewart’s Department Store, originally called The Posner Building, was designed in 1899 by Charles E. Cassell. It is a six story brick and terra cotta steel-frame building detailed in a highly ornate Italian Renaissance Revival style. Its exuberant ornamental detail includes fluted Ionic and Corinthian columns, lion heads, caryatids, wreaths, garlands, cartouches, and an elaborate bracketed cornice. The building has two detailed façades that face onto Howard Street (west) and Lexington Street (south); the Clay Street façade (north) is finished in a utilitarian manner, and the east façade joins with adjacent buildings. Roughly square in plan, Stewart’s has three components: a five-story late 19th-century brick building at the corner of Clay and Howard Streets (the northwest corner of Stewart’s), the 1899 main block, and a ca. 1910 addition to the east, detailed to match the 1899 building. The interior of the building consists of open plan space that retains few decorative features dating to the building’s period of significance. Stewart’s Department Store was historically one of four major department store buildings that anchored the intersection of Howard and Lexington Streets. Today the street level of the Stewart’s building is occupied on both elevations by small individual retail stores, a development undertaken after the department store closed. The upper floors of the building are vacant. Significance: Stewart’s Department Store, designed in 1899 by noted Baltimore architect Charles E. Cassell, was constructed as a department store for Samuel Posner. Purchased by Louis Stewart in 1904, the ornate Italian Renaissance Revival building then became the flagship store for Stewart’s Baltimore operations. Along with the Hutzler’s Palace Building (1888-1889) and Hochschild Kohn (1897, demolished), the former Posner Building anchored Baltimore’s premier downtown retail location at Lexington and Howard Streets. Stewart’s Department Store is significant for its importance to the development of retailing in downtown Baltimore between 1899 and 1945, and also as an example of a type of major urban department store, and the work of a major local 19th century architect.


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