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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: David M. Falenda, 06/11/2003
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company Building
Inventory No.: B-1363
Date Listed: 12/29/2003
Location: 39 W. Lexington Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1916
Architect/Builder: Architect: Parker, Thomas and Rice
Description: The Baltimore Gas & Electric Company Building is an early-20th century commercial office tower located at the southeast corner of Lexington and Liberty Streets in downtown Baltimore. It stands near the western edge of the city's central business district, and was designed by the Boston and Baltimore-based architectural firm of Parker, Thomas and Rice, and was constructed in 1916. The nominated property is an excellent example of an early modern skyscraper, rising 21 stories above grade. It was built according to the developing technologies of fireproof construction, including a structural steel skeleton and tile arch flooring structure. The exterior of the building is clad with gray granite and gray and white marble from the first through third floors (including the mezzanine) and glazed terra cotta above, which is patterned to simulate building stone. The building's exterior is eclectically ornamented in a Beaux-Arts Classical Style featuring polished granite elements, intricately carved marble panels and capitals, elaborate terra cotta cornices and molded profiles, and ornate metalwork. The exterior of the building has been preserved in very good condition and the public facades (fronting on Lexington and Liberty Streets) remain largely unaltered. Substantial alterations have been made to the building's interior spaces, however, and a lower-scale modern addition was constructed linking the south and east elevations of the original building in 1966. The original building's ornate exterior retains a high degree of material integrity and has experienced only minor alterations since its construction. Significance: The Baltimore Gas & Electric Company Building is significant for its association with the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company and the enormous impact the institution has had on the economy and development of the city of Baltimore and its environs. Since its completion in 1916, the building has served as the corporate headquarters of the Baltimore Gas & Electric Company, the direct descendant of the Gas Light Company of Baltimore, the first gas company to be established and incorporated in the United States. The building has served the Baltimore public for nearly a century at the Lexington and Liberty Streets location, providing centrally located offices for business transactions, customer inquiries and complaints, as well as retail space for the display and sale of gas and electric appliances and other related merchandise. The building is also significant as a notable example of the architectural work of the Boston and Baltimore firm of Parker, Thomas and Rice. It is located just outside the western boundary of the Baltimore Business and Government Historic District. The building remains a local landmark and a significant example of early-20th century commercial architecture in the city of Baltimore.

 

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