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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT File Photo, Undated Photo
9 North Front Street
Inventory No.: B-3716
Date Listed: 6/14/1979
Location: 9 N. Front Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1790
Description: This 2 ½-story brick townhouse with 2-story rear wing is located on the east side of Front Street between Fayette and Baltimore Streets, within Shot Tower Park in Baltimore City. Three bays wide and two rooms deep, the main house has a gable roof with two dormers on each side and two interior chimneys connected by a parapet at the north end. The front façade is laid in Flemish bond while the gable ends and rear wing are in common bond, with five rows of stretchers with occasional glazed bricks. On the front façade, the foundation is faced with stone, and there is a raised water table and a three-brick stringcourse. Except for the masonry, all elements have been replaced to make the building look as close to its original late 18th century appearance as possible. All doors and windows have flat arches. The windows on the front façade have 6/6 sash and fluted stone sills. The cornice is boxed, and the dormers have gable returns. the roof is covered with wood shingles. The front or west side has three windows in the second story, and in the first story, two windows and a door in the south bay. The six-panel door with a four-light transom is reached by a flight of marble steps, several of which are original. Because the house was originally flanked by other townhouses, both gable ends are blank. The rear wing covers the north bay on the east façade. There is a six-panel door in the first story of the south bay and, above that, a window at the stair landing level. In the first and second story center bays are 12/8 sash windows. Significance: The house at 9 North Front Street is one of the few remaining 18th century townhouses in Baltimore. It stands in a portion of the city known as "Old Town" or, formerly, "Jones Town" which was annexed to Baltimore in 1745 and whose settlement actually predates that of Baltimore Town. This house was built by either John Beale Bordley or Charles Torrence, to whom he sold the property in 1794. Since Baltimore Street was extended through the property in 1788, it would appear logical that this structure, which is located in the center of the lot, was constructed thereafter. In 1802 and 1804, the Baltimore City Directory listed "Thorowgood Smith, merchant" as the occupant. Smith was the second mayor of Baltimore (1804-1808). He was a successful merchant and the owner of the "Willowbrook" estate whose oval room is now in the Baltimore Museum of Art. Smith suffered financial losses and sold "Willowbrook" just prior to the period when he occupied 9 North Front Street. In the years following Smith’s occupancy, the building was owned and occupied by the heirs of Charles Torrence. In 1875, it was sold to William Suess who turned it into a hotel and restaurant. Fragments of Suess’ painted advertisement are still visible on the south wall. Samuel Nechamkin purchased the building from the Suess estate in 1940 and the structure was used as an automobile parts shop until 1971 when it was acquired by Baltimore City.


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