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Maryland's National Register Properties

Photo credit: MHT File Photo, 1989
Berlin Commercial Historic District
Inventory No.: WO-184
Date Listed: 4/17/1980
Location: Berlin, Worcester County
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: 1895-1905
Resources: 48 (43 contributing, 5 non-contributing)
Description: The Berlin Commercial District is located on Maryland's Eastern Shore, about seven miles inland from Ocean City, in an area historically a crossroads of travel. Berlin developed late in the 18th century from a livery stable and coach stop on the old Burleigh Plantation. After the arrival of the railroad in the 1870s, Berlin became a marketplace for agricultural products and later a rest stop for rail passengers on the way to the coastal resort of Ocean City. Presently, the Berlin Commercial District is a contiguous district composed primarily of late-19th century commercial buildings. Approximately 47 small-scaled, one- to three-story buildings occupy both sides of the main thoroughfare and its secondary arterials forming visually cohesive and pleasing streetscapes. The majority of the buildings contributing to the historic architectural character of the district are constructed in the row fashion, having party or common walls. Elements common to most of the buildings are similarity in scale, setback from the street, use, construction materials, fenestration, and use of the flat roof. Architectural embellishment of the buildings is achieved in one of two ways. Many of the buildings have corbeled cornices articulated in a manner that makes them unique among commercial buildings of similar age located in nearby towns. Bricks laid in a sawtooth pattern above the corbels are the distinguishing element of these buildings. The other form of decoration used is the stamped metal cornice; seven buildings in the district retain their original metal cornices. Another feature that was common to many of the buildings of the district was an overhanging awning that sheltered the pedestrian walks along both sides of the street. Today about 17 buildings have either a metal or canvas awning sheltering the sidewalks. Significance: The Berlin Commercial District is primarily significant for its collective expression of late-19th century commercial architecture. The district is composed of a mixture of buildings individually distinguished for their architectural merit, and a larger group not distinctive separately but contributing to a common design type. All of the early buildings combine to form significant visual streetscapes exhibiting unity in scale, use, construction materials, fenestration, and degree of ornamentation. These buildings, situated on narrow streets and particularly on a central "Main Street" commercial avenue, illustrate the nature of the business area of a rural turn-of-the-20th-century town. They represent typical small-scaled commercial architecture; however, their distinguishing feature is the articulation of the corbeled cornice. The buildings therefore differ from commercial buildings in other nearby towns. Corbels supporting courses of bricks laid vertically in a sawtooth pattern are the unique architectural embellishment of the buildings in this district. Although some of the buildings have been modified, they nevertheless recall the time of their construction. Some of the facade alterations and the additions at first appear obtrusive, but a significant amount of the original fabric remains intact to retain and express the integrity of scale and visual continuity of the district as a late-19th century commercial area. The boundaries of the district were established to include all of the buildings that characterize the stylistic motif of the original market center and roughly coincide with the boundaries of that core group of buildings. The buildings representing more recent trends in architectural design are located on the periphery of the delineated district and were excluded from its boundaries.

District Resources (48) (43 contributing, 5 non-contributing)

From associated listing in National Register nomination form. C = Contributing, NC = non-contributing, blank = not evaluated.

AddressStatusResource Name and MIHP (if any)
1 S. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-84 -- Peninsula Bank (Exchange & Savings Bank--2 Buildings)
3 S. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-265 -- Old First National Bank
7 S. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-157 -- Half of a Duplex
9 S. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-158 -- Ayres Building
11 S. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-159 -- Donaway Furniture
2 S. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-85 -- Paran Lodge #64, I.O.O.F. Building
14 Broad StreetCWO-160 -- E.C. Cannon Building
12 Broad StreetCWO-161 -- Globe Theater (Grace Evangelistic Chapel)
6 Broad StreetCWO-162 -- Coates, Coates & Coates, Attorneys
2 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-76 -- Atlantic Hotel (Whaley Hotel)
24 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-86 -- Calvin B. Taylor Banking Co. and Addition
22 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-163 -- Burbage, Powell & Co.
20 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-164 -- Treasure Chest
18 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-165 -- Law Offices of Williams and Shockley
14 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-166 -- Summer Breeze
10 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-167 -- Rayne's Reef
7 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-148 -- Powell Building (Style Guide Clothing Store)
17 N. Main Street (MD 818) & Pitt StreetCWO-149 -- Style Guide Clothing Store
19 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-150 -- Barber Shop
21 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-151 -- Building (Grocery)
25 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-152 -- Building (Market)
22 Williams StreetCWO-153 -- Berlin Florist
3 Bay StreetCWO-156 -- Medical Offices
10 Williams StreetCWO-155 -- Mayor & Council Office
114 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-168 -- Ned's Bargain Fair
110 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-169 -- Joe's Shoe Store
106 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-170 -- Berlin Hardware Company
104 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-171 -- Berlin Hardware Company
102 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-172 -- Food Rite
100 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-173 -- Food Rite
25 Commerce StreetCWO-174 -- Nellie's Beauty Salon & Garage-Barn Structure
113 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-137 -- Dollar General
113 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-138 -- Dollar General
113 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-139 -- Dollar General
111 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-140 -- Evergreen Lodge AF & AM 153
6 Pitts StreetCWO-143 -- Davis Ice & Coal Company (Jewelry)
Pitts StreetCStyle Guide Building
16 Pitts StreetCWO-144 -- Mary's Restaurant
9 Williams StreetCWO-145 -- Building
Williams StreetCWO-146 -- Building Adjacent to Farlow's Pharmacy
1 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-147 -- Farlow's Pharmacy (Dirickson Hall, Hollins Store Building)
101 N. Main Street (MD 818)CWO-141 -- Berlin Variety Store (Disharoun Building, Berlin Post Office)
11 Pitts StreetCWO-142 -- Berlin Furniture Store
27 N. Main StreetNCSmith-Cropper Insurance
103 N. Main StreetNCOffice Building
16 Williams StreetNCEastern Shore S&L
18 Williams StreetNCWalker Studio
Commerce StreetNCWilliam's Tavern


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