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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Glorian Dorsey, 10/1984
Continental Trust Company Building
Inventory No.: B-3709
Date Listed: 2/3/1983
Location: 1 S. Calvert Street & 201-207 E. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: Building
Period/Date of Construction: 1900-1901; 1904
Architect/Builder: Architect: D.H. Burnham & Co.
Description: The Continental Trust Company is a 16-story skyscraper of early modern construction, with steel structural members clad with terra-cotta fireproofing and tile-arch floors. Its form is based on the Classical column, with base, shaft, and capital. The building’s main façades (north and west) are three and five bays wide, respectively. They are of painted brick above the fourth floor with painted stone trim. Each bay is divided into three windows above the fourth floor with the central window in each bay slightly larger. The central window in each bay is also surmounted by a classical pediment at every second level of the shaft. At the alternate levels, a stringcourse projects. The base of the building is of granite to the fourth floor, with arched windows in each bay running full height and divided by a heavy stone spandrel at the second floor. Stonework at the first floor level is rusticated and part of the first floor is set in an areaway on the west side, which accommodates the site’s gentle slope to the south. The cornice, which originally covered the 16th floor at the north and west, was mostly removed after the Great Fire of 1904, and was replaced by double-hung windows similar to those below. Only the portion of the cornice in the southernmost two bays on the Calvert Street side remains. It is heavily dentiled, projecting several feet, and has terra-cotta shields on the frieze above each window and each column. Significance: The significance of the Continental Trust Company Building drives primarily from the history of the institution and the building. The firm, the Continental Trust Company, chartered in 1898, was instrumental in merging several Baltimore light and gas companies into one city-wide system. Through this involvement, the Continental Trust played an important role in the development of Baltimore in the early years of the 20th century as a financial, commercial, and urban center on the east coast. Additional significance is achieved from the building’s history. Constructed in 1900-1901 to designs prepared by D.H. Burnham and Company of Chicago, the building is a survivor of the 1904 fire that destroyed 100+ acres in the present financial district. Rehabilitated after the fire, the Continental Trust Company Building is characteristic of the skyscraper type of structure being erected in this section of Baltimore at the turn of the century and extensively built following the 1904 fire.

 

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