11 Most Endangered Historic Places
West Side of Downtown Baltimore
Year Listed: 1999
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Threat: Deterioration, Neglect
The story of Baltimore's rise as a major commercial port and one of America's leading urban centers can be traced in the neoclassical cornices, Romanesque arches, cast-iron facades, and Art Deco details of this once-bustling downtown district. Centered on Howard Street, these blocks of fashionable residences, specialty grocers, sleek department stores, dignified banks, luxurious hotels, productive workshops and fantastic movie palaces drew throngs of shoppers and theater-goers for more than a century. But the bright lights of Baltimore's retail and entertainment mecca began to dim in the 1960s as changes in demographics and the rise of suburban sprawl took their toll. Today the area, shabby but largely intact, has been the target of several revitalization plans – many of which have called for the condemnation and demolition of important historic structures that have great reuse potential.