City and State: Baltimore, Maryland
Type of district: National Register Historic District
Major Intersection: Riverside Avenue and West Street
The Federal Hill South Historic District exemplifies the robust diversity of Baltimore’s working class between 1830 and 1945. It features a cohesive collection of residential, commercial and ecclesiastical buildings representing the broad range of architectural forms and expressions typical of the city’s urban industrial neighborhoods. As steamship builders, canneries, chemical works, foundries, and breweries lined the waterfront east of Federal Hill South, a demand to supply workers with family dwellings within walking distance of their workplaces developed. The need was met by small-scale developers who built irregular blocks lined with short rows of modest rowhouses, many of which were rental properties. The majority were built between 1830 and 1870.
Another wave of building took place in Federal Hill South in the early-20th century when industrial consolidation transformed the workplaces east of the district. The entire waterfront was taken over by Bethlehem Steel’s shipbuilding and repairing workshops, while the inland plots were dominated by American Label Manufacturing Company, a can label factory. In this period, Baltimore’s large-scale developers built whole blocks of small, standardized houses and immediately sold them to owner-occupants or landlord investors. They also demolished the small shops and churches that once marked Federal Hill South’s commercial section and replaced them with large banks, dime stores and movie theaters.