Proposed: Federal Hill CHAP District

Federal Hill Street Scene

Request from Neighborhood Association

Designation FAQs

The Federal Hill Historic District comprises some twenty-city blocks just south of the Inner Harbor. The layout of the district is primarily a grid of north-south and east-west streets with a few deviations to the pattern caused by the twists and turns of some streets. Federal Hill Park, which steeply rises from Key Highway, breaks the urban character of the neighborhood. It overlooks the downtown skyline and provides an open space/recreational park for the community. The Federal Hill Historic District includes many early residential brick rowhouses. The earliest buildings feature gable roofs and dormers. Later houses with flat roofs and cornices also constitute much of the residential character of the neighborhood.

Map of Federal Hill

The more distinctive houses  feature set backs from the street with small front yards. Commercial buildings from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are generally located on Charles and Light Streets. A variety of churches, school buildings, and community- related facilities are extant in this diverse urban area. 

Significance

Federal Hill is significant for its contribution to Baltimore's early maritime trade, which has been largely responsible for the City's growth and development. The park has been the focus of important events in Baltimore History, it was used for a signal observatory to identify incoming vessels from 1795 to 1902; the celebration of the ratification of the United States Constitution; and a military outpost during the War of 1812 and the Civil War.

The residential area that developed in this vicinity housed both merchants and laborers largely employed in port-related activities. The architecture of Federal Hill is among the most diverse in Baltimore. Many of the earliest houses in the city are extant in this area. They are distinguished by Flemish bond brick construction, gabled roofs and dormers. A variety of Post-Civil War and Victorian era houses provide Federal Hill with a diversity of architectural details including: stained glass, bracketed cornices, ornate storefronts, and iron fencing. Federal Hill represents a complete community with residential, commercial, industrial, recreational, social, religious, community, and educational facilities which has and continues to play an important role in Baltimore's growth and development since the eighteenth century.