Proposed: Howard Street CHAP District
The proposed Howard Street Commercial local historic district is comprised of a several blocks of small commercial structures in the heart of Baltimore’s historic retail district. The proposed district is part of the larger Market Center National Register Historic District, which is home to large department stores, banking centers, theaters and restaurants. Howard Street became the major thoroughfare through the retail district and was home to a variety of commercial and manufacturing enterprises, primarily furniture manufacturing and upholstery. The buildings on Park Avenue are some of the earliest in the area and were initially residential, transitioning into secondary retail following a fire on Clay Street in 1873. At the turn of the century, Franklin Street also transitioned from a cross-city highway to a retail street. The Howard Street Commercial district is unique in the larger retail center because it is primarily composed of smaller, one to four- story buildings, with decorative cornices, metal bay windows, and first-floor storefronts. The commercial district represents a distinct collection of modest commercial structures that contributed to the larger retail district on Baltimore’s west side.