Auchentoroly Terrace CHAP/National Register Historic District

Neighborhood Assocation Website

Summary Description

The local historic district of Auchentoroly Terrace consists of eight groups of rowhouses, along with two mansion houses and two groups of duplex daylight houses all fronting on the west side of the street which gives the district its name. Its 104 buildings from the 2700 to the 3400 block of Auchentoroly Terrace face northeast across Swann Drive to the green expanses of Druid Hill Park.  This is a portion of the 21-block Auchentoroly Terrace National Register District which reaches southwest to Reisterstown Road.

Development began in 1876 with the construction of the Orem and West mansion houses in the 3400 block. Rowhouse construction began in the 1890s and the street was built out by the mid-1920s. The earliest rowhouses—in the 2700 to 3000 block of Auchentoroly Terrace— are two- and three-story swell- and flat-front houses in the Renaissance Revival style completed in 1895-99. The three-story rows in the 3100 to 3300 blocks were constructed between 1899 and 1906 with swell-fronts or with features such as mansard roofs, Dutch pediments, bay windows, and porches in some cases.  Narrow brown Roman brick is a common cladding material. In the 3400 block, rowhouse construction spanned 1908 to 1928. In this block, the rows contain three-story houses with mansard roofs or Dutch gables, front porches and bay windows. Two-story daylight style rowhouses and duplexes with porches and mansard roofs complete the block, and were the last built in the district.

The district illustrates the evolution of rowhouse design from the 1890s to the 1920s, each decade yielding another version based on prevailing tastes and preferences.  Houses built to the property line and in relatively restrained styles join more highly ornamented examples set back from the street with yards and deep porches.

History/Summary Significance

The neighborhood was developed on portions of the “Auchentorlie” estate of Dr. George Buchanan, lands he received in 1723 by patent from the Maryland Colony and which he named for the family holdings in Scotland. The estate included a grove called “Druid Hill,” which became the name of the parkland sold to the city in 1860 by a Buchanan descendent.

Physical Development

In 1856 Lloyd Nicholas Rogers, great grandson of George Buchanan, sold 33½ acres of the old estate to John Morris Orem, a Baltimore dry goods magnate.  Orem then built a large summer estate and named it Auchentoroly in tribute to the Buchanan estate.  In 1876 Orem built two mansion houses facing Druid Hill Park—one for his son William Morris Orem and one for his daughter and son-in-law, Sophie Baker West and William H. West. The Orem and West mansions survive today at 3442 and 3436 Auchentoroly Terrace, respectively.

In the 1890s, John Morris Orem’s heirs began the planning for further development centered on Auchentoroly Terrace, which faced Druid Hill Park and Gwynn’s Falls Parkway and which connected the park to Reisterstown Road.  The Orem name lives on in one of the street names in the district, along with streets commemorating writers and poets William Orem admired:  John Ruskin, William Cullen Bryant, and James Greenleaf Whittier.

The development could offer suburban-style living, convenient to the park and to transportation. Construction of rowhouses proceeded generally from the southern end of the district at North Fulton Street and moved north block by block to Liberty Heights Avenue. By 1896, houses on the 2700-3000 blocks of Auchentoroly Terrace were completed. Between 1896 and 1906, the 3100-3300 blocks were built, and between 1906 and 1914, most of the 3400 block of Auchentoroly Terrace was built. The 3400 block was completely built up by the 1920s when two duplexes were built.

Social and Cultural History

The neighborhood attracted Baltimore’s German Jewish elite, who began migrating north of the older parts of the city in the 1880s and 1890s due to residential segregation practices.  In 1912, seeking to create a school that reflected progressive educational philosophies and did not discriminate in its admissions policies on the basis of religion or quotas, these families opened the Park School in the former West mansion.  While the neighborhood had been a mix of ethnicities early in its development, by 1920 most of the homes and apartments had Jewish residents, and many of them worshipped at the Shaarei Tfiloh Congregation synagogue (built 1921-28), which borders the local historic district. African American families began to move into the area in the 1960s as the city’s housing patterns and neighborhoods transitioned once again.

Today, the community reflects the diversity of the city, situated as it is near a gateway to Druid Hill Park, the nation’s third oldest urban park, and as one of the neighborhoods which ring this important urban asset.


The 1876 Orem and West mansion houses denote Auchentoroly’s earliest development, but the district primarily exemplifies grand rowhouse design and a diverse array of architectural details. It contains some of the finest examples of large Renaissance Revival style houses built between 1895 and 1911. The block between Gwynns Falls Parkway and Liberty Heights Avenue contains notable daylight style rowhouses, constructed between 1917 and 1928.

The West mansion—and former Park School—(3436 Auchentoroly Terrace) remains close to its original exterior appearance. The three-story red brick house is almost square in shape and is covered by a low-pitched hipped roof. The Orem mansion (3442 Auchentoroly Terrace) was nearly identical to the West mansion when constructed. However, two three-story porches have been added in front of the two end bays on the façade.

The nine blocks of the district represent the work of numerous developers and builders, including such Baltimore notables as James B. Yeatman, Charles H. Gerwig, Charles E. Spalding, George W. Schoenhals, and the Edward Morris Construction Company, working over the period from 1895 to 1928.

The section of the historic district between North Fulton and Orem (the 2700 to 3000 blocks) was developed first and is filled with brown Roman brick Renaissance Revival style two- and three-story swell- and flat-front houses constructed between 1895 and 1899.

The rowhouses in the 3100 to 3300 block, between Orem and Gwynns Falls Parkway, are brown Roman brick, three-story, swell-front houses with bands of rusticated stone running across the façade at the lintel levels. They were constructed between 1899 and 1906. One row is bracketed by houses at either end with conical turrets. Another block adds detail such as third floor stick-style porches or sheet metal molding. Steep tiled mansard roofs behind fanciful Dutch pediments characterize another block. Setbacks from the street in this section allow for the addition of deep porches to some houses. The 3400 block contains a row of houses completed in 1908 and 1909 with tiled mansard roofs alternating with Dutch gable roofs and deep shared porches and second floor bay windows with stamped sheet metal ornamentation.

The 3400 block of Auchentoroly Terrace contains the earliest and the latest construction in the district—the Orem and West mansions built in 1876 and the two sets of daylight house duplex apartments built in 1924 and 1928. The duplexes are of red brick with green tiled mansard roofs and shed roof dormers. These represent the beginning of the development of the two-story daylight houses—and the end of development of three-story rowhouses in the city.

Today the rowhouses along Auchentoroly Terrace retain much of their distinctive historic character and integrity with the rhythmic play of porches, cornices, and fanciful gables.

Period of Significance

The period of significance is 1875 to 1925, which encompasses the full development period of the district, from the construction of the first mansion house by John Morris Orem to the final build-out of the district with daylight-style duplex apartments. This period also includes the establishment of the progressive Park School in 1912.


The Auchentoroly Terrace local historic district is comprised of all of the properties in the 2700 to 3400 blocks of Auchentoroly Terrace.  The district is bounded by North Fulton Avenue on the south, Auchentoroly Terrace on the east, the southeastern property line of the Shaarei Tfiloh Congregation at 2001 Liberty Heights Avenue on the north, and the rear property lines of the houses facing Auchentoroly Terrace on the west.  This boundary captures an intact group of buildings with features which illustrate significant architectural types and styles, particularly the evolution of the rowhouse type from the late 19th century into the early 20th century in Baltimore. This is a portion of the 21-block Auchentoroly Terrace National Register District which reaches southwest from Auchentoroly Terrace to Reisterstown Road between Liberty Heights Avenue and North Fulton Street.

Further details may be found in: Hayward, M.E. “National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, Auchentoroly Terrace Historic District (B-5279)”, September 2015.


“Annual Report of the Inspector of Buildings to the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore for the Fiscal Year Ending December 31, 1895”., accessed 12/10/2015.

CHAP Staff. “Auchentoroly Terrace Local Historic District Designation Report, Baltimore Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation Hearing, March 9, 2004”.

“Daily Bulletin of the Manufacturers’ Record”. March 16, 1907 and August 16, 1907,, accessed 12/10/2015.

“Engineering News”. October 1, 1908,, accessed 12/10/2015.

“Engineering News”. January 18, 1912,, accessed 12/10/2015.

Hayward, M.E. “National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, Auchentoroly Terrace Historic District (B-5279)”, September 2015.

Historic & Architectural Preservation/Historic Districts/Maps of Historic Districts/Auchentoroly Terrace, , accessed 12/11/2015.

“Manufacturers Record”. May 11, 1922,, accessed 12/10/2015.

Pousson, Eli. “National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, Midtown Edmondson Historic District” (draft), January 2015.

“Real Estate Record and Builders’ Guide”. July 9, 1904,, accessed 12/10/2015.

“The Sanitary News”. March 7, 1891,, accessed 12/10/2015.