Baltimore East/South Clifton Park National Register Historic District

Description (map)

The Broadway East/South Clifton Park Historic District is primarily an urban residential area organized in a gridiron plan that comprises approximately 110 whole and partial blocks that formed the historic northeast corner of the City of Baltimore prior to 1888. The development of the area resulted in the construction of high-density, but low-scale two and three-story rowhouses between 1870 and 1930. The buildings are oriented toward the streets with facades lining the public concrete sidewalks, The rows of dwellings present unified streetscapes. The rhythmic repetition of steps and stoops for the dwellings also contributes to the overall cohesiveness of the district.

Only north Broadway has been landscaped as a boulevard. While rowhouses dominate the urban area, the historic district also contains other property types that contribute to the historic district. North Gay Street serves as a major transportation corridor that bisects the historic district. Historically, North Gay Street was the site of six breweries, which were established between 1853 and 1867.The American Brewery complex survives to document the lively brewery history of the area. The five-story, ornamental brew house dominates views throughout the district.

The historic district also features community support structures, including churches, schools, and a fire station. The Columbus School, The Patrick Henry School and the Eastern High School are listed in the National Register of Historic places. Municipal facilities are represented by the Eastern High Service Pumping Station. A few commercial buildings are found within the area, primarily integrated into blocks of rowhouses as corner stores. Industrial uses include brewing, meatpacking, cigar manufacturing, printing, and tobacco warehouse. The Baltimore Cemetery completes the historic district. The design of urban cemetery reflects the gridiron pattern of the city's development.


The Baltimore East/South Clifton Park historic District comprises approximately 110 whole and partial blocks located in East Baltimore. The area contains two neighborhoods: Baltimore East and South Clifton Park. This area was the northeast corner of the City when East North Avenue defined the city's northern boundary between 1816 and 1888. Platted as part of the 1823 Poppleton Plan, the historic district was developed as a residential area according to that community plan with only minor alterations.

In 1888, a land annexation incorporated acreage north and west of the former boundary line into the city boundaries. The history of how these two areas evolved into urban residential neighborhoods documents the story of Baltimore's urbanization between 1850 and 1955. The Baltimore East/South Clifton Park Historic District possesses the qualities of significance for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criteria for A and C. The areas of significance are architecture and community planning and development. Historically, the area typifies the broad patterns of the urban history of the City of Baltimore from ca. 1850 through 1955.

During this time period, the area's development followed a progression from rural estates to industrial and recreational uses (1850-1869), to a working-class residential area (1870-1955). The need for working-class housing units resulted from a substantial and rapid population increase in Baltimore as the city's industrial and commercial base expanded during the late nineteenth century. The increased residential construction in the historic district was accompanied by construction of public schools, neighborhood churches, a branch library, a bank, building associations, a fire station, and corner stores.

Small-scale industrial buildings also were located in sections of the historic district. These industrial and commercial businesses illustrated on a micro scale Baltimore's industrial and commercial base between 1870 and 1955. The increasing urbanization of the area, particularly during the period 1870 through 1918, was supported by streetcar transportation and improved city services.

The buildings contained within the Baltimore East/South Clifton Park Historic District embody the distinctive characteristics of their types, periods, and methods of construction and form a cohesive entity as defined under Criterion C. The large number of rowhouses constructed between 1870 and 1930 for working people in the area illustrate the entire range of rowhouse types identified for that period. The rowhouses in the historic district illustrate a clear chronological pattern spreading north and eastward from the intersection of north Gay Street and North Broadway and filling the 1816 boundaries of the city at east North Avenue. The rowhouse built in South Clifton Park illustrate examples of daylighte rowhouses, which were constructed between 1915 and 1928. The churches, schools, commercial, and industrial buildings also illustrate styles and forms typical of their periods of construction.