BNHA B&O Railroad Building (Hotel Monaco)

Interpretive Framework

Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century

Star Attractions

Charles Street Byway

Cultural Walk

Resource Type

Points of Interest

2 N Charles St

Baltimore, Maryland 21201

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was one of the largest and most successful railroads in the country—the first in the world to be conceived and built as a long-distance mover and hauler of goods and people. This building, completed in 1906, was a statement about the company’s power and wealth. It is a fine example of the post-fire, Beaux Arts architectural style that replaced much of what was destroyed by the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 (including the railroad’s earlier headquarters).

The importance of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad to the city’s surging economy in the 19th and early 20th centuries can hardly be overstated. By 1906, B&O tracks extended to 13 states, as far west as Missouri. The trains brought raw materials back to Baltimore to be turned into manufactured goods and then returned those goods to the hinterlands, thus fueling the city’s manufacturing and trade sectors. The B&O was the largest employer in Baltimore until WWII. The wealth generated by the railroad and associated industries gave rise to some of the great philanthropies that have characterized this city. For instance, Johns Hopkins endowed the university, hospital, and medical school that bear his name with B&O railroad stock.

The building has been converted into a luxury boutique hotel. During the conversion, great pains were taken to retain much of the original grandeur of the B&O headquarters building.