BNHA Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. (Baltimore City) Courthouse
Baltimore City Landmark
National Register of Historic Places
Gaining Freedom for All: African American Heritage and the Struggle for Equality
Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century
Charles Street Byway
Constructed between 1895 and 1899 on the site of the city’s second courthouse, the courthouse is typical of the Beaux Arts neoclassical style popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The monolithic columns, lion sculptures, balustrades, and ornate bronze doors create an image of grandeur appropriate for the purpose of the building. The eight Ionic columns along Calvert Street are some of the largest in the world and are cut from single blocks of marble. The imposing granite and marble walls withstood the flames of the 1904 fire that destroyed much of downtown Baltimore.
Echoing the courthouse’s design is the Old Post Office across Calvert Street, which was built in 1932. The siting of the two buildings forms a grand setting for the Battle Monument, which stands in a median between the two structures.
The courthouse was designed by J.B. Noel Wyatt and William G. Nolting; the architects rank among the most influential and prolific of Baltimore. Their works include the Roland Park Shopping Center, Patterson Park High School, and the Garrett and Keyser buildings.
In 1985, the courthouse was renamed in honor of Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Mitchell was a Baltimore born attorney and civil rights leader. Mitchell’s work was critical in the enactment of several key federal civil rights acts.
The courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated as a Baltimore City Landmark in 1982. A guide to the history and architecture of the courthouse is available online.
Sources: Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation; “A Guide to the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr. Courthouse,” Baltimore Courthouse and Law Museum Foundation (Baltimore, 2009)