BNHA Douglass Place


Baltimore City Landmark

National Register of Historic Places

Interpretive Framework

Gaining Freedom for All: African American Heritage and the Struggle for Equality

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

Star Attractions

Historic Fell’s Point Trail

Resource Type

Points of Interest

524 S Dallas St

Baltimore, Maryland 21231

Frederick Douglass credited his time in Baltimore, when he lived and worked in Fell’s Point, with providing him with the educational and moral strength to progress from an illiterate slave to a teacher of others. Douglass later wrote that "going to live at Baltimore laid the foundation, and opened the gateway, to all my subsequent prosperity.” In 1837, living as a slave in Fell’s Point, he was hired out by his master and worked as a caulker in the shipyards. Able to save some of his earnings and realizing that his relationship with his “owner” was deteriorating, Douglass borrowed travel papers from a free black seaman and boarded a train in on September 3, 1838. He would not return to Baltimore until 1864, then an experienced orator, abolitionist and free man.

In 1864 he participated in the celebration of the abolition of slavery in Baltimore at Strawberry Alley Church, which once stood on this site. On a return trip to Baltimore in 1891 he discovered the church abandoned and in disrepair. His desire to provide affordable housing for African Americans spurred his decision to buy the property and raze the building. He then had these five Italianate-influenced row houses built on its foundation.

For more information on Frederick Douglass, visit the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park located in historic Fell’s Point.

Site summary courtesy of the Preservation Society of Federal Hill and Fell’s Point