BNHA Faust Brothers Building
Baltimore City Landmark
National Register of Historic Places
Shaping a Monumental City: The City’s Growth in the 20th Century
307 W Baltimore St
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
When constructed in 1870, the Faust Brothers Building incorporated the latest innovations in building construction methods and materials. The building’s intricate front and rear façades, composed entirely in cast iron, were once common in downtown Baltimore and showcased the surge in popularity of cast iron for both structural support and exterior decoration in the late 19th century. Today the building, also known as the Appold-Faust Building, is one of less than 100 cast-iron front buildings remaining in the city and the only known building with two cast-iron façades. The Faust Brothers Building stands as a physical reminder of Baltimore’s prominence in cast-iron building construction.
With its proximity to both rail lines and the docks at the Inner Harbor, the westside of downtown Baltimore was a center of light manufacturing in the 1800s and early 1900s. The five-story building was originally built as a warehouse for George Appold, a businessman with interests in the leather, real estate, and marine transport industries. Appold hired builder Benjamin Bennett to erect the building, notable for its elaborate cornice and façade composed of arches framed by Corinthian columns. The ironwork on the Baltimore Street façade was likely cast by the Bartlett-Hayward Company, a leading Baltimore firm.
In 1875, Appold sold the building to John Faust, a pioneer in shoe manufacturing. Faust expanded the building and erected a second cast-iron façade at the rear of the building, facing what is today Redwood Street. Over the decades, the building went through numerous changes in ownership and uses. The building has housed shoe manufacturers, dry goods wholesalers, clothiers, auction houses, and a riding store. This evolution of uses and tenants is typical of the neighborhood.
While many of Baltimore’s cast-iron buildings were lost to demolition and urban renewal schemes of the latter half of the 20th century, a substantial number were lost in the Great Fire of 1904. On the morning of February 7, 1904, a fire broke out just a hundred yards east of the Faust Brothers Building. The prevailing winds blew the fire east toward the Inner Harbor, sparing this building but consuming 1,400 structures in downtown Baltimore during a span of 36 hours.
The building has continued to adapt and survive. Rehabilitated in 2007, the Faust Brothers Building houses offices and space for retail establishments.