BNHA Merchant House

Interpretive Framework

Seeking Prosperity on the Chesapeake: Baltimore History from Colonial Times through the 1800s

Upholding Independence: Baltimore and the War of 1812

Star Attractions

Historic Fell’s Point Trail

Resource Type

Points of Interest

1732 Thames St

Baltimore, Maryland 21231

This late Federal-style structure is constructed of pink brick set in Flemish bond. Typical of the town houses of the wealthy, it stands 3½ -stories tall (with a dormer) and has stone lintels over the windows. Amazingly, all of its interior architectural features are still intact on the upper floors.

Its design is typical of Baltimore merchant homes, though few still survive. The shop, counting room, and office were located on the first floor with the entry on Thames Street, but there was a separate, private entrance to the east for the family from the alley, or sallyport. From this door they could directly ascend the stairs to the upper floors where they made their home, without disrupting business on the first floor. If you look closely, you will see the “ghost” of the door, now bricked in, in the sallyport.

Wealthy ship owners and merchants would have lived in a property such as this, though most made their homes in Baltimore Town. As the wealthy moved from Fell’s Point, many of their homes became saloons or shops with upper floor rooms let to sailors, laborers and their families, and the successive waves of immigrants who continued to settle in Fell’s Point. This happened here, making it even more miraculous that architectural features have survived intact for 200 years.

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