BNHA Moorish Keyhole Houses

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

Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail

Resource Type

Points of Interest

1500 McCulloh St

Baltimore, Maryland 21217

The Moorish keyhole houses have long-been considered architecturally unique and significant. The keyhole houses’ architectural style is based on the work of H.H. Richardson. Significant to this style was the use of arches and roughly hewn stone surfaces. The row at the 1500 block of McCulloh Street was built in the late 1800s and was home to many prominent African American Baltimoreans. Among them was J. Howard Payne, a distinguished Baltimore African American politician and attorney who was educated in Baltimore public schools and was a graduate of Howard University Law School. As a member of St. Pius’ Roman Catholic Church and a friend of James Cardinal Gibbons, he provided advice to the Cardinal on matters pertaining to African American Catholics in the Archdiocese. Through his talks and writings, he actively promoted racial understanding and good will.