BNHA President Street Station
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
Points of Interest
601 S President St
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Built in 1851, the President Street Station is an important site in the history of slavery, engineering, and the Civil War. The remaining portion of the station is the oldest surviving downtown passenger station in the United States. On April 19th, 1861 the first casualties of the Civil War took place as the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment walked along what is Pratt Street today, from the President Street Station to Camden Station. A mob began throwing rocks at the soldiers and the resulting fight caused the first deaths of the Civil War.
The station was also the first to be constructed with the Howe trust arch system. Patented in 1841 by William Howe, it became the premier method for constructing train sheds and bridges for many years. The station is a documented site of the National Park Service’s Underground Network to Freedom, a collection of certified Underground Railroad sites. Several enslaved people escaped on this train line; most famously, Frederick Douglass.
Today President Street Station is home to the Baltimore Civil War Museum. The station was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 and designated a city landmark in 2009.
Site summary courtesy of the Baltimore City Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation