1850: Aged Women's Home, Baltimore, MD

Summary: Photos and description of the Aged Women's Home in Maryland, apparently a very nicely appointed home.

Aged Women's Home, 1400 W. Lexington Street, Baltimore, MD
Built 1850, demolished, July 1959.

From the Library of Congress American Memory Collection

The history of the organization responsible for the Aged Women's Home and the later adjacent Aged Men's Home is pertinent. "Several ladies" formed the Impartial Female Humane Society in 1802 for the purpose of assisting "the deserving widow and deserted wife" and to establish a "Male Free School, upon liberal principles." The Society was incorporated in 1811, and in 1849 the Society was reincorporated as "The Baltimore Humane Impartial Society and Aged Women's Home," for the express purpose of enlarging its sphere of activity to include the aged. In 1864, the charter was again changed to include a home for Aged Men. About this time the school was discontinued.

In December, 1848 the Society announced their determination to build an aged women's home on the present site. The lot measured 80 feet front by 150 feet depth. Fifty feet of the frontage was contributed to the Society by James Canby of Wilmington Delaware. Canby owned 33 acres of land in the vicinity, and was in the process of developing it for residences. The home was one of the first building to be erected in his development. In the same announcement, the Society urged merchants and artisans to contribute materials and labor to the building.

Sometime afterwards Thomas Dixon, architect, supplied general drawings. In July of 1840 a number of carpenters submitted bids for construction. L.G. Shipley estimated the total cost as $15,240, and was willing to do the carpenters work at a deduction of 55% from the standard measurement prices, and also donate $225 to the Society.

From an article in the Baltimore Sun, June 4, 1850:

The Widows Home -- This is the name of a really beautiful specimen of architecture, now rapidly approaching completion, and situated on West Lexington Street...[the first floor] contains fourteen single chambers, each containing a window, and with opening into a spacious hall...The second story likewise contains fourteen single chambers, as does the story above, all of which are nine feet wide and fifteen deep. The board room is an apartment in the second story, commanding the front, which will be finished in the most elegant manner; adjoining which is the apartment for the matron...Each story is supplied with bath rooms, water closets, and every convenience which a well constructed residence affords; and in the third is an apartment designed for an infirmary...The basement contains a kitchen, dining room, sewing apartment, pantries and cellar, and beneath the entrance is a fine arrangement for a refrigerator on a large scale.

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