back east on Montgomery toward Federal Hill Park, the better
part of the north side of the street features examples of the
work of an early Baltimore builder named Samuel Bratt.
and 208 E, Montgomery went up in about 1853, and 226 through
240 were completed between 1870 and 1871.Most of these homes were built to be rented.They sold originally for about $1,000.
nearly 100 years later, the condition of most of the
neighborhood’s historic buildings had nearly declined into
ruin.And so, it
would come to pass that Samuel Bratt’s houses were sold
again, this time by the City of Baltimore for a mere $4,000 to
$10,000 as part of the initial phase of a municipally
underwritten neighborhood revitalization program.
were no standards written into law to control this
many of those brave enough to relocate to this then
“rough” neighborhood naturally tended toward restoring at
least the exteriors to approximate their original appearance.A City agency called the Commission for Historical and
Architectural Preservation was founded for the purpose of
setting standards for restoration and upholding proper
preservationist controls on historic properties.Unhappily, in some obvious instances, the
Commission’s decisions are often subject to contradiction
through the intervention of our elected officials acting on
behalf of their political patrons and campaign contributors.
we climb the steps to the top of Federal Hill Park, look to
your right at the intersection of Montgomery and Battery.At Number 896 stands the widest single-family residence
in South Baltimore (the second house to the left in this
is considered a rarity because at the time of its
construction, property taxes were based on frontage, which is
why the majority of the homes in the neighborhood are
relatively narrow (15 feet) and long.However, money obviously was of little concern to
Frederick Wessel, a German immigrant and wealthy department
store owner, who had this house built for hi son between 1903