Discover Charles Street Your Charles Street Journey Mount Vernon
As Charles Street extended north in the early part of the 19th century, it was considered the premier address for the wealthy, which built elegant townhomes along the street. In Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood, this atmosphere of elegance reached a high point with the construction of Mount Vernon Place, a four-sided park and square that Charles Street passes through. Regarded as one of the most beautiful urban squares in the world, Mount Vernon Place has at its center the 178-foot Washington Monument. Today it is a diverse area of residential and business amid some of the city’s finest institutions. The neighborhood contains a mix of building types, styles, and uses that feature a grand scale, a high degree of decoration, and classical elegance.
Things to See in Mount Vernon
- Walters Art Museum (600 N. Charles Street) — Henry Walters and his father, William Walters, built the Atlantic Coast Line and one of the world’s greatest art collections. Henry built a gallery on Charles Street modeled on a Renaissance Genoese palace to showcase his artwork. The gallery building, Henry Walter’s house on Mount Vernon Place, and the art collection were given to the city at his death. Today visitors can view 13th-century paintings, Byzantine manuscripts, Limoge enamels, and impressive statues from Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece.
- Washington Monument (699 Washington Place) — When Baltimoreans proposed this 178-foot-tall column, it was extraordinary; no American city had dreamed of anything like it to honor America’s revered leader. Architect Robert Mills won the monument’s design competition and a city-sponsored lottery funded its construction. Visitors can make the 227-step hike to the top of the monument to take in one-of-a-kind views of the city; visit the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy website for more information.
- Garrett Jacobs Mansion (7 W. Mount Vernon Place) — The Garrett Jacobs Mansion, originally four mid-1800 rowhouses, was transformed into a single rowhouse mansion for Mrs. Robert Garrett (later Jacobs) by Stanford White (1884-1893) and John Russell Pope (1905-1916). With 40 rooms, 100 windows, 16 fireplaces, a curved staircase topped by a Tiffany glass dome, carved paneling, a ballroom, a “supper room” with seating for 100, an art gallery, and a glass conservatory in the central courtyard, the mansion is one of the largest rowhouses in the world. Today it is home to the Engineering Society of Baltimore.
- Peabody Institute (7 W. Mount Vernon Place) — In 1857, philanthropist George Peabody, in an effort to bring culture to city residents, founded the Peabody Institute, the first academy of music to be established in the nation. Its library was was dedicated in 1866 with 20,000 volumes on the shelves. To house what eventually numbered about 250,000 books, architect Edmund Lind created a palatial stack room: six stories of cast-iron balconies surrounding a marble court.
- Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church (7 W. Mount Vernon Place) — The church was constructed on the site of the former mansion of Charles Howard. Francis Scott Key died in the house while visiting his daughter (and Howard’s wife). The church is designed in a late Victorian, Gothic style of grey and green stone. The soaring, 203-foot-tall stone steeple is a little shorter than the top of George Washington’s head across the street.
- Belvedere Hotel (1 E. Chase Street) — The Belvedere began its life in 1903 as a hotel built in the middle of the best part of town to serve Baltimore’s elite. It is a massive building with massive details and yet it is so carefully detailed and proportioned that its pure massiveness doesn’t feel oppressive. The ballroom and the other grand event rooms under the giant roof have hosted thousands of debutante balls, wedding receptions, and other important galas throughout the years. Today the Belvedere is a condominium complex. The speakeasy-like ground floor Owl Bar and a restaurant on the 13th floor are open to the public.