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Built To Last: Ten Enduring Landmarks of Baltimore’s Central Business District


B and O Railroad Company Headquarters Building9. B&O Railroad Company Headquarters Building
2 North Charles Street
(1904-6, Parker & Thomas, architects)

The railroad was the lynchpin of Baltimore's prosperity in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the locally-headquartered B&O came to represent the city's role as a leader in commercial transportation and a crossroads of national trade. The massive 1906 building, designed to replace a structure destroyed in the Great Fire of 1904, showed that the “pioneer railroad” of the 1830s had grown to become a modern, sophisticated rival to New York's NY Central or Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Railroad. The 13-story, steel-framed office building combined modern conveniences, including pneumatic mail tubes and a central vacuum-cleaning system, with rich materials and restrained use of traditional forms and emblems.  The monumental sculptures over the Charles Street entrance depict the Roman God Mercury (the traditional mythological symbol of commerce) and a figure, the Progress of Industry, holding a torch and a locomotive—symbols of the company's interest in the railroad as a vehicle of progress. For more information download the B&O Railroad Company Headquarters .PDF file. (203 KB)

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