Old City Hall and Engine House
211-213, Main Street, Annapolis, Anne Arundel County
The Old City Hall and Engine House was designed in a vernacular Federal style. The 2 1/2-story, three bay brick building is set upon a brick foundation and is covered with a half-hipped and half-gable roof. A cupola with louvered arches which originally crowned the ridgeline of the roof has since been removed. The front elevation of old City Hall consists of a first-story storefront and a side-passage entry and three bays of 6/6 windows on the second story. These windows, which appear on a 1897 historic photograph, may have replaced 9/9 windows which appear elsewhere on the building. Windows have jack-arched lintels and louvered shutters. A projecting wood cornice with heavy scrolled brackets delineates the two stories. A set of three smaller modillions are located between the end brackets above the side-passage door. One entry, leading to the second floor and indicated by a pair of brackets, is set to the side; a second, more recent, glass entry door is set next to a two-light plate glass store window. The first story originally had large openings to provide for fire engine entrances. After 1868 when the city sold the building for commercial purposes, a new façade of all-stretcher brick appears to have been added to the three-course brick walls on the second story, and a wooden Italianate storefront and the side-passage entry were appended to the first story. In the second half of the 20th century, a new entry door and showwindows to the first story commercial space replaced the post-1868 storefront. A one-story concrete block wing was added to the rear of the building between 1930 and 1954.
The City Hall and Engine House, built 1821-1822 by the City of Annapolis, was the first structure erected by the city for municipal purposes. Relatively intact today, the building contributes to the historic district for its architecture and important role as the first purpose-built home of the city government. Designed to serve as a fire station on the first floor with a meeting room for the town council above, it was used until 1868 when the city relocated its functions to Duke of Gloucester Street. After sale at auction to William Inglehart in 1868, the building was converted to commercial use and altered over time. Major exterior alterations include the addition of a new pressed brick façade, the removal of the original cupola, the addition of Italianate style details, and changes to the fenestration. The interior no longer retains historic fabric.