Charity V. Davidson
St. Paul's Church Rectory
24, Saratoga St., W., Baltimore, Baltimore City
St. Paul’s Protestant Episcopal Church Rectory is a three-story Late Georgian/Federal style brick building constructed between 1789 and 1791. The Flemish bond brick main elevation faces southwest down the center line of Liberty Street. The symmetrical center portion has five bays with a dominant central bay. The pedimented doorway has paneled pilasters and a rectangular transom. On the second story above the doorway is a Palladian window with curving muntins in the arched section. Above this is a bull’s-eye window in the peak of a dentiled pediment. The windows of the first floor are 6/6 and are high and narrow. Those on the second floor are also 6/6, but are smaller. The windows have stone sills and flat arches and a projecting brick belt course marks the division between floors. The shingled gable roof has two pedimented dormers centered between the outer bays of the main elevation. Interior end chimneys rise from each end of the main section. A two-story extension was added to the west end of the Rectory in the mid-1830s. A larger extension on the east has existed in various sizes since 1791. The house is only one room deep, and has a polygonal projection in the center of the rear which encases an intricately designed stairway following five sides of its hall.
The Old St. Paul’s Church Rectory is one of the oldest existing houses in the city with verifiable date of construction. Construction began in 1789 and was completed in 1791. The land for the rectory was donated by Col. John Eager Howard, and the construction was funded by proceeds form a lottery. Unfortunately, no name is associated with the design, but it has been suggested that the plan may have been copied from a book of architectural drawings. It is an excellent example of the transitional period between the Late Georgian and Federal styles. The home was built for Dr. William West, a native of Virginia and a friend and former neighbor of George Washington; and he undoubtedly influenced the plans. Dr. West died before the building was complete, and the Reverend J.G.J. Bend became the first in the line of locally influential clergymen who occupied it. Over the years, it has been visited by many prominent people through the importance of the Rectors of St. Paul’s, the oldest Episcopal parish in Baltimore. Some of these were Francis Scott Key, Robert Frost, Amy Lowell, Carl Sandburg, and Edna St. Vincent Millay.