Pigtown Historic District
Baltimore, Baltimore City
The Pigtown Historic District comprises some 36 city blocks in southwest Baltimore, south and east of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad yards. Developing initially as a community for railroad workers in the 1840s, along Columbia Avenue (now Washington Boulevard), Ramsay, McHenry, and Poppleton Streets, the area grew rapidly to the south during the industrial expansion of the 1850s and 1860s. Small two-story brick rowhouses were built for workingmen on the narrow streets running south of Washington Boulevard, with three-story gable-roofed and then early Italianate rowhouses lining Washington Boulevard and Scott Street to accommodate shopkeepers and upper-level managers. With the continued industrial growth of the area, the land lying south of Cross Street to Mount Clare was developed in the 1880s, 1890s, and early 1900s as a community for workingmen. Builders put up tidy, affordable two-story, two-bay-wide rowhouses that could be purchased with the help of local buildings and loan associations. For more prosperous employees, a team of builders erected several rows of three-story Italianate-style houses on the south side of Cross Street, west of Scott. In the same decades builders put up rows of small houses east of Scott Street, both north and south of Cross, but only a few blocks of this housing survived 20th century industrial expansion and the building of the Ravens football stadium and Martin Luther King Boulevard. The few surviving blocks east of Scott Street have been included within the boundaries of the historic district.
The Pigtown Historic District is historically significant for its association with the industrial development of Baltimore in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The development of the district is intimately linked with hallmark events of the Industrial Revolution in Baltimore, particularly the growth and development of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, the nation's first railroad. Location of the B&O Railroad on West Pratt Street in 1830 and t he rapid growth of related industries around it, like locomotive works and car-building shops, directly resulted in the growth of a nearby working-class community. After 1870 the area became the home of the city's major gas works--a technological innovation that provided a new form of street lighting and then indoor lighting. The area also gains significance from the fact that it was one of Baltimore's major German settlements, particularly after the 1868 partnership between the B&O Railroad and the North-German Lloyd Steamship Company. The district is also significant for its architecture, as an example of a type of working-class neighborhood characteristic of the period 1830-1915 in Baltimore. It is one of the earliest examples in the city of a mainly two-story working class neighborhood developed around a specific factory or industrial site. Examples of every form of urban vernacular residential architecture built in Baltimore between 1830 and 1915 can be seen in the district.