Pamela M. James
Leadenhall Street Baptist Church
1021-1023, Leadenhall St., Baltimore, Baltimore City
Leadenhall Baptist Church is a gable-front rectangular brick temple with simple Renaissance Revival detail. Its ground floor contains kitchen, lecture, and Sunday School rooms, and the upper floor, with galleries, is reserved for church services. The original exterior wall surfaces have been covered with formstone on the main façade and stucco elsewhere, but the original appearance of the church is recorded in a c. 1885 engraving. The symmetrical front façade consists of a high projecting base with three, ground level, round arched entrances. The central entrance is the tallest. Each is filled with tinted glass and aluminum doors with semicircular stained glass transoms. The center transom has the words "Leadenhall Baptist Church" incorporated in its design. Above the base, four pairs of pilasters rise to the gable end pediment. A large round-arched window opening in the central bay is filled with a pair of slim stained glass round-arched windows with a circular stained glass window set in the spandrel. A round-arched stained glass window is set in each side bay, with their lower ends recessed into the base of the façade. These windows illuminate the interior stairways which rise in both corners. A circular stained glass window is set in the center of the pediment. The roof overhangs the gable end with a simple wooden cornice.
Leadenhall Baptist Church was built in 1873 for black Baptists of the Sharp-Leadenhall area of Baltimore by the Maryland Baptist Union Association. It is the second oldest church building in Baltimore which has been continuously occupied by the same black congregation. The neighboring Sharp-Leadenhall and Otterbein areas of South Baltimore are rich in black history. Many of the buildings which housed the people and institutions intimately associated with the advancement of blacks here have been demolished for new uses. Leadenhall Baptist is one of the survivors. The church was designed, built, and furnished by the firm of Joseph Thomas and Son, est. 1820, manufacturers of building materials and church, bank, and office furniture. The Leadenhall church is a plain structure with generalized Renaissance detail. It is a highly functional composition which is relieved by round arched windows and graceful interior detail. The structure is interesting as an atypically restrained example of mid-Victorian ecclesiastical building.