Butchers Hill Historic District
Baltimore, Baltimore City
Butchers Hill Historic District is an irregularly shaped area roughly bounded by East Fayette Street on the north, Patterson Park Avenue on the east, East Pratt Street on the south, and South Chapel, North Washington, and North Chester Streets on the west. An overwhelmingly residential neighborhood densely built with brick rowhouses at the crest of Hampstead Hill, Butchers Hill is an architecturally and historically distinct pocket of development in the regular grid of East Baltimore streets. The unique combination of dates of construction (1850-1915), sizes, and styles of buildings, with a hilly topography and a peculiar pattern of development, as well as a generally high degree of integrity which is being enhanced by rehabilitation, sets Butchers Hill apart from the surrounding rowhouse communities. The district contains approximately 1000 buildings, 97% of which are contributing structures. Bordering the oldest, northwestern corner of Patterson Park, the District’s streetscapes afford exceptional views of Baltimore’s harbor to the south, and downtown Baltimore to the west.
The various roles Butchers Hill has played in the historical development of East Baltimore and the greater Baltimore region, as well as the economic and ethnic groups it has hosted, are reflected in its buildings. Unlike most Baltimore neighborhoods which grew as contiguous expansions to older, harbor-dependent settlements, as industrial water mill or steam villages, or as crossroads trading centers, Butchers Hill was settled and existed as a physically isolated, prosperous tradesman’s village before the Civil War. Its subsequent engulfment by an expanding city began slowly in the 1850s,accelerated in the 1870s, and was complete by 1915. The community’s associations with William Patterson and his heirs, who shaped its early 19th century growth, as well as the butchers, the predominant German merchants and industrialists, and the Jewish professionals and tradesmen who contributed to the growth of 19th and early 20th century Baltimore, and who successively populated and left Butchers Hill, can be clearly read in its extant resources. The collection of buildings represents a fine cross-section of late 19th century rowhouse styles, and belies the uniformity assumed to be inherent in rowhouse communities. The buildings of Butchers Hill are a significant and distinguished entity linked by topography, a unique development pattern, and their integrity, as well as through the frequent use of elaborate ironwork for structural and decorative purposes. The resources of the community have and will continue to yield information on 19th century construction practices and patterns of growth, as well as on the acculturation of Baltimore’s German and Jewish communities.