Mark R. Edwards
1037 (formerly 1037), Hillen St., Baltimore, Baltimore City
This building is located in the Oldtown area of Baltimore. It is a 2 ½-story, 3-bay wide dwelling of wood frame construction that was built between 1782 and 1784 at the end of a row of attached dissimilar buildings. The principal façade has a one-story wooden Italianate storefront of later construction with large store windows and two entrances. The second story is three bays wide, is covered with beaded wooden clapboards, and has three windows. The gabled roof has a centrally placed gabled dormer. The exposed northeast façade is two rooms deep, is covered with extra-wide weatherboard, and has a small, single-light window on the right side of the attic story. The rear façade has no fenestration on the first and second stories and is covered with plywood sheathing; the rear gabled roof has two shed dormers and a chimney. The first floor plan is one room deep while the second and attic floors are two rooms deep. To save the building from demolition, it was moved on September 28, 1980, to the present site, 300’ northeast of its original location on the opposite side of Hillen Street.
The significance of 1037 Hillen Street derives from its architecture: as a residence of wooden frame construction, it embodies the distinctive characteristics of a type and period of construction rarely found in Baltimore today. Built in the late 1700s, it is a rare specimen of the early wooden clapboard building, a type which was common in pre- and post-Revolutionary Baltimore, but was prohibited by ordnance from being constructed after 1812. Because of its easily recognizable wood construction and its minimally altered front façade, this building is one of the city’s best remaining examples of early wooden frame construction, as well as one of its last. Fewer than 50 buildings that exhibit visible early wood frame construction remain in the city today. That 1037 Hillen Street is a row-end building with an exposed wooden side wall adds further to its rarity and sets it apart from other early wooden houses extant in central Baltimore.