Fred B. Shoken
Perkins Square Gazebo
George Street & Myrtle Avenue, Baltimore, Baltimore City
The Perkins Square Gazebo is an eight-sided, cast iron, open structure of eclectic Victorian design constructed in 1871 and located in a triangular-shaped park in West Baltimore. This park was originally surrounded by rowhousing, but now is located in the midst of a complex of high-rise housing projects. The structure features grouped columns on square bases, obtuse pointed archways surmounted by spandrels with foliated designs, an ogee shaped roof, peaked cupola, and weather vane finial. The structure now encloses a simple drinking fountain instead of the original freshwater spring. In the process of being repainted, the gazebo is in fair condition, except for some notable deterioration at the base.
The Perkins Square Gazebo is a unique architectural structure in Baltimore City, because of its function as a shelter for a spring, its eclectic design, and its cast iron construction. This structure and the gazebo in Union Square are significant as reminders of a time when many fresh water springs were a vital part of Baltimore’s water system and recreational amenities. While the Union Square gazebo is classically designed, the Perkins Square structure represents the high degree of ornamentation that was popular in the Victorian era. The eclectic blend of architectural elements produced a fanciful pavilion that functions to delight and attract people to the former spring and public park. The cast iron character of the gazebo is also significant as a representative of this type of construction, because Baltimore was a leader in both its production and use in the mid to late 19th century.