Photo credit: Breck Chapman , 02/2004

Property Name: Swiss Steam Laundry Building
Date Listed: 6/20/1985
Inventory No.: B-4091
Location: 100-102, Greene St., N., Baltimore, Baltimore City

Description: The six-story 1895 Swiss Steam Laundry Building fronts easterly on North Greene Street, with a façade dominated by two five-story arched bays each consisting of tripartite fenestration at the corners and a cast iron storefront with an ornamental scroll and egg-and-dart molding at the cornice. The façade, framed by large brick pilasters with rough stone capitals supporting a metal cornice, which runs between the fourth and fifth floors, is accentuated by 1/1 windows with stone sills and lintels, and brick panels between floor levels two, three, and four. The features of the front façade continue on the most easterly portion of the Fayette Street (south) façade in a single arched bay. To the west of this highly articulated corner are four bays of 1/1 windows grouped in twos. The windows are segmentally arched with stone sills and splayed brick lintels. The windows on the fifth floor are arched, as are the smaller sixth floor windows, which are grouped in threes, except over the corner arch where there is a group of four. The interior of the building features iron columns on all levels and wood flooring. The first two floors are 20 feet high. The third and fourth floors are 16 feet high, while the uppermost floors are 10 feet high.

Significance: The Swiss Steam Laundry Building is a prominently sited six-story loft Romanesque building that is significant architecturally as an excellent example of the loft type building as constructed in Baltimore at the turn of the 20th century and for its association with a period in Baltimore’s history when the city was a national leader in the manufacture of ready-to-wear clothing. In the second half of the 19th century and into the early 20th, Baltimore ranked among the country’s leading industrial cities, with clothing manufacture being the major industry in the metropolitan district. Most of this manufacturing took place in the loft district, about three blocks to the south of the Swiss Steam Laundry Building, that is dominated by loft type structures. These buildings are characteristically massive brick vertical Romanesque and early modern designed structures erected between about 1880 and 1910. The Swiss Steam Laundry Building has the characteristic Romanesque arches and brick and stonework. As a manufacturers’ laundry, the Swiss Steam Laundry and its successor, the Elite Laundry, played a significant role in the clothing industry.




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