John Merrick, a carriagemaker grown rich in the Civil War, hired Baltimore architect Lind to design an ostentatious brownstone mansion, now a lone survivor of the big townhomes that once dominated the vicinity of today's Rodney Square (WL29). Its heavy Italianate forms, including massive scroll-supported window heads and an oversize bracketed cornice, recall Lind's famous Peabody Institute, Baltimore, the first section of which had recently been erected (1858–1862). Since 1900, the Merrick mansion has housed one of the country's oldest social clubs, founded in 1855. Generations of civic elites traditionally came for lunch or afternoon bridge games.
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