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1829–1836, Robert Mills; 1875–1876, Frederick Law Olmsted; 1917–1924, Carrère and Hastings. Charles St. bounded by St. Paul, Cathedral, W. Madison, and W. Centre sts.
  • (Alexander Heilner)
  • (Photograph by Renee Bieretz, HALS)
  • (Photograph by Renee Bieretz, HALS)
  • (Photograph by Renee Bieretz, HALS)
  • (Photograph by Renee Bieretz, HALS)
  • (Photograph by Renee Bieretz, HALS)
  • (Photograph by Renee Bieretz, HALS)
  • (Drawing by Katarzyna Balik, HALS)
  • (Drawing by Katarzyna Balik, HALS)
  • (Drawing by Katarzyna Balik, HALS)
  • (Drawing by Katarzyna Balik, HALS)
  • (Drawing by Fatima Al-Nammri, HALS)

Mount Vernon Place is one of the best conceived and executed city planning projects of the nineteenth century. Begun as the site of Baltimore’s monument to George Washington, Mount Vernon Place became a fashionable urban park, residential neighborhood, and the centerpiece of the city’s arts and culture district. The site, selected for its dramatic views, originated as Colonel John Eager Howard’s Belvidere estate. City managers optimistically projected Baltimore’s expansion, extending Charles Street to the site. Mills laid out the current configuration of squares on north-south and east-west axes, named respectively Washington Place and Mount Vernon Place in honor of Washington and his Virginia home. In 1875, Frederick Law Olmsted’s Boston firm reconfigured Mills’s rectilinear classical design to create a more curvilinear and picturesque landscape, turning lawns into sculpture gardens. In 1917, a redesign by Carrère and Hastings of New York followed City Beautiful ideals of symmetry, uniformity, and axial alignment.

Along the perimeter of Mount Vernon Place is some of the city’s finest architecture, ranging from Greek Revival to Beaux-Arts classical and designed by such noted architects as Niernsee and Neilson, Edmund G. Lind, Stanford White, John Russell Pope, and Delano and Aldrich, beginning in the 1840s. The opulent residences were joined in the twentieth century by fashionable apartment buildings and hotels. The Peabody Institute, begun in 1858, was the first to distinguish Mount Vernon Place as an area of arts and culture, followed by the Walters Art Museum in 1909.


Lavoie, Catherine C. “Washington Memorial, Mount Vernon Place,” HABS No. MD-71, Historic American Buildings Survey, 2005. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Miller, J. Jefferson, II. “Baltimore’s Washington Monument.” Master’s thesis, University of Delaware, 1962.

Mills Papers, 1820–1835, Maryland Historical Society, Manuscript Collection.

Morton, W. Brown, “Mount Vernon Place Historic District,” Baltimore City, Maryland. National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form, 1971. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie



  • 1829

  • 1875

    Picturesque redesign
  • 1917

    Beaux-Arts redesign

What's Nearby


Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie, "MOUNT VERNON PLACE", [Baltimore, Maryland], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Maryland, Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022, 154-155.

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