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c. 1797. 604, 612–614 S. Wolfe St.
  • (Photograph by Alexander Heilner)

The double house at 612–614 and the single at 604 are rare survivors of a once common eighteenth-century dwelling form inhabited by Baltimore’s working class. Of frame construction with partial brick nogging, the units are only a story-and-a-half in height and two-bays wide, measuring a modest 12 × 16 feet. They consisted of a single room with a fireplace and winder stair in one corner that led to a loft above, lit by a single dormer window. As frame structures, they predate the city’s 1799 ordinance that prohibited the construction of such residences, then determined to be a fire hazard. According to city directories, they were occupied during the 1830s through the 1850s by African American freedmen and their families; the men were typically employed as ship caulkers working in the yards located just a few blocks away. The double house is quickly deteriorating, while the single house has been restored.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie


What's Nearby


Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie, "SHIP CAULKERS’ HOUSES", [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, 196-197.

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