12 buildings join Baltimore's official landmark list
Ouija board plant, Calvert's Castalia among structures
By a Baltimore Sun staff writer
May 7, 2009

The former home of the company that invented the Ouija board, the estate of Calvert School's first headmaster and one of the city's last Masonic temples are among 12 buildings that have joined Baltimore's official landmark list.

Marking May as "Preservation Month," Mayor Sheila Dixon held a news conference Wednesday morning at which she signed legislation adding the buildings to the landmark list and opened an exhibit about them in the North Gallery of City Hall.

The additions bring to 153 the number of buildings that have individual city landmark designation, a status that helps protect them from demolition or defacement. Once a building is on the list, any proposed changes to its exterior must be approved by the city's Commission on Historical and Architectural Preservation.

The city's newest landmarks date from the late 18th century to 1959. Some were added for their architectural merit, while others were added because of their association with historic events or important people. In most cases, the owners supported landmark designation from the start, but in two cases, involving the Scottish Rite Temple and Castalia, the Calvert School's first headmaster home, local preservationists initiated the designation process to prevent the buildings from possible demolition. Owners may qualify for preservation tax credits if they rehab a building on the landmark list.

"The City of Baltimore cherishes these jewels because they are unique and authentic," Dixon said during an hour-long ceremony. "Our city is richer because we have so many landmarks."

The latest additions include:

•Harford Commons (1917), 1508-1514 Harford Ave., a building in East Baltimore where the Ouija Board was made from 1917 to the 1940s. The boards were made in other city buildings, but this is the only one that has met the city's criteria for landmark designation. Owner William Fuld was killed when he fell from the building's roof in 1927.

•Castalia (1928), 200 Tuscany Road, the former home of Calvert School headmaster Virgil Hillyer, designed by noted architect Laurence Hall Fowler. Former owners James Harris and Kathy DeAngelis worked with the Baltimore Heritage preservation group to seek landmark designation after school officials told neighbors they were exploring the possibility of tearing down the house to make way for an amphitheater. The school has since hired architect Walter Schamu to prepare plans for preserving it for academic use.

•The Scottish Rite Temple (1933) at 3800 N. Charles St., designed by Clyde and Charles Friz, with John Russell Pope as consulting architect. It is still used as a Masonic temple.

Others include: The Raffel Building (1911) at 107 W. Heath St.; The "Four Bay" House (late 18th century), at 1733 Aliceanna St.; the Dr. Giering House (1902) at 3906 Parkside Drive; the Melvin H. Cade Armory (1959) at 2620 Winchester St.; St. Paul Community Baptist Church (1893), 1901 E. Federal St.; Mount Calvary Episcopal Church (1842), 800 N. Eutaw St.; St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church (1898), St. Paul and 20th streets; Nazarene Baptist Church (1850), 1213 Harford Ave.; St. Stanislaus Kostka Church (1889), 700 S. Ann St.