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George A. Frederick

George Aloysius Frederick (December 16, 1842 – August 17, 1924) was a German-American architect with a practice in Baltimore, Maryland, where his most prominent commission was the Baltimore City Hall (1867–1875), awarded him when he was only age 21. Later in the late 19th century, he served as the semi-official municipal architect.

George A. Frederick
Born(1842-12-16)December 16, 1842
DiedAugust 17, 1924(1924-08-17) (aged 81)
AwardsFellowship with the American Institute of Architects, 1877
BuildingsBaltimore City Hall (1867-1875); Baltimore City College, (1873-1875), Maryland House of Correction (Jessup) (1878); Howard Peters Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens of Baltimore, (1888)
ProjectsRepairs to the Maryland State House; Architect to the Baltimore City Board of Parks Commissioners, 1863-1895; Maryland Exposition Building, built 1893 for World's Columbian Exposition (Chicago World's Fair)

He had apprenticed with a Baltimore architectural partnership with Lind & Murdoch,[1] architects of the Peabody Institute (1857-1860) at North Charles Street (Washington Place) and East Mount Vernon Place (East Monument Street). He designed structures for Baltimore's extensive Druid Hill Park, then beyond the 1818 northwest city limits, purchased for the city in 1860, and designed by Howard Daniels, Baltimore City Park Commissioners' landscape designer and John H.B. Latrobe,[2] who designed the gateways to the park and the alterations made to the early-19th century Col. Nicholas Rogers mansion "Druid Hill" that already stood on the site. Druid Hill Park ranks with Frederick Law Olmsted's Central Park in Manhattan in New York City, begun in 1859, and Fairmount Park in Philadelphia as the oldest landscaped public parks in the United States. Among Frederick's playful structures for Druid Hill Park in Moorish and Chinese styles is the Chinese Station for the horse street car system erected in 1864[3] and the Moorish Station,[4] which were stops on a narrow-gauge railroad that once wound through the park.

Baltimore City HallEdit

Baltimore City Hall

The commission for the Baltimore City Hall, 100 Holiday Street, was awarded after a design competition to Frederick, a complete unknown and not quite twenty, in the fateful year 1860. The Civil War intervened, and construction finally got under way in 1867. Frederick's design looked to the new additions to the Palais du Louvre, completed under Hector Lefuel in 1857, and well publicized to professionals and architects alike through engravings, lithographs and description; its high Mansard roofs, bold corner pavilions, richly framed dormers are reflected in Frederick's City Hall,[5] above which rises the central dome, 227 feet (69 m) high, above an interior rotunda 119 feet (36 m) high. Twin interior courts provided every room with natural light.

Well launched by the City Hall, which influenced the design of every ambitious commercial building in Baltimore for more than a decade, Frederick went on to design the premises of the major German-American newspaper The German Correspondent, completed in 1869 on a prominent corner lot on Baltimore Avenue; it had three main floors and an attic behind French mansards, with a marble-clad facing with Venetian-Gothic windows. The German Orphan Asylum (1873) was another German-American commission.

Maryland State HouseEdit

State House, Annapolis

In 1876, Frederick was hired by the Maryland General Assembly to supervise renovations to the then aging Maryland State House. $32,000 was originally appropriated for the project, but the final cost was more than $100,000. most of the cost overrun was due to the necessity of excavations for a new cellar to house two new furnaces and a hot water apparatus to properly heat the building. In 1878 the General Assembly called for an investigation of the cost overrun. After taking testimony from artisans and laborers who had worked on the project, the General Assembly decided to pay the subcontractors, but not Frederick. Frederick would later refuse requests by the state of Maryland to turn over his detailed measurements and architectural drawings. [6]

In 1868 Frederick was a founder of the Baltimore chapter of the American Institute of Architects.


  • Chalkley, Tom. "Built to Last." Charmed Life. City Paper, Baltimore, 10 November 1999.
  • Dorsey, John and James D. Dilts. A Guide to Baltimore Architects. 3rd Edition. Centreville, MD: Tidewater Publishers, 1997.
  • Frederick, George A. "Recollections of George A. Frederick." 1912. Maryland Historical Society
  • "Frederick, George Aloysius." The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography being the History of the United States. Vol. IX. New York: James T. White & Company, 1899. p. 334.
  • "George A. Frederick." Baltimore Architecture Foundation. 18 Oct. 2007 [1]
  • George A. Frederick. Biography. Maryland State Archives. [2]
  • "George Aloysius Frederick." Baltimore Architects. The Sun, Baltimore, 22 September 1954.
  • Giza, Joanne and Catharine F. Black. "Cylburn." Great Baltimore Houses: An Architectural and Social History. Baltimore: Maclay & Associates, 1982. p. 79-81.
  • Hayward, Mary Ellen and Frank R. Shivers, Jr. The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated History. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004.
  • Jones, Carleton. Lost Baltimore Landmarks: A Portfolio of Vanished Buildings. Baltimore, MD: Maclay & Associates, Inc., 1982.
  • Perlman, Bennard B. "The City Hall, Baltimore." Maryland Historical Magazine. Maryland Historical Society. Vol. XLVII. no. 1. March 1952. p. 40-54.
  • "Poe's Grave." The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore. 2 January 2001.
  • "The Cator Prints: City Hall, Now & Then." Enoch Pratt Free Library. [3]
  • Withey, Henry F. and Elsie Rathburn Withey. Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased). Los Angeles: Hennessey & Ingalls, Inc., 1970. p. 220-221.


  1. ^ Mary Ellen Hayward, Frank R. Shivers, Richard Hubbard Howland, The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated History 2004:147.
  2. ^ John Hazlehurst Boneval Latrobe (1803-1891), (though a son of the famous earlier American architect Benjamin Latrobe, who designed the old Baltimore Cathedral (now co-cathedral, National Shrine of the Basilica of the Assumption of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1806-1821), was a lawyer, whose design supervision must have been general.
  3. ^ Baltimore Parks
  4. ^ J. Dorsey and J.D. Dilts, A Guide to Baltimore Architecture (3rd edition), Tidewater Publishers, Centreville, MD (1997:298 (on-line illustration Archived 2008-07-04 at the Wayback Machine).
  5. ^ Mary Ellen Hayward, Frank R. Shivers, Richard Hubbard Howland, The Architecture of Baltimore: An Illustrated History :186-89.
  6. ^ Arthur, Catherine; Kintzel, Christopher; Bachmann, Elaine; Calver, Mimi (March 2019). Maryland's Historic Legislative Chambers. Annapolis: Maryland State Archives. p. 16.

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