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Fulton County Historical Markers

Baltimore Block


  • Source: David Seibert
  • Marker: Baltimore Block
  • Location: Located at the west end of Baltimore Place (off West Peachtree) in Atlanta

BALTIMORE BLOCK

Baltimore Block was built in 1885 by Jacob J. Rosenthal. Named for the developer’s hometown, the rowhouses were Atlanta’s first apartment-type development and the first to be based on a long-term land lease. Each of the graciously appointed fourteen original units featured central heating and gas fixtures, and in accepted Baltimore custom, the land was leased to homeowners for 99 years. For a quarter of a century, the elegant rowhouses were home to socially prominent families and professionals, including the builder himself, who had settled in Atlanta.

Around 1907, the block began to fall out of vogue, and during the 1920’s, four of the buildings were torn down. The remaining units were left derelict, a home to vagrants.

Then, in 1932 came a renaissance, when artistically-minded Atlantans began to buy and restore the rowhouses, converting many to smaller apartments. Since that time, Baltimore Block has been home to artists, writers, journalists, actors, and even a French countess. Unfortunately, two more buildings were destroyed in 1954, and renovators mistakenly removed vital parts of their foundation. During the 1960’s, the block became a mecca for the bohemian set, when a coffeehouse, later a bar, operated out of two of the rowhouses. Later, offices, galleries and small shops began to mix in with the residential units. In 1989, the rowhouses, all under a single ownership for the first time, were renovated for use as office space, and a large L-shaped, 5-story addition was completed.