Richard Walzl Stereoview of the Concordia Building

Richard Walzl’s stereoview of the Concordia Buildings attests to the commercial success and pride in cultured pursuits of Baltimore’s German-speaking community.

The hall was the center of Baltimore German cultural and social activity.  Many of the prosperous German Jewish merchants who moved to the newly fashionable Eutaw Place in the 1880s were members of the Concordia Society. The Concordia was  “next to the Germania [Club] in social importance,” the Germania being the exclusive resort of the wealthiest German merchants of the city (Bierne, The Amiable Baltimoreans, 204-205)

Designed by German-born architect  Adolf Kluss, It was built on the southwest corner of Eutaw and Redwood (formerly German) streets by the Concordia German Association and opened for the first time in September 1865. The structure was destroyed by fire on June 10th 1891 (Official History of the Fire Department of the City of Baltimore, 1898)

The Stranger in Baltimore, an 1866 guide book, relates that the Concordia Building “is finished in the latest style, with every appointment of a club, and also contains a gorgeous theater, with an immense stage.” The Concordia included a subscription lending library of 3,500 volumes, as well as journals and newspapers in both German and English.

Scharf says that in February 1868 Charles Dickens “gave a course of readings, in the saloon of this building, which were largely attended” (695).

“A near riot ensued,” says Carleton Jones in Lost Baltimore Landmarks, “when Lincoln conspirator John Surratt attempted to present a program here on his return from Rome after the war” (47).

Richard Walzl, the well-known photographer, publisher, and purveyor of photographic supplies at 103 West Baltimore Street, seems to have favored turquoise for his stereoview mounts. This view is part of a series called “Baltimore and Vicinity” that included 45 images of important Baltimore structures, from the Battle Monument to the City Jail. Walzl likely published this view before 1876.

View another image of the Concordia Building by William M. Chase.

B & O Bridge Over Georges Creek, Piedmont, West Virginia

This lovely stereoview published by G. W. Robinson of 103 West Baltimore Street depicts a  rail bridge against a backdrop of water and hills.

Taken from slightly above, the view centers the mid-creek pier, and the glistening water draws the eye from there up toward the cleft between the gently sloping hills beyond. The photographer gives us a composition that celebrates  both the wilderness of the Alleghenies and the industrial ingenuity that has penetrated the mountains and made them accessible to the romantic viewer’s shaping eye.

According to the information printed on the back of the card, this bridge spanned Georges Creek at Piedmont, Mineral County, West Virginia. Georges Creek flows down an Allegheny County, Maryland valley from Frostburg to the Potomac. The valley was long mined for coal once the B & O reached Piedmont in the 1850s.

Photographer and local historian Christopher DellaMea’s website, Coal Fields of the Appalachian Mountains, has a good section on the Georges Creek coal field.

I haven’t been able to confirm the location of this bridge, when it was built, or when it was destroyed. It appears, to my untutored eye, to be a one-pier span of a Bollman truss design. It may once have been part of the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad. The rail line up Georges Creek was operated by CSX up until 2006, when a small partnership bought the line and renamed it the George’s Creek Railway.

Is the perspective from the south, looking north up George’s Creek from Piedmont? Or from the north, looking south to the Potomac?

If you know anything about this bridge, its history, status, and location, please let me know.

Chasing the First Congregational Church, Baltimore

I seem to be drawn to Eutaw Place. When I purchased this steroview by Baltimore photographer and view publisher William M. Chase, I didn’t know the church it depicts, the First Congregational Church of Baltimore, was once located there, between Hoffman and Dolphin streets.

As far as I have been able to determine, the building no longer exists. The church was organized in 1865 and an edifice built at this location in 1866 (Scharf, History of Baltimore City and County, 552). Designed by architect Thomas C. Kennedy, the First Congregational Church building shown here was dedicated on 24 October 1882.

A detailed description in the Sun coverage of the dedication made it possible to identify the church building, characterized by an unusual octagonal center, as that designed by Kennedy:

“The building is of Falls road stone, with red sandstone trimmings. The centre and two sides have high gables, with large windows, filled with colored glass. The auditorium is octagon in shape, 60 feet each way. The entrance vestibules, minister’s study and organ chamber occupy the alternate angles of the octagon, from which they are separated by bold and lofty arches.  The pulpit platform fills a recessed chancel next the chapel, leaving the entire area of the octagon for the congregation. The floor has a gradual incline towards the pulpit, from which the aisles radiate.  The pews are arranged in circles with a seating capacity of 325. The open timber roof is [unreadable] with yellow pine. In the centre of the roof is a ventilator opening to the apex of the roof, through which impure air may be drawn off. Pure air is admitted by vertical tubes” (Baltimore Sun, 25 October 1882).

In 1900, this congregation united with the Associate Reformed Church to become the Associate Congregational Church of Baltimore, which had built a Charles E. Carson-designed church at 24 W. Preston Street (now owned by a Greek Orthodox congregation).

A large part of this block of N. Eutaw is now occupied by a number of ca. 1960s Maryland state office buildings.

Dr. James Stevens Chaplain of Trappe

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Because of its revenue stamp, we can be confident this carte de visite photograph of Dr. James Stevens Chaplain (1827-1908), of Trappe, Talbot County, Md., was taken between 1864 and 1866  in the studio of Edward H. Anderson, Easton, Md..

In Talbot County, the family name of Chaplain, earlier spelled Chapline or Chaplin, goes all the way back to 1660, when Francis Chaplin of Suffolk County, England, arrived and purchased about 7,000 acres in Bolingbroke Hundred.

This photograph was one of several offered at auction recently, including Alexander Chaplain, who served in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1860.

James Chaplain graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1854, returned to Trappe, married Evalina Kemp, daughter of Trappe physician Samuel Kemp, and settled down to practice medicine.

According to one profile, Dr. Chaplain involved himself in the public affairs of Talbot County, serving on the Trappe Board of Town Commissioners, the Trappe Library Association Board of Directors, and as president of the Trappe Savings Bank. He was a Mason and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Edward H. Anderson, in whose studio this photograph was taken, was born about 1832 in Maryland. He learned the jeweller’s and watchmaker’s trade in Baltimore as an apprentice to jeweller Joseph Walter.

Anderson seems to have been something of an inventor as well. He and a James H. Anderson, MD, registered a patent in the 1860s for an improvement in cultivators, and with another collaborator named Hopkins, an improvement in “vapor burners.” It was not uncommon for jewellers and other mechanical craftsmen to engage in photography as a side business.

Hebbel Young Marrieds

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I was fortunate to acquire two cabinet card photographs of the same young couple, both taken at the Julius Hebbel Studio on North Gay Street ca. 1896-1905.

Here, a young married couple is portrayed with a vignetted bust pose in which the figures nearly fill the horizontal frame. The post just previous displays and discusses this couple’s full-length standing wedding portrait.

According to clothing historian Joan Severa, the balloon-like leg o’mutton sleeve reached its apogee and then began to deflate ca. 1895-1896. The sleeves on this young matron’s white dress appear, then, to be post-1896: still puffed at the shoulder, with elaborate lace trimmings on shoulder and bodice.

While hard to discern because of fading, the dress may have a “bertha” collar, which Severa defines as “a deep fall of lace or silk, usually gathered, of equal length all around and set on with the top edge of the shoulder-line” (Dressed for the Photographer, 541).

Her hairstyle, pulled tightly back with soft short bangs, was going out of fashion by 1896, says Severa. Bangs were beginning to be “flattened down from a central part into waves along the temples” (Dressed for the photographer, 470).

The couple chose the same card mount for this later photograph as for their wedding portrait: black, with gold serrated edges and gilt lettering, ca. 1890-1900.

If you compare the tone of the two prints, this one appears much less golden-hued than their wedding portrait. Hebbel may have chosen the newer, faster-exposing dry gelatin bromide plate for this photograph, which was widely available by 1895.

The back of the card mount features advertising that fills the entire space. Its Beaux Arts frame of living branches encloses a tableau of trailing morning glories, a camera accompanied by an artist’s palette, and examples of the photographer’s work. This common visual trope associated the photographic craft with the fine arts and suggested the camera’s superior capacity to capture nature.

Hebbel Newlyweds

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“It is the sleeve and its changes,” writes clothing historian Joan Severa, “that gives the best dating tool for the nineties” (Dressed for the Photographer, 458). This bride’s leg o’mutton sleeves date the photograph to ca. 1895-1900. If you look closely, the sleeve appears to have a double puff and to end just below the elbow in a loose gathered lace cuff.

White for wedding dresses, pioneered by Queen Victoria’s 1840 wedding gown, had become traditional by the early 1890s.

The groom wears a morning or cutaway coat, typical fashionable formal day-wear for Victorian men.

The black  mount, with its gold serrated edges and relatively elaborate advertising on the back, was in wide use between 1890 and 1899.

The address indicates that the photographer occupied two spaces, 409 and 411 North Gay Street. According to his obituary, Julius Hebbel (1853-1905) owned two studio spaces on North Gay Street at the time of his death.

The term “instantaneous,” according to Lou W. McCulloch, referred in cabinet card photography to “short durations of exposure.”  Faster exposure times became possible with the invention of the gelatin-bromide dry plate by George Eastman in 1881.

The sepia tone of this photo suggests, however, that Hebbel was still using wet-plate process albumen paper and washing it chloride of gold. McCulloch says both processes were in use up to about 1895 (Card Photographs, A Guide to Their History and Value, 47.)

Rev. Richard Henry Barnes Mitchell

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The full-length carte de visite portrait of  Protestant Episcopal minister Rev. Richard Henry Barnes Mitchell (1803-1869) was taken at the studio of Palmer Lenfield Perkins (1824-1900), 207 Baltimore Street.

Mitchell was born in Kent County, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, son of Capt. John Mitchell, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and Catharine Barnes Mitchell.

References to Rev. Mitchell in records of the Protestant Episcopal Church indicate that in his early years as a minister, he served a parish in Virginia, and William and Mary (Ridge) Parish in St. Marys County, Maryland. He spent many years as the rector of Christ Church in Bordentown, New Jersey. At the time of his death, he was rector at Trinity Church, Elkton, Maryland.

Sources are contradictory regarding the number of Mitchell’s marriages. I’ve found three wives, and this agrees with some genealogical sources, but there is a fourth listed  on the back of one of the cartes de visite pictured above.

His will, posted on by a family researcher, mentions a fourth wife, Margaret S., and this must be the “Miss Wirt of Elkton Md.” mentioned on the back of the carte de visite.

He had eight children with his first wife, Lucinda Compton, and three more sons with his second wife, Susan Binney.  Among his sons, Walter Alexander Mitchell and Whittingham Doane Mitchell both became Episcopal ministers; Andrew R. Mitchell became a physician and settled in Wilmington, Delaware.

So far, I have only located the graves of Rev. Walter A. Mitchell and his wife, Susan Thomas Mitchell, are buried in the cemetery of All Faith Episcopal Church, Mechanicsville, St. Mary’s County, Md.

And now, to the photographer, Palmer Lenfield Perkins. Like Rev. Mitchell, Perkins was of the Methodist Episcopal persuasion. Perkins was born in Beverly, Burlington Co., New Jersey. Originally he studied for the ministry at Prnceton University, but left without taking a degree. In 1850, he opened a daguerreotype gallery at North and Baltimore and pursued the photography business at various locations on Baltimore Street until his retirement sometime between 1880 and 1890.

After his death, his son, Harry Lenfield Perkins, carried on the business into the early 1900s.

Perkins had, as the Sun put it, “at an early age, manifested a fondness for military organization.” “Colonel” Perkins, as he styled himself, helped organize the Fourth Regiment of the Maryland National Guard, one of the two regiments that participated in the infamous acts of violence against striking B & O railroad workers in 1877.

Perkins ran unsuccessfully  for Congress as a Prohibition Party candidate in 1890.

He was an active member of Ascension M. E. Church in Baltimore. You can see the church as it appeared in the early 1870s in a Chase stereoview .

Sailor from the USS Matchless, Hebbel Studio

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This cabinet card photograph portrait of a sailor from the USS Matchless was taken at the Julius Hebbel Studio at 409 and 411 North Gay Street, Baltimore, ca. 1890-1900.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Matchless was a schooner assigned to the US Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1885-1919. Built in 1859 at Key West, Florida, the Matchless was refitted in 1895.

NOAA has documented the Matchless’  role in several emergencies on land and sea.

Given when it was built, the schooner was probably active in the Union Navy during the Civil War. I’ve found one scholarly reference to the Matchless‘ role in the Union occupation of Ft. Myers, Florida in 1864 (Solomon, “Southern Extremities: The Significance of Ft. Myers in the Civil War,” The Florida Historical Quarterly, 72:2, Oct 1993, 129-152). If you know more about this ship’s history, leave us a comment.

Like many Hebbel portraits, this photograph makes use of one of the studio’s elaborate wickerwork chairs. The mount’s serrated edges and relatively elaborate advertising on the reverse are typical of the 1890s.

Although difficult to discern in this digital image, the photograph has been subjected to the “cameo” process, in which a press was employed to create a raised oval surface.  A number of specialized cameo presses with interchangeable dies were marketed to photographers from 1868 on (Darrah, Cartes de Visite in Nineteenth Century Photography, 190). The surface has also been varnished to create a highly smooth and polished effect.

About a Boot

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This carte de visite photograph of a single boot was taken at the studio of William Foss Shorey. Shorey’s studio is known to have been  located at 105 W. Baltimore Street during the late 1860s.

Why a boot? The most likely explanation is that a boot-maker wished to advertise the quality of his wares.

This boot resembles the “Enlisted Men’s Boot” now handcrafted by Robert Land Footwear for the Civil War reenactment market.

I have not been able to make sense of the faint lettering at the bottom front and on the reverse.

“Very truly yours Wm. E. Loane”

This simple, bust vignette cabinet card portrait of a handsome, clear-eyed young man  was taken at the studio of Norval H. Busey (1845-1928), Charles and Fayette streets.

After I acquired this photograph, labeled “Very truly yours, Wm. E. Loane, 9.29.82,” I attempted to trace the sitter.

I found a William E. Loane, born about 1858 , son of builder Harry E. Loane, living in Baltimore in 1880.  I traced the family back to 1860 Baltimore.

So far, not unusual. Things got interesting when I spotted a W. E. Loane in the 1885 census of Colorado, born about 1858 in Baltimore, listed as a miner in Clear Creek County.

William E. Loane turned up again as one of the nine victims of the Anna Lee mine cave-in that occurred near Cripple Creek, Colorado, on 4 January 1896.

According to the account I found transcribed on the web, Loane had recently been hired by the Portland Company to be mine foreman. He was said to have been a well-known resident of Aspen, about 150 miles northwest of Cripple Creek, and to have been married, but the name of his wife is not mentioned. Clear Creek County’s Marriage License Index, however, contains a record of a license issued in 1886 for the marriage of William E. Loane, aged 28 to Ida F. Blinn, aged 30.

Loane’s body was recovered and he was buried at Fairmont Cemetery in Denver on 14 January 1896.  A photograph of his grave is posted on

The Denver Public Library has many photos of Colorado mining, including this  ca. 1895 photograph of Battle Mountain, outside Cripple Creek, where the Anna Lee mine was located, and an excellent map showing locations of all the mines in the Cripple Creek district.