Quoted in its entirety from the Baltimore City website:
Historical & Architectural Preservation / Historic Districts / Maps of Historic Districts / Union Square
Baltimore City Historic District Ordinance 821 6/2/70; 580 11/17/77
Certified Historic District for Tax Incentives 6/9/80
National Register of Historic Places 9/15/83
Map showing official boundaries of
Union Square Historic District
The Union Square Historic District is a dense area of rowhouses and commercial structures located approximately ten blocks west of the Inner Harbor. Bounded by Schroeder, Pratt, Fulton, and Baltimore Streets, the area is built on a grid street system which conforms to the original 1818 layout of the area. The terrain gently slopes down from west to east. There are two major features in the district. Union Square Park, a speculative park and housing development of the 1840s, lies in the west; it is a block size park containing an ornate fountain and a Greek Revival Pavilion. In the east end lies Hollins Market, an Italianate style market house, now the oldest one existing in its original style in the City. The remainder of the district developed after 1830 mainly as housing for workers in nearby industries.
These structures consist of low scale, two and three story brick vernacular dwellings while larger, high style rowhouses surround the park. Commercial structures were built around Hollins Market, along South Carrollton Street, and along West Baltimore Street (opened in 1807 as the Baltimore-Frederick Turnpike). After the residential construction ended in the 1880s, the commercial, as well as institutional, development continued and these later buildings exhibit the architectural styles of the early 20th century.
The Union Square Historic District is significant for its architecture and history, which reflect the development of urban America. The district is a community of well-preserved rowhouses used for both residential and commercial purposes and, as a result, it is a fine example of a nineteenth century neighborhood. The district also includes many significant individual structures which depict the evolution of American architecture through the early twentieth century.
The plan of the district, and its park, manifest the changing concepts of urban planning. The history and appearance of the district reveal the tremendous economic impact of early and mid 19th century industrialization resulting in expansion and the creation of new neighborhoods in Baltimore. Two simultaneous events-the advent of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Shop at Pratt and Poppleton Streets and a dramatic increase in foreign immigration in the 1830s- initiated construction in the district. Continued building booms and industrialization near the railroad maintained the physical growth.
During this period the Hollins Market was built (1838-1864) and the Donnell family developed the Union Square Park and the surrounding area as a speculative real estate venture (1845-c. 1880), one of the earliest of several such park projects in the City. While residential construction ended about 1880, commercial and institutional buildings were built along Baltimore Street (opened in 1887 as the Baltimore-Frederick Turnpike) and around the market until the first quarter of the twentieth century.