Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Federal Hill Neighborhood, Baltimore A Historical and Urban Friendly District

By Hanan Rawashdeh

Federal hill Neighborhood Lies in the south of Baltimore city’s central business district, Maryland, being the highest point in the district from its manmade hill. The neighborhood itself is multi diverse in its urban context with the old fashioned brick row houses that date from the mid-to-late-19th century and historical Cross street market place, historical churches, Public entertainment spaces like the Maryland Science center, American Visionary Art Museum and its diversely authentic restaurants.
            The hill was historically used for pigment mining operation which overlooks the city’s famous inner harbor making it an attraction and an ideal place to enjoy the Baltimore’s skyline. It was named in 1789 after serving as the location for the end of a parade and a following civic celebration of the ratification of the new "Federal" constitution of the United States of America. The manmade hill with several underground tunnels was also known as a signal hill as it was used commercially; to serve as an observatory for shipments and merchant and signal any arrivals to the businessmen of Baltimore. Today the hill serves as a public park which is the oldest in Baltimore.
            The 70 acre neighborhood is easily accessible from every direction. Located conveniently East the Baltimore Light Rail Track and Interstate 395. The highway 2, Light street also crosses the neighborhood’s district. The neighborhood also accommodates many parking spaces for any visitor and is served by two of the four routes the Charm City Circulator, which is a free bus system offers. The Purple Route which runs from Penn Station to Federal Hill, and the Banner Route which runs from the Inner Harbor to Fort McHenry, service Federal Hill.
            The mix of historical, residential, business retailing and public entertainment with very good transportation makes the neighborhood an ideal study for small town urban designing. The Architectural style of the neighborhood is categorized as the federal-style architecture, which is the classification of North American architecture that go back between the year 1780 to 1815. The Federal style, also known as the Adam style, after the Adam brothers, British architects who developed this style in England is evident in Federal hill neighborhood’s brick row houses which correspond to the European architecture; the Biedermeier style in the German-speaking lands and the Regency style in Britain. The row houses are of two or three stories in height, and approximately 15 feet in width. With clear symmetry, classical details and a side gabled roof of the row houses the elevation details are delicate, slender and finely drawn. Also, more formal elements were introduced in the Federal style, such as the front door fanlight window, sometimes with flanking sidelights, and more elaborate door surrounds and porticos.
            Federal Hill neighborhood today has spurred considerable public and private investment taking part in the growth with the surrounding areas with over $51 million in public investments, and over $430 million in private investments, including residential, retail and office space projects, creating a pedestrian friendly neighborhood full with easily reachable retail stores and public entertainment for all users.

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