DescriptionPine Street Station, the handsome, slate-roofed High Victorian Gothic building was built between 1877 and 1878 and designed by architect Francis E. Davis. The red brick structure, which is trimmed with painted bluestone lintels and adorned with ornate pressed metal roof finials and hip ridges, served as a court and jail for the area west of Lexington Market from 1878 to 1951. Originally built to protect the area's growing number of banks and police the often raucous blocks of theaters and taverns around Lexington Market, the station underwent a major transformation in the mid-twentieth century.
In 1952, the station became Baltimore's Bureau of Aid and Prevention and was officially renamed "Pine Street Station," a name that city residents had already used for years. During its tenure as the Bureau of Aid and Prevention (BAP), the increasingly run-down brick building served as a refuge for homeless women and orphan children and housed a police boys club. Though Pine Street it made a safe haven for the city's disenfranchised while operating as the BAP and, according to an article in the Afro-American, the cells were tidied up and painted gray and peach to better suit its new residents, the Baltimore Sun later criticized the station for its practice of locking young people up with hardened female criminals and for a staff that did not have adequate training to work with children.
Though all manner of prisoners landed in Pine Street over the years, the tumult of civil rights activism in the 1950s and 1960s brought a new sort of inmate to the station: local female college students. Continuing its tradition of serving as a women's jail, city police often brought young women from Morgan State, Goucher College, and Johns Hopkins University to Pine Street after mass arrests during the 1950s and 60s civil rights demonstrations in Baltimore. Pine Street Station shut its doors in 1971 and sat vacant for twenty years while a planned extension of I-70 threatened the structure with demolition. Local preservation groups saved the building thanks to efforts of that halted the highway at Leakin Park just outside of the city. In 1991, the University of Maryland acquired the building from Baltimore City and it currently houses the university's security department.