This small building sits squarely inside the area decimated by the Great Baltimore Fire and surprisingly survived. It was built in 1901 for Alex Brown and Sons: the oldest investment banking firm in the United States. Noted architecture firm Parker and Thomas designed the building.
Alex Brown and sons was founded in 1800 and stayed in independent operation for almost 200 years. In 1997, it was acquired by Bankers Trust and was ultimately integrated into Deutsche Bank.
The Alex Brown and Sons Building owes its survival of the Great Fire to its small size. As sparks and embers flew through the air igniting buildings all around it, a thermal updraft acted as a sort of fan keeping the flying flames from landing on the building’s roof. The heat of the fire was so intense that it caused the brownstone to crack apart near the front door. After the fire, the Alex Brown and Sons firm choose not to replace the cracked stone as a reminder to what almost happened. The building was renovated in 1996 and reopened as a bank. Inside visitors can see the refurbished glass dome thought to be the work of Gustave Baumstark.