With thick buttresses, parapets, a crenelated roof-line, and a steel roof, the enormous 5th Regiment Armory has served as an imposing landmark between Bolton Hill and Mount Vernon since 1901. The building was designed by architects Wyatt and Nolting (who also designed the Pikesville Armory and Liriodendron Mansion in Bel Air among other notable buildings). In 1912, conventioneers to the Democratic National Convention packed the huge drill hall to nominate soon-to-be president Woodrow Wilson. Unfortunately, in 1933, a severe fire destroyed the roof and gutted the interior but the state soon rebuilt the structure and has continued to use the building up through the present.
In addition to its role in training the Maryland National Guard, the armory has housed a military museum since 1982. The Maryland Museum of Military History contains artifacts and stories from not just the state’s National Guard, but from all Marylanders who served in the military. Over the last several years, the museum has opened new exhibits focusing on military history of today and yesterday. One of the new exhibits features the armed services from the 1991 Persian Gulf War to the present while another dives into the role of Marylanders in the War of 1812.