Designed and built by George Frederick in 1870, the Moorish Tower remains an impressive sight for anyone visiting Druid Hill Park or driving on the Jones Falls Expressway. The structure stands over thirty feet tall with eighteen-inch wide solid marble walls. Inside, early visitors found a spiral iron staircase leading to an observation deck with an astonishing view of Jones Falls valley and the city beyond.
For decades, cyclists, pedestrians, and carriage riders enjoyed the tower as a place to rest and look out over the city. In 1910, visitors crowded into the tower, lined the walkway and covered the hillside to watch the dedication of the Union Soldiers and Sailors memorial. Later that same year, picnickers and families traveled to the Moorish Tower searching for the best vantage point to view an airship as it flew over Baltimore.
As time went on and the tower began to deteriorate, the Park commissioners debated dismantling the structure. Not only was the tower considered to be “in the way,” but the rusted iron staircase and crumbling walls were viewed as a safety hazard for those visitors hoping to still use it as an observation deck. Fortunately, the high cost of demolition and enduring affection for a local landmark encouraged the preservation of the Moorish Tower.
The city removed the rusted staircase, sealed off the entrance, and reinforced loose blocks and the base of the tower. The renewal of this iconic landmark has helped to encourage a broader revitalization of Druid Hill Park supported by residents, park advocates, and Baltimore City.