|In 1839, James and Samuel Canby of Wilmington, Delaware, donated a two-and-one-half acre park to the city for $10,000. The city agreed to widen the surrounding streets and landscape this park, later named Franklin Square. It was common in the early and mid-19th century for real-estate developers to donate a block of land to the City for park use, and then build luxurious housing around the relaxing landscape created by the square. By the late 19th century, the elaborate residences surrounding Franklin Square housed prominent merchants, lawyers and doctors of the city, while the rowhouses built in the alleys around the area housed entirely black populations.Most of the rowhouses in the district epitomize traditional Baltimore rowhouse architecture, but the rowhouses fronting Franklin Square are setback 15 feet, and are further embellished with mansard roofs, front porticoes, or stuccoed facades, elements uncommon to the architectural heritage of Baltimore. The stone and cast iron work of these Franklin Square houses stand in contrast to the more common working class wooden row houses in the district, with their brick steps and lintels. The District includes St. Luke’s Church, built in the Gothic Revival style, and Saint Martin’s Church, which represents Romanesque design.
Franklin Square is bordered by US Rte. 40 (Mulberry St.) to the north and Union Square-Hollins Market Historic District to the south; Monroe Street and US Rte. 1 to the to west and Carrollton Ave. to the east.
Franklin Square Historic District
Photo by Shannon Bell, National Register of Historic Places