WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-Md.) today announced that they have reintroduced legislation intended to spur the preservation of Baltimore’s historic President Street Station by exploring the prospect of transferring it to the National Park Service (NPS).
An architectural gem, the President Street Station was completed in 1850 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. It was built by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad and its arch-rib design is one of the earliest and last surviving examples of the “Howe Truss,” a relatively rare building style that was originally remarkable because it blended wood and iron elements in a new configuration. The station currently is home to the Baltimore Civil War Museum, which explores the connection of the station and the city to the Civil War and Underground Railroad.
“The President Street Station is an American treasure, and as a Marylander I want to ensure its continued existence for future generations,” said Senator Cardin. “Volunteers have worked tremendously hard to keep the station’s history alive, but the resources of the National Park Service would better preserve this historic icon. It’s time to move forward with the feasibility study so we can make sure the President Street Station is here for future generations.”
“Tomorrow’s Marylanders deserve to have the President Street Station preserved,” Senator Mikulski said. “Our state has a proud wartime history and this feasibility study is the first step to ensure that children and families can continue to experience this Maryland treasure.”
The President Street Station served as a backdrop to what many historians claim was the first bloodshed of the Civil War. Shortly after the Civil War broke out at Fort Sumter, Union volunteers were attacked by a mob of secessionist and Confederate sympathizers.
President Street Station also served as a major stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves traveling north.
Architecturally significant, the Howe Truss grew in popularity in the late 19th century because it retained its strength over long distances, making it a popular style of design for railroad bridges and other industrial applications.
The President Street Station Study Act, S. 521, would authorize a U.S. Department of the Interior study to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of establishing President Street Station as a unit of the National Park Service (NPS).