While walking a popular shoreline in Baltimore Maryland located near Frances Scott Key Bridge, I walked upon a sad site. First thought, very interesting find and something for the shelf at home but after digging into the internet, I thought how sad for a company rich in Baltimore history & New York to have their stamped company stone laying on a shoreline surrounded by everyday trash and not the cleanest bay water. I intend on cleaning this brick up and trying to locate an heir to the family to see if there is any interest in the brick.
This find is hours old so the information I have is very limited but take a look. I’m hoping this will reach the eyes on someone that may have more information and a possible connection. If not, the brick will rest on a shelf in my office at home.
Baltimore is the great center of the brick-making industry in Maryland, and in and around the city there are many common-brick plants using the deposits of Arundel and Columbia clays.
As the growth of the city has progressed, the yards in many instances have been moved further out. In the last fifty years there has been comparatively little change in the common-brick industry around Baltimore, but in July, 1899, a company, known as the Baltimore Brick Company, was organized, which bought up most of the yards in Baltimore and its vicinity.
The Baltimore Brick Co. was long a familiar sight with its beehive-shaped kilns along East Monument Street. From the late 1890s until 1968, the ovens registered a torrid 1,980 degrees seven days a week. At one time, the firm had dozens of mules to haul the finished product to construction sites.
Today, the same firm, though owned by the Australian giant Boral Bricks, still fires its wares impressed with the Homewood name in Rocky Ridge, outside Thurmont in Frederick County.
The Homewood name has been going on the brick for the last 75 years. It takes its name from Homewood House, the residence of the son of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. The house is preserved on the Johns Hopkins campus, in the 3400 block of N. Charles St.
That’s it for now. Pretty interesting find for not swinging a metal detector on this beautiful Saturday afternoon.
I love your write-up and your great find. I just had lunch with a cousin of mine because I knew he had a few of the bricks and I wanted one for my brother’s 50th birthday. As I understand it, Baltimore Brick Company was owned by my great-grandfather, William Wise. There is a restaurant down in Key West called Blue Heaven that is full of the bricks because of two reasons – first, they were used in the ‘hold’ of ships for ballast, and also, Ernest Hemingway was a fan of the bricks and took a number of them down to the Keys when he built his house. Apparently, when Baltimore found out the bricks had been taken, he was charged ten cents a piece. Many of the bricks can still be seen on Hemingway’s property in Key West.
Thanks for sharing your story! Kathy Little
Kathy, I found your write up very interesting. Many years ago my husband and I found a couple of the Homewood brick molds at a flea market. As we live in Baltimore, we were attracted to them and bought them. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to send you a photograph. I was going to put them on ebay, but I’d much rather see them go to someone who has a connection to the company!
While walking in Smithfield, VA along the cobbled brick sidewalks, I noticed the bricks were imprinted with “Baltimore Block” as above and still legible in many instances. This is why I looked up the history. Thanks for your post.
These bricks are all over Key West. Apparently the Navy used them as ship ballast and upon unloading them in Key West, the city used them for assorted projects including sidewalks and roads for the “auto mobiles” that were gaining in popularity.
As the popularity of the island’s best known inhabitant grew, tourists began to frequent his house hoping to catch a glimpse. In order to protect his privacy, he purchased some 20,000 of these “Baltimore Bricks” from the city of Key West for $0.01 each. With the help of an assistant, Ernest Hemingway built a brick wall around his residence. By the looks of it, Mr. Hemingway was not a mason by any definition, and to complicate this shortcoming, it appears as if he undertook this project after one of his afternoon visits to Sloppy Joe’s Bar.
More here: https://jewishmuseummd.org/building-community-brick-by-baltimore-brick/
Great information. I love history and diving into the mystery of found artifacts.
Thank you very much.