A survival from the 18th century, this house was built in the section of the city known as "Jonestown."
Designed and built in the 1790's in the Federal style, 9 North Front Street was once part of a neighborhood of merchants, artisans and "gentlemen." Among the occupants of the area in 1804 were soap boilers, a hatter, a coachmaker, the "captain of the watch," and the "physician of the Port." The second mayor of Baltimore (1804-1808), Thorowgood Smith lived in this house from 1802-1804.
Over the years the house has served as Gardner's Hotel, Seuss's Restaurant, and an auto parts shop. In 1971, the City of Baltimore acquired the house in conjunction with the development of the Shot Tower Park. Through the efforts of the Women's Civic League, the exterior of the house has been faithfully restored and the interior renovated to provide headquarters for the League.
Smith, the house's most significant occupant came to Baltimore before the Revolution, amassing a fortune as the owner of ships operating on the high seas. The French seizure of American shops in 1799 reversed Smith's fortunes, forcing him to declare bankruptcy and to sell Willow Brook, the stately mansion constructed for him near Union Square only a few months earlier. Willow Brooks distinctive oval room is now installed in the Baltimore Museum of Art.
(caption)Thorowgood Smith in the famous spectacles he invented "to avoid marring the bridge of his shapely nose."