Built between 1904 and 1905, this Renaissance Revival building was once the commercial hub of Baltimore's grain trade. Standing five-stories tall and extending the length of a city block, the building was home to the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce, the descendant organization of the Baltimore Corn and Flour Exchange that was established in 1853.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Baltimore was the nation's leading exporter of flour and cereal grains. Until the 1850s, Baltimore's grain trading took place in merchants' offices or at Bowley's Wharf at the Inner Harbor. In February 1853, Baltimore's grain merchants organized the Baltimore Corn and Flour Exchange.
The exchange opened their first headquarters and trading hall at this site in 1882. The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 greatly decimated the building, and the grain merchants (since 1894 called the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce) decided to rebuild on the same site.
Noted Baltimore architect Charles E. Cassell designed the second chamber of commerce building that stands here today. Masonry vaults and the original building's foundations were reused for the new structure. Grain trading occurred on the upper floors in a great hall. The lower floors contained offices for grain traders and exporters.
The municipal grain exchange declined
over the 1900s as technology and regulations made person-to-person trading unnecessary. The building continued to be used as office space, and later served as a college building.
In 2016 and 2017, the building went through a major rehabilitation and was converted into an extended-stay hotel while retaining major interior features. The exterior of the building was repaired. The interior of the first floor was restored to its original condition, boasting mosaic tile floors and solid copper and brass mail chutes. The original bird-cage elevator cabs have been restored and the mechanism of one of the few functioning hydraulic elevators (circa 1906) has been protected and is on display in the basement.
National Register of Historic Places (Listed 1983)
Baltimore City Landmark (Designated 1986)
Baltimore National Heritage Area
Illustration of the first Chamber of Commerce Building that stood at the corner of Holliday and Second streets from 1882 to 1904.
C.H. Everts, Publisher