20 May Who Wants to Buy the Brewer’s Mansion?

The sale price of Baltimore’s Bauerschmidt mansion has been reduced to a paltry $590K. One of Baltimore city’s grand town houses, it went on the market for $1.2 million last year. It’s 10,000 square feet of gorgeous Victorian built in about 1880 for the man who was one of Baltimore’s most prosperous brewers (back when the city had about 100 breweries and plenty of Germans to promote them). So some call it the Brewer’s mansion. Sad thing is, nobody wants to live where the Brew-meister’s mansion now stands. This is the dilemma of American architecture, exemplified more notably by other rustbelt cities like Detroit and Cleveland. The once-grand neighborhoods are not so grand any more.

When we travel, Jill and I make a point of visiting those neighborhoods and gawking at what’s left of the once-grand. The Brewer’s Mansion is exceptional in that it has never been altered, never cut up into apartments or messed with in any way. It even has the original call box for the servants (wired to 30 rooms). The property includes a carriage house, a lovely porte cochere, two rear porches, and a brick wall around the back yard. We could trade our house for this one easily enough but we’d also trade away Charles Village, the hip, diverse neighborhood we live in. In exchange, we’d take on a crime-beleaguered, drug-riddled neighborhood and become prisoners in our own house. You’ve heard stories like that, I’m sure. Actually, this may be an unfair characterization of a neighborhood that has many other grand houses occupied by intrepid urban rehabbers. In any case, it pains us to think about what might become of this mansion, but we’re not brave enough or crazy enough to go for it. Maybe you know somebody who is.