No. 11 West Mount Vernon Place was built by Samuel George on land which belonged originally to John Eager Howard.
John Work Garrett, President of the B&O Railroad during the Civil War, bought No. 11 and gave to his son, Robert, probably as a wedding present.
Robert succeeded his father as president. That same year his wife (the former Mary Frick) decided to enlarge and remodel No. 11. Stanford White was the architect engaged to redesign No.11 and No. 9, the house next door, purchased by the Garretts. The interior of both houses was removed, and the present entrance hall and stairway were created by sacrificing the floor of the upstairs bedroom. The stairwell was capped by a Tiffany glass dome. From the remaining space on the first floor, the “Red Room”, drawing room and ballroom were formed, each with its own fireplace. The family dining room was redecorated, but its location was not changed. The exterior of the house is rose-colored sandstone New York “brownstone” in the Italian Renaissance manner.
Robert Garrett died.
Mrs. Garrett married Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs. Soon thereafter, Mrs. Jacobs bought No. 7 and engaged John Russell Pope to design the library, Caen stone hall, stairway, theatre, and supper room below. The total cost of the 40-room mansion cost a reported $1.5 million.
Stables at rear razed and art gallery built; encircled space made into an elegant conservatory.
No. 13 purchased and rear demolished to provide light and air for Tiffany glass windows on stairway, for storage pantries, and to add a beautiful garden. (Sold to Miss Estelle Dennis in 1966.) Mrs. Jacobs also owned Uplands, the estate on a part of which Edmondson Village is now built. In addition, she owned Whiteholme at Newport, R.I. and spent much time traveling in Europe.
Mrs. Jacobs died, and No. 11 was willed to Dr. Jacobs for life.
Dr. Jacobs died.
Mansion and contents sold at public auction. William Cook bought the house for use as a funeral parlor but zoning laws prevented this.
Boumi Temple bought building from Mr. Cook and made many alterations.
Boumi Temple sold building to the city for Walters Art Gallery project which did not materialize.
City leased the vacant Mansion to the Engineers Club (Founded 1905).
City sold Mansion to the Club, renamed The Engineering Society of Baltimore, Inc. for $155,000. Since then the organization and its members have spent several million dollars to renovate and maintain the property.
Baltimore Heritage, Inc. commends the Society for its “careful restoration of an important landmark.”
The Society for the Preservation of Maryland Antiquities presents an award for adaptive restoration.
The Garrett-Jacobs Mansion Endowment Fund, a charitable 501 (c)(3) community organization, is established to assist in restoration efforts.
The Endowment Fund commissioned Kahn and Associates to created the Historic Structures Report and a Master Plan for the Mansion’s restoration.
The Heritage Campaign is initiated to raise funds to restore the Great Façade of the Mansion, The work is completed in 1998 at a cost of $600,000. An exterior easement is granted to the Maryland Historical Trust to protect the building and to gain access to funds from the Trust.
The kitchen located adjacent to the Dining Room is abandoned and a new kitchen is constructed as a “room within a room” in the Small Gallery at a cost of $700,000. Club leaders approved this plan as the financial health of the Club was dependent on revenues from the food and beverage operation requiring an efficient kitchen that might be relocated at a later date should the Small Gallery be restored.
The Mansion celebrates its 150th anniversary and the Endowment Fund launches a new capital campaign to fund projects included in the Master Plan.
The Master Plan is reviewed and updated to include the covering of the Courtyard allowing year-around use, expanded capacity for functions and to allow events to continue as other rooms are closed for renovation and restoration. The Club exercises its purchase option for #13 West Mount Vernon Place and subdivides the property.
The Master Plan is divided into phases. A time line and budget are established for the next 10 years. Discussions for an interior easement with the Maryland Historical Trust are opened. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company is hired to complete the first phase of the Master Plan which includes enclosing and renovating the Courtyard, the addition of temporary emergency egress and fire suppression in the basement, interior alley and Courtyard. The Endowment Fund is awarded a $50,000 matching grant from MHT for structural improvements to the main roof structure. The Capital Campaign receives $1.2 million in pledges from individuals, corporations and foundations.
The first phase of the Master Plan is completed consisting primarily of the Courtyard Project at a cost of $3.1 million. A celebration party with ribbon cutting ceremony is held for all donors and workers on June 8, 2006. The Endowment Fund Trustees and the Engineers Club Board of Directors pass identical resolutions granting an interior easement to the Maryland Historical Trust. The formal application process continues through the end of the year. The Endowment Fund also receives a $1.2 million Commercial Heritage Preservation Tax Credit from The State of Maryland that provides a 20% match for all qualifying work completed by June 2008.
The Drawing Room is the first room to receive historic restoration under the guidelines of the Master Plan with a completion date of June 1st. Johnson Berman Interior Design, SMG Architects and Thomas Moore Studios are contracted to restore the room to the grandeur of the early 1900’s when John Russell Pope modified the original Stanford White design. Intricate 22 carat gold gilding was hand applied over the course of two months once the multiple layers of paint were removed and several areas of decorative plaster were restored. The addition of new electric circuits, fire suppression, emergency lighting and the careful hand refinishing of the floor were accomplished to complete the work at a total cost of $415,000. Major funding for the project was provided by grants from the France-Merrick Foundation and the Constellation Energy Group Foundation. A complete furnishings plan was created but remains unfunded at this time.
The long-awaited easement between The Engineers Club and the State of Maryland Historic Trust was completed in February 2009. The Ballroom Restoration Project split into four phases is started with infrastructure updates and a redesign of the ceiling coffers to restore the original skylight theme with glass installed in the original frames and backlit by lighting where the color can be changed to enhance the mood of the space. Removal of the fin tube heating reveals glorious marble. Replacement of the worn fabric panels with fine damask cloth milled in France by the same business that provided Marie Antoinette her fabrics change the character of the room along with total refinishing and restoration of wood panels in addition to gold gilding and Dutch metal. The stage is restored and updated with velvet curtains and improved lighting and a historic pipe organ from Baltimore’s State Theatre is installed in keeping with the large player organ that Mrs. Garrett had in the space. The floor is refinished and repaired revealing an exquisite herringbone pattern and the doors leading to the Courtyard are restored to their original grandeur. Major funding for the project was provided by The Constellation Energy Foundation, The France-Merrick Foundation, The Gladding Foundation and The State of Maryland. The remaining restoration of the ceiling coffers and surrounds which is Phase four has been deferred.