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Baltimore’s American Brewery Building

Baltimore’s American Brewery Building today. Photo by Jake Slagle. 

I recall visiting Baltimore for the first time as an adult when my sister moved into an apartment along the waterfront promenade. On morning walks, I would peek across the water at the still-operating Domino Sugar Refinery, a rare survivor in the post-industrial city and stark reminder of the differences between Baltimore and New York City (here in New York, our Domino Sugar Refinery is getting a total luxury overhaul). Baltimore has experienced some rough times, but sometimes economic hardship can be a great friend to historic preservation; buildings remain intact and standing until the time is ripe for investment and right new owner comes along. This is exactly what happened to my all-time favorite Baltimore building, the American Brewery (originally the Weissner Brewery) at 1701 North Gay Street, a towering presence in East Baltimore since 1887 and recently restored to critical acclaim as the headquarters of the nonprofit Humanim. Today, I’ve rounded up ten amazing photos of the American Brewery throughout history.
According to the Historic American Buildings Survey, the American Brewery was “built by brewmaster John Frederick Wiessner (1831-1897) to replace his older, smaller brewery of 1863 on the same site. The flamboyant brewhouse, the complex’s overwhelmingly distinctive feature and a NE Baltimore landmark, is one of the finest surviving American examples of the Teutonic Brewery style, fondly referred to locally as ‘Germanic Pagoda.’ It has stained glass windows, three incredible towers, and an altogether commanding silhouette.”
The Teutonic Brewery style! Obviously.


1973. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. 


Courtesy of Peared Creation. 


2007. Photo by Scott Speck. 


2013. Photo by AFSC South Region. 


Circa 1968. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. 


1973. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. 


Old building graffiti! Photo by Nether Street Art. 


Source and date unknown. Via Pinterest. 


1973. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. 


The American Brewery today. Photo by Preservation Nation. 



Elizabeth is the founder of CIRCA and a practicing writer, architectural historian and preservation consultant living in Brooklyn, NY. Elizabeth has loved historic houses for as long as she can remember, having grown up in an 1850’s Greek Revival gem that was lovingly restored by her parents. Elizabeth, her husband Ethan and their beagle Banjo remain on a relentless hunt for their perfect “Thanksgiving house.”


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