Historic Structure Played Key Role in Civil War, Growth of Commerce
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) have introduced legislation to help ensure the future of Baltimore’s historic President Street Station by studying the possibility of transferring it to the National Park Service. Located on President Street in downtown Baltimore, the President Street Station was completed in 1850 and is considered an architectural and historic gem.
The President Street Station played a crucial role in the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, and the growth of Baltimore’s railroad industry. The station was constructed by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad and its arch-rib design is one of the last survivors of what was known as the Howe Truss. It was placed on the National Register of Historic places in 1992 and currently serves as the Baltimore Civil War Museum, where volunteers educated visitors about the role Maryland and Baltimore played in the Civil War. Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, will also be in Baltimore this week to highlight the role the city and its railroads played in the Civil War by helping reenact Abraham Lincoln’s Historic Train Ride.
“The President Street Station is an American treasure, and as a Marylander I want to ensure its continued existence for future generations,” said Senator Cardin. “Volunteers have worked hard to keep the station’s history alive, but the resources of the National Park Service would help preserve this historic icon.”
“Tomorrow’s Marylanders deserve to have the President Street Station preserved,” Senator Mikulski said. “Our state has a proud wartime history and this feasibility study is the first step to ensure that children and families can continue to experience this Maryland treasure.”
The Station served as a backdrop to what many historians claim was the first bloodshed of the Civil War. Shortly after the Civil War broke out at Fort Sumter, Union volunteers were attacked by a mob of secessionist and Confederate sympathizers. President Street Station also served as a major stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped slaves traveling north. The President Street Station Study Act, S. 377, would authorize a U.S. Department of Interior study to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of establishing President Street Station as a unit of the National Park Service (NPS).