This post virtually guarantees that I will never be able to become a member of the Maryland Club, as does my gender, but here goes…
The Baltimore Architecture Foundation’s Groundhog Day party was held last night at The Maryland Club, despite the unexpected six inches of snow we got yesterday. We spend the day doing last minute things to get ready for the party including rolling a $995 chair carrying two Kohler faucets through the snow to the Club. The moment you enter The Maryland Club (MC), you are assaulted by whispers of old money, old traditions and a nearly extinct way of life, as well as nearly extinct animals.
The walls on the first floor of the MC are essentially papered with trophy animals, including a fully intact mountain goat. Now, I don’t want to hear from any PETA people, because I didn’t shoot these animals, I am just showing them. It is a but un-nerving to round a corner and see a nine-foot bear standing by the window! However, what is most incredible about this building is the sheer amount of workmanship that has gone into it. The building had a serious fire in 1996 and has been rebuilt and upgraded since that time. That it was rebuilt at all is a testimony to the membership and their traditions.
The main corridors are a series of enfiladed rooms, stretching the length of the building. Funnily enough, they are not symmetrical, but slightly off-center. We were greeted by a roaring fire last night, very welcome, as it was still snowing. The fireplace, and the moose above it, are both massive, and with my firebug tendencies, I longed to be able to poke at it with the huge iron tools next to it! The ceilings on the first two floors are about 14 feet, which makes for a massive grand space. The windows all have wood shutters, which both keep the cold air out and the sun from coming in. When I swung open one of the shutters, I could feel the bitter cold air! (It was 15F last night.)Each room has a large fireplace, many of them still in working condition. They are all faced in stone, most likely Maryland stone, and large wood mantelpieces.
There is a huge staircase, not a long and graceful one, but a solid masculine one. Following the staircase up to the third floor is an amazing detail – a huge stenciled and gold-leafed painting.
At the very top of the staircase, there are a number of significant flags, including the Maryland State flag, the Baltimore City flag and the club’s flag, amongst others. Behind them is a huge stained glass window with the state motto in Latin, translating as “manly deeds, womanly words”. The Governor’s Room, on the third floor of the Club was one of the most beautiful rooms. Although it didn’t have the grand proportions as other rooms, it was stunning. The ceilings were detailed with a quatrefoil pattern and there were lovely fireplaces at either end. There was a row of chandeliers down the center of the room, and at either end there were china cabinets behind leaded glass doors. While most of the other rooms had dark wood, in this room, all of the wood was painted a pale cream. It made the room more feminine.
Three of the rooms, all adjacent to each other, were the Hunting Room, the Maritime Room and the Duck Room. I loved the hunting room, as it referred to fox hunting, not the big game hunting. The Maritime Room had lots of pictures of ships and ship models, as well as the most incredible window-seat. The Duck Room had numerous duck-types mounted on the wall.
At the end of the evening, three of us snuck into one of the gentlemen’s rooms, and were stunned to find walls of the most beautiful Beaver Dam marble on the walls and stalls. Rumour has it that the MC puts ice cubes in the urinals. I did love the sinks in the Gent’s. Here are a few more details:
Foo Dog Lamp. Notice the buzzer behind the lamp? They were all over the MC, so members could call for a servant. The hallway leading from the Members’ Dining Room Detail of a ceiling lamp Detail from a book case Push-button light switches with mother of pearl insets.
This was a great evening for a great cause, and I was so glad to be included!