The Hebrew Orphan Asylum, dedicated in 1876, is closely associated with the Jewish history of Baltimore and is a rare example of a 19th century purpose-built orphanage designed by master architects Edward Lupus and Henry Roby. When the institution transitioned from an orphanage to the West Baltimore General Hospital in 1923, it took on a new association with the broader growth of West Baltimore through its many services that provided care to thousands of residents. In 1989, the building was vacated when the Lutheran Hospital of Maryland closed.
After 30 years of dormancy, the former Hebrew Orphan Asylum was transformed into The Center for Health Care and Healthy Living. It is the new permanent home of the Maryland Crisis Stabilization Center, a place for people to receive short-term medical attention and sobering services for those addicted to drugs or alcohol. The space has also been used as a COVID-19 call tracing center.
Reconstructing a building that is over 140 years old had numerous challenges. The wood frame structure had failed, and the main roof had collapsed, requiring complete stabilization and reconstruction. Bricks from collapsed walls were carefully salvaged and used to rebuild. Of the 127 windows, 75% of the frames and moldings were restored and the remainder were reconstructed from photographs. The missing central monumental staircase and octagonal skylight were researched and redesigned as a contemporary design with historic overtones. Today, this unique building is once again ready to serve the community not only as a healthcare center, but as a marvel of preservation.
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