Nobody Asked Me, But... No. 148;
Hotel History: Admiral Fell Inn (1770), Baltimore, Maryland*
By Stanley Turkel, CMHS
Fell's Point was founded in the early 1700s when the Fell Brothers arrived from Lancaster, England. Edward was a shopkeeper and his brother William was a shipbuilder. The old street names in Fell's Point are unchanged: Fell, Thames, Bond, Bank, Caroline, Fleet, Aliceanna, Wolfe, Lancaster, Shakespeare. They are still paved mostly with Belgian stone blocks and their narrow paths are edged by brick sidewalls.
The Admiral Fell Inn is four stories high, and therefore the only building in the Point that qualifies as a skyscraper. The Inn is a group of eight different brick buildings which date from the late 1700s. Before becoming an inn, the site was a ship chandlery, a vinegar factory, a YMCA, a boardinghouse for actors and a sailor's lodging house. The eighty guestrooms each have their own unique decor with wonderful views, many overlooking Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Some have canopy beds with balconies and Jacuzzi tubs.
The streets of Fell's Point contain hundreds of buildings built before the war of 1812 and many others before the Civil War. It was the first district in Maryland to be included on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the homes are narrow brick row houses two and a half stories tall. The gabled roofs are of slate and the narrow passageways between houses are called sallyports, allowing access from the street to the rear of the houses. Many tourists tour the famous Inner Harbor and then walk a few blocks to historic Fell's Point where they find a real neighborhood, restaurants, patisseries, bars and galleries.
Frommer's describes the Inn as follows:
Updated and expanded over the years, this charming inn sits just across Thames Street from the harbor in the heart of the Fell's Point Historic District. It spans eight buildings, built between 1790 and 1996, and blends Victorian and Federal-style architecture. Originally a boardinghouse for sailors, later a YMCA, and then a vinegar bottling plant, the inn now features an antiques-filled lobby and library, along with individually decorated guest rooms with Federal-period furnishings.
The Inn is a charter member of the Historic Hotels of America.
*excerpted from my book Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (AuthorHouse 2013)
About Stanley Turkel, CMHS
Stanley Turkel was designated as the 2014 and 2015 Historian of the Year by Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. This award is presented to an individual for making a unique contribution in the research and presentation of history and whose work has encouraged a wide discussion, greater understanding and enthusiasm for American History.
Stanley Turkel is one of the most widely-published authors in the hospitality field. Two of his hotel books have been promoted, distributed and sold by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (Great American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry and Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi). A third hotel book (Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York) was called "passionate and informative" by The New York Times. His fourth hotel book was described by The New York Times: "Nostalgia for the City's caravansaries will be kindled by Stanley Turkel's...fact-filled...Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf."
Built to Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi is available for purchase from the publisher by visiting bookstore.authorhouse.com.