House of Welsh demolished on December 3

Quick post on the demolition of the House of Welsh, more recently known as Club One. This set of three 1830s rowhouses, covered in formstone and isolated at the corner of a large surface parking lot, was demolished on December 3

Baltimore Skyline has a summary of a 1998 Baltimore Sun feature on the history of the building and a good set of photos from the demolition.

Dan Rodricks dedicated his December 5 column to the building’s history and its role in fighting the 1904 fire– In rubble of tavern turned club, a remembrance.

Over the weekend, a demolition crew turned One, a chic night club for most of the last decade, into a pile of brick, broken cinderblock and sand. If you’re of a certain age and missed One’s run as a nightclub, you will know this location, at Guilford Avenue and Saratoga Street, as House of Welsh Corner. Instead of big dance floors and theatrically-lighted bars stocked with Dom Perignon, you’ll think of a classic Baltimore tavern that served sizzling steaks on metal plates and Maryland whiskey at a bar without stools.

If you’re of a certain age, or paid attention to local history, you might also appreciate a story associated with this tough, old corner of the city. It was the location of what I’d call “communications heroics” from the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, and you might even join with me in suggesting that the next developer of this real estate, along with the Communications Workers of America, put up a small plaque so that those heroics might be remembered.

Three rowhouses, built in the 1830s, made up the House of Welsh. It opened around 1900 and, by the time it closed nearly a century later, it was said to have the city’s oldest liquor license. In his obituary for the tavern in 1998, my Sun colleague Jacques Kelly wrote that the House of Welsh sat “out the back door of City Hall and attracted politicians, lobbyists, bookmakers, lawyers, policemen, judges and reporters who wanted plain, tasty food served in an unhurried manner.” I once saw a home movie of the elevated train tracks that carried street cars over Guilford Avenue, between Biddle Street and House of Welsh Corner, until 1950. The bar was males-only and whites-only until the 1960s.

It’s what happened in 1904 that gets the plaque.

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