A Substantial 19th Century Brick Building Anchors a Corner in Downtown Elkton

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One of the first occupants, the Masonic Lodge, is still there.

The old commercial district in Elkton has a number of architecturally interesting cultural resources, and one of those survivors of the passage of centuries is the Gilpin building.  This substantial three-story brick vernacular building was the subject of a recent inquiry as we were asked to investigate the historical record for this parcel. Here is some of what we developed.

By the middle of the 19th century, commercial expansion was spreading up North Street toward the railroad tracks. Due to the demand for additional business space, John Gilpin decided to erect the structure that still stands today at the southwest corner of North and High streets.  He had just received an appointment as postmaster and was preparing a permanent facility for the delivery, sorting and distribution of mail, as over the past 50 years the office had been in eleven locations.

Ground was broken in September 1887 and the work moved speedily along.  When it was completed early in 1888, it contained the postal facility and two lawyer’s offices on the first floor.  The Masonic Lodge, rented the entire third floor, and held its first meeting there in March of 1888.  Newspapers, at that time, reported that the 2nd floor was still available.

Soon the building also had a barber shop and that service continued throughout most of the building’s history.  In 1918 the county extension agent was located there.  Today, the Masonic Lodge still maintains its headquarters at this corner and other areas are used by a bank.

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