Before there was Kevin Plank and Under Armour, there was Captain Isaac Emerson and Bromo-Seltzer.
The heartburn remedy that Emerson invented was the product of the day in Baltimore, the way sweat-wicking Under Armour sportswear is now. And Emerson (1859 to 1931) changed the city landscape with the construction of the Bromo-Seltzer tower and factory on Eutaw Street, the Emerson Hotel at Calvert and Baltimore streets, and the Emersonian apartments in Reservoir Hill. He was the Kevin Plank of his day.
Now another important piece of Emerson’s empire has come on the market:
The Emerson Mansion at 2500 Eutaw Place, the inventor’s home from 1895 to 1911, will be sold at auction next month by A. J. Billig & Co. Auctioneers and One House at a Time Receiver’s Auctions.
Emerson commissioned the house on Eutaw Place after he made his fortune with Bromo-Seltzer, and he was the original resident. The brick structure rises three stories above a basement, occupies one-third of an acre and contains 15,600 square feet of space. It has a prominent turret, a covered front porch, large bow windows, dormers, and decorative window arches.
The Queen Anne Revival-style house, now vacant, has fallen into disrepair in recent years and needs a complete renovation. To call it a “fixer-upper” would be putting it mildly. But it still retains a sense of grandeur, and some of its architectural features are intact.
Located in a city historic district, the mansion has had a number of lives since Emerson moved out. It has housed offices for a government agency and a private social club. It has been the residence of James Crockett, a real estate broker and former member of the city’s preservation commission. It is currently configured for office use. According to the auctioneers, “the building is suitable to be developed for an array of uses, including educational, non-profit, business and residential.”
The sale will be held at 11 a.m. on June 9 at the Radisson Hotel in the Village of Cross Keys, 5100 Falls Road. The house will be sold to the highest bidder over $10,000, but it can’t be torn down without city approval. Local preservationists are optimistic. According to Baltimore Heritage, the sale represents “an exciting opportunity for a new owner to step in and save this important Reservoir Hill landmark.”
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