On the evening of December 10, 1903, The Hotel Belvedere made its formal debut. And what a debut it was. The next day, The Baltimore Sun reported: “The revolving doors on Chase Street were never still…All of the season’s debutantes were there.” Half a century later, a reporter present at the Belvedere any night in the social season could have written the same thing. The Belvedere was conceived to be patrician and has remained in that tradition.
The Belvedere takes its name from “Belvidere,” the estate of John Eager Howard, Maryland’s renowned Revolutionary War hero. In 1870, the original estate was broken up for an extension of Calvert Street and divided and subdivided until the partnership of Perin, Harvey and Brown purchased the parcel of land located at Charles and Chase and still known as “Belvidere.”
The partners retained the architectural firm of Parker and Thomas of Baltimore and Boston, and the construction firm of W. W. and E. A. Wells of Chicago. Parker and Thomas had designed the Homewood campus of The Johns Hopkins University some 30 years earlier.
When it was completed, the Belvedere, according to early accounts was considered “something of a sensation for Baltimore.” Over the years, it has figured prominently in Baltimore’s social, political and economic life. In 1911, Woodrow Wilson, once a professor at the Johns Hopkins University, stayed at the Belvedere while attending the Democratic National Convention in Baltimore. That convention nominated him for President.
Other American Presidents (Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Harding, Hoover, Kennedy) stayed at the Belvedere, as did the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Queen Marie of Rumania, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral Dewey and many famous people. “They would have it no other way,” a newspaper columnist once noted.
Today, the Belvedere, still as elegant as ever, is in a new role as Baltimore’s premier in-town living, shopping and entertainment center. By virtue of physical structure, location and history, it’s a role the Belvedere is superbly equipped to fill.
It takes just six words to invite you to the best that in-town living has to offer: “We’ll meet you at the Belvedere.”