The B&O Roundhouse opened in 1884 and is often was regarded as the birthplace of American railroading. The 1884 Baldwin Roundhouse was designed by E. Francis Baldwin and is called “Baldwin’s Cathedral.” It’s been an icon for more than 136 years.
The building has been in continual use for more than 130 years. It opened as a museum in 1953.
It’s considered an iconic feature of the Baltimore skyline and hosts educational programs for schools and welcomes visitors from around the world.
There are three stories of windows and a lantern on top that allow the maximum amount of natural light to illuminate the building and provide efficient airflow. Sometimes, the dome is bathed in purple light for the Ravens, blue for health care workers or other colors as part of a special event.
When it opened, it was the largest circular structure of its time. The building’s footprint is more than an acre and boasts a 125-foot dome ceiling. The roundtable continues to be used as part of the museum.
During a record-setting snowfall on President’s Day in 2003, the roundhouse’s roof collapsed, damaging some of the most historic locomotives and rolling stock in the museum’s collection. The museum reopened to the public in November 2004.
Because of the building’s unique size, space and pre-airconditioning design that utilizes natural ventilation, it was one of the first museums in Baltimore to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum also hosted a farmer’s market in the fall of 2020 and will restart it once again in May.