“This handsome, spacious edifice, adjoining Franklin Square, recently completed through the exertions of our charitable citizens, being in readiness for the reception of the deserving class for whom it is intended, was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies this morning between the hours of 11 and 12 o’clock.” – “The Aged Women’s Home,” Republican Daily Argus, October 28, 1851
By 1851, Mary Pickersgill had served for twenty-three years as president of the Impartial Female Humane Society, successfully growing the organization into one of Baltimore’s largest charities.
Opened at Lexington Street and Franklin Square, the Aged Women’s Home was the product of the hard work and dedication of the Lady Managers of the Impartial Female Humane Society to educating and caring for Baltimore’s impoverished and widowed women citizens. The Aged Women’s Home was the first building erected at Franklin Square, and to its five new residents, the location would have seemed like an escape to the countryside. Designed by architect Thomas Dixon, in the Gothic Tudor style and constructed at the cost of $17,206.62, the grandness of the building was thought to inspire and uplift the residents out of poverty. The Home had all the comforts that could be offered in 1851, a modern kitchen, infirmary, and each resident had her own chamber on the second floor and opened to a view of the entrance hall, a rocking chair was placed outside each door. Strict rules for admission required residents to be at least 60 years old with no husband or children, two responsible persons to approach for the applicant’s character, a $100 admission fee, and could provide for herself a “good” dress for summer and one for winter. Following the addition of a men’s facility in 1865, the Aged Women and Men’s Homes stood at Lexington and Franklin square until 1959 when the residents were moved to Towson. The homes were renamed the Pickersgill Retirement Community in honor of Mary Pickersgill.
Images taken from
Pilling, Ron and Pat. Pickersgill Retirement Community: Two Centuries of Service to Baltimore 1802-2002. Towson, Maryland: Pickersgill Retirement Community, 2002.