Otto Eugene Adams

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Otto Eugene Adams
Born (1889-11-01)November 1, 1889
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Died January 31, 1968(1968-01-31) (aged 78)
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Occupation Architect
Spouse(s) Marie Hagerty
  • Otto Eugene Adams Jr.
  • Henry J Adams
Buildings Baker Memorial Chapel

Otto Eugene Adams (Sr.) (November 1, 1889 – January 31, 1968), the architect, was born in Baltimore, MD, on November 1, 1889, to a family with Baltimore and German ancestry.[1]


Adams' father, Henry Adams, was an emigrant from Duisburg, (Prussia) Germany and a successful engineer who enjoyed considerable professional prominence due to his work with the District of Columbia government buildings, and his pioneering and organization of the ASHVE. At the time of Otto’s birth, Mr. Adams was achieving prominence as building system designer due to his work on the Corcoran and Flagg buildings in Washington, D.C. Despite his father's involvement in D.C. building, the Adams family remained in Baltimore throughout Otto's childhood. His mother was Mary Elizabeth Klingelhofer, whose parents, John E. and Mary Klingelhofer, were Baltimore bakers who had emigrated from Hessen, Germany. Adams was the middle child of the children who are known: his brother Ernest Henry Adams was the oldest, Clarence Timothy Adams the younger brother. Both of his brothers followed their father directly into the family business as engineers and became officers when the company was incorporated, upon their father's death.

Adams married Mrs. Marie Hagerty Adams, with whom he had two sons: Otto Eugene Adams, Jr. and Henry J. Adams (the geologist and financier).[1][2][3][4]


428 Roland Ave. Built 1926

At age 17, Adams left Baltimore to attend college at University of Pennsylvania where he studied Architecture, completing both a B.S. (1911) and M.S. (1912) degrees.[5] During his time at Penn, one of his colleagues - James Richard Edmunds Jr., was also to become a notable Baltimore Architect. Mr. Adams talent was recognized early, when his participation in the New York Intercollegiate Architectural Federation competition gained him a mention while still an undergraduate.[6] Otto Eugene Adams served during World War I as a captain in the US Army in France where he was injured in the arm.[7] Thereafter he expanded his expertise and theoretical understanding of his field through advanced certification at both the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris and at the American Academy, Rome.[1] O. E. Adams was listed in the Maryland Manual editions 1916 through 1920 as a Notary Public and his address was given as 900 N. Gay St.


16 Overhill Rd. Built 1928

Much of the work attributed to Adams was creation of public architecture or bent toward theoretical study of buildings: programming, rejuvenation and improving the efficiency of pre-existing facilities. In his report to the mayor's office, regarding the state of the Baltimore City Courthouse, he said: "it has been doing the work for which it was designed. Fortunately, due to having a fundamentally sound building to work on, it is possible to so modernize the Courthouse for another generation." The approach to his work and quotations that he gave about his work, demonstrate an interest in sustainable design, embodied energy in building assemblies, and overall efficiency, much the way current designers are interested in green architecture.

Adams had a long career, considering his formal retirement in 1959, of over 40 years. Throughout that time he collaborated on much of his work with his father's engineering consulting firm. Adams was a partner in the firm of Adams & Rigg for much of that time. Though the arrangement may have only been formalized later, since as late as 1946, he is given recognition as if a sole-proprietor. Adams was a member of the American Institute of Architects[1] and was faculty for the Maryland Institute, College of Art architectural program.[8]


Public works[edit]

An incomplete list of works and studies attributed to Otto Eugene Adams, in Baltimore and other Maryland cities:

  • Baltimore City Courthouse study[9][10][11]
  • Dormitory Building, Baltimore Orphanage (address not given)
  • Emanuel Evangelical Church, Baltimore & Garrison Ave., Baltimore[12]
  • Methodist Home for the Aged [13][14][15][16][17] which is currently Springwell Senior Living Community
  • Home purchased for Baltimore Orphanage Asylum at Govans "Marble Hall" Woodbourne Ave. home of Charles S. Abell originally summer home of Enoch Pratt. Asylum to move from Stricker St.,[18]
  • Nursery and Childs Hospital - Woodbourne Rd. and East side York Rd.
  • Competition for the Baltimore City College building[19]
  • Kelso Home for Orphans (became Kelso Home for Girls) - building and planning, 17-acre (69,000 m2) tract, Towson (charity now resides at Garrison Ave. and Forest Park Ave. ),[20] (now Towson YMCA).
  • Enoch Pratt Free Library Branch no. 27 Westport, 1929.[21]
  • Fairfield Elementary School (Chesapeake Ave and Sun Street), 1942[22]
  • Govans School no. 213, York Rd.[15] 1951
  • Baker Memorial Chapel abt.1958[23][24] and possibly other buildings at Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College). The campus plan and several buildings look as if they might have been fashioned by him.
  • Woodbourne Junior High (now Chinquapin School # 46 at Woodbourne and Beauregard avenues) completed 1959[25]
  • Baltimore (Broadway) Public Comfort Station 1922[26]
  • Baltimore Police (Belair Road) Sub-station 1922[26]

Residential designs and alterations[edit]

An incomplete list:

Guilford (neighborhood)[edit]

  • 211 Chancery Rd. of Roland Pk. 1928 [27]
  • 214 Chancery Rd. of Roland Pk. 1925[27]
  • 219 Southway 1920[27]

Roland Park (neighborhood) Civic League[edit]

  • 107 Club Rd. 1926, 1928 [28]
  • 509 Edgevale Rd. 1925, 1948 [28]
  • 3 Englewood Rd. 1929 [28]
  • 5403 Falls Rd. 1936 [28]
  • 903 Falls Rd. 1933 [28]
  • 312 Overhill Rd. 1929 [28]
  • 16 Overhill Rd. 1928 [28]
  • 4906 Roland Ave. 1932 [28]
  • 428 Roland Ave. 1926 [28]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d O. E. Adams, Sr., Dies At 78; Architect's Services Today. 1968. The Sun (1837–1985), January 31, (accessed January 25, 2010).
  2. ^ 'Henry J. Adams, Geologist And Financier', The Baltimore Sun, August 13, 2009, Rasmussen
  3. ^ Deaths, Jan 31, 1968; The Baltimore Sun pg. C12
  4. ^ Bride of Mr. Adams, May 20, 1951; The Baltimore Sun pg. WS14
  5. ^ General alumni catalogue of the University of Pennsylvania, 1922, University of Pennsylvania. General Alumni Society, p. 198.
  6. ^ The New York Times. April 28, 1912
  7. ^ Major Whitney Dead, Aug 14, 1900; The Baltimore Sun pg. 6
  8. ^ New School Ready for Opening Today, The Sun; Sep 15, 1924; The Baltimore Sun (1837–1985) p 7
  9. ^ To Prepare Plans for Court House, Jun 2, 1945, The Baltimore Sun pg. 16
  10. ^ Judges Map Space Saving in Courthouse, Feb 6, 1946; The Baltimore Sun pg. 24
  11. ^ Courthouse Plan Mapped, Renovation Program Recommended To Mayor, Baltimore (Morning) Sun, Wednesday, November 6, 1946
  12. ^ Real Estate Deals and Building News, Apr 28, 1923, The Baltimore Sun pg. 14
  13. ^ Real Estate Deals and Building News, Sep 9, 1930; The Baltimore Sun (1837–1985) pg. 21
  14. ^ Contract for M. E. Home for Aged Let, Oct 21, 1930; The Baltimore Sun pg. 23
  15. ^ a b project list of Henry Adams LLC
  16. ^ Work Starts Soon On Home For Aged, Nov 9, 1930;The Baltimore Sun pg. 7
  17. ^ Real Estate Deals and Building News, Nov 14, 1930; The Baltimore Sun, pg. 21
  18. ^ Baltimore Sun: June 11, 1925.
  19. ^ City College Designs Asked of Architects, Mar 5, 1924; The Baltimore Sun pg. 3
  20. ^ Baltimore Sun: June 4, 1924.
  21. ^ Enoch Pratt Free Library list of branches
  22. ^ New School Work Pushed, Mar 26, 1942; The Baltimore Sun (1837–1985) pg. 25
  23. ^ New Chapel For College, Robert G Breen The Sun (1837–1985); Mar 31, 1958; The Baltimore Sun pg. 12
  24. ^ Western Maryland College Historic District [including McDaniel College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1976.
  25. ^ Architects Named by City, Jun 16, 1951; The Baltimore Sun (1837–1985) pg. 5
  26. ^ a b Architects Chose to Design for City, Jun 7, 1922; The Baltimore Sun (1837–1985) pg. 7
  27. ^ a b c Langsdale collection, University of Baltimore
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i Langsdale collection, University of Baltimore