William Donald Schaefer Building

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William Donald Schaefer Building
William Donald Schaefer Building.jpg
The William Donald Schaefer Building is the third-tallest building in Baltimore.
General information
Location 6 Saint Paul Place, (northwest corner, St. Paul Place/Street and East Baltimore Streets), Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Coordinates 39°17′23″N 76°36′51″W / 39.2898°N 76.6141°W / 39.2898; -76.6141Coordinates: 39°17′23″N 76°36′51″W / 39.2898°N 76.6141°W / 39.2898; -76.6141
Completed 1986/1992
Opening 1992
Antenna spire 590 ft (180 m)
Roof 493 ft (150 m)
Technical details
Floor count 37
Design and construction
Developer Maryland Department of General Services

The William Donald Schaefer Building, also known as the "William Donald Schaefer Tower" or simply the Schaefer Tower, is a skyscraper at 6 Saint Paul Street, on the northwest corner with East Baltimore Street in the City of Baltimore, in Maryland. Originally completed by its bank occupant/landlord in 1986 and later re-opened under state management in 1992, the building rises 37 floors and 493 feet (150 m) in height,[1] and stands as the third-tallest building in the city. If the flagpole positioned atop the building, which reaches 590 feet, is included, the building would be the tallest in the state (flagpoles are normally not counted when determining architectural height).[3] The nine upper floors are unoccupied and contain a spiral staircase to the top floor. The flags flown from the Tower's poles are, by order of former Governor Martin O'Malley, a large and noticeable "Star-Spangled Banner Flag" of fifteen alternating red and white stripes and fifteen stars (used by the nation between 1795 and 1820, and flown over the city and Fort McHenry during the British attack in the War of 1812); and a smaller Maryland state flag that flies just beneath the larger American banner, highest in the state. Both are usually clearly visible throughout the downtown area and most of the city.[3] Originally construction completed in 1986, the structure was given some additional renovations/changes upon taking over by the State and finally completed for occupancy in 1992.[2]

The now iconic "William Donald Schaefer Building" was named after influential and dominating urban /state leader, William Donald Schaefer, (1921–2011), who served as the Mayor of Baltimore from December 1971 until January 1987.[1] Schaefer was followingly elected as the Governor of the State of Maryland from January 1987 until January 1995, and after his initial retirement several years later in 1998, succeeded in a special election to the long-time and legendary state comptroller Louis L. Goldstein of Calvert County (1913–1998, served 1959–1998), when he died during the administration of the succeeding Governor Parris N. Glendening (served 1995–2003).[1]

The immediate landmarked copper-colored metal clad building began its life as the "Merritt Tower" after the Merritt Commercial Savings and Loan Association replaced its small brick non-descript office buildings on the west side facing St. Paul Street just above East Baltimore Street. Just to the north at the southwest corner of St. Paul and East Fayette Streets was the 1950s era "Colonial Corner" building of the old Baltimore Federal Savings and Loan Association, the largest in the city and dominate for decades with the post-World War II housing boom. Its recreated Georgian/Federal-styled headquarters looked and was promoted in art prints as if it had actually been built in the late 1700s on that Baltimore street corner and endured for 150 years with its red brick exterior, slate roof and white wooden trim and cupola, surmounted by a period weather vane. The Merritt Association, originally from the southeast Baltimore County suburban area of Dundalk on Merritt Boulevard was one of the savings and loan association along with several other major "S and L's" in the metropolitan area that eventually went bankrupt during the aftermath of the "Old Court Savings and Loans" financial embezzlement scandals (sparked from the northwest Owings Mills and Pikesville areas of suburban Baltimore County, involving notorious spendthrift president Jeffrey Levitt and his obese and equally free-spending lavish-living wife), after a run on its deposits in 1985. The "Old Court Scandal" was partially responsible for the eventual collapse of the under-financed and insured Maryland Savings-Share Insurance Corporation, a quasi-public nonprofit corporation originally established by the State of Maryland, which had guaranteed deposits in state-chartered local building or savings and loan associations, (along with some smaller banks and thrifts) which had cropped up in the early 20th Century in neighborhoods of the city and had experienced phenonenamal growth in the post-World War II housing boom of the 1940s and 1950s. By the 1980s the small associations had experienced a number of growth and were constructing a series of downtown office buildings to rival the traditional larger banks and insurance companies which dominated the city's skyline since after the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904. Several of them later went bankrupt, shortly after their swanky new office buildings dotted the central business district during the subsequent national savings and loan crisis[4] The landmark copper-toned metal-clad structure building was sold at auction for US$30 million.[3] After a succession of owners, the Maryland state Department of General Services purchased the building from Chemical Bank of New York for US$12.2 million and eventually planned to use it for supplemental center-city state offices in addition to the long-time "State Office Building Complex" (formerly known as the "Mount Royal Plaza") further northwest of downtown from the late 1960s to the early 1970s along Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, North Howard Street and Mount Royal Avenues, near the old massive stone Fifth Regiment Armory of 1900.[3]

Building characteristics[edit]

The upper floors were actually designed as a loft apartment with a huge palladian window overlooking the inner harbor. It was to be a "shag pad" for the developer's (the president of the S. & L.) own personal and very private use. The floor in front of the window had been scheduled to have a hot tub installed there and the upper mezzanine style half floors on the left and right sides of the space were to be bedroom areas for his personal entertainment. As of 2008, the final now-finished floor is a conference room for the Maryland Transit Administration (buses, light rail line and subway or "Metro") of the Maryland State Department of Transportation.[5]


The Schaefer Tower houses several state agencies. It hosts headquarters of several agencies, including the Maryland Transit Administration, (local and commuter bus services from the Maryland Department of Transportation),[6][7] the Board of Contract Appeals (Suite 601),[7][8] the Maryland Governor's Office of Minority Affairs (Suite 1502),[7][9] the Maryland Office of People's Counsel (Suite 2102),[7][10] the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (Suite 900),[7][11] the Office of the Public Defender (Suite 1400),[7][12] the Maryland Public Service Commission (16th Floor),[7][13] and the Maryland Teachers & State Employees Supplemental Retirement Plans system (Suite 200).[7][14] It also houses branch offices of the Department of Assessments and Taxation, the Department of General Services, an office suite for the Governor of Maryland, the Governor's Office of Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, and the Property Tax Assessment Appeal Boards.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "William Donald Schaefer Tower". Emporis.com. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  2. ^ a b "Donald Schaefer Building". SkyscraperPage.com. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  3. ^ a b c d Rosen, Andy (June 20, 2008). "What's atop the Schaefer Tower in Baltimore?". The Daily Record (Baltimore). Retrieved 2009-02-22. 
  4. ^ 'Brandenburg v. Seidel', 859 F.2d 1179, 1181 (4th Cir. 1988).
  5. ^ "What's atop the Schaefer Tower in Baltimore?" The Baltimore Daily Record. June 20, 2008. Retrieved on September 18, 2012.
  6. ^ "Contact MTA." Maryland Transit Administration. Retrieved on September 18, 2012. "Maryland Transit Administration 6 St. Paul St. Baltimore, MD 21202-1614"
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i "DGS Managed Facilities William Donald Schaefer Tower." Maryland Department of General Services. Retrieved on September 18, 2012. "Location 6 Saint Paul Street Baltimore, MD 21202"
  8. ^ "Home." Maryland Board of Contract Appeals. Retrieved on September 18, 2012. "6 St. Paul Street, Suite 601 | Baltimore, MD 21202-1608"
  9. ^ "Contact Us." Maryland Governor's Office of Minority Affairs. Retrieved on September 18, 2012. "Governor's Office of Minority Affairs Suite 1502 6 Saint Paul Street Baltimore MD 21202 "
  10. ^ "Home." Maryland Office of People's Counsel. Retrieved on September 18, 2012. "6 Saint Paul Street, Suite 2102 - Baltimore, MD 21202"
  11. ^ "Home." Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. Retrieved on September 18, 2012. "6 St Paul Street, Suite 900 - Baltimore MD 21202 - 1-800-705-3493"
  12. ^ "Contact." Maryland Office of the Public Defender. Retrieved on September 18, 2012. "OPD Administration 6 Saint Paul Street Suite 1400 Baltimore, MD 21202 "
  13. ^ "Contact Us." Maryland Public Service Commission. Retrieved on September 18, 2012. "William Donald Schaefer Tower 6 St. Paul St., 16th Floor Baltimore, MD 21202"
  14. ^ "Directions to MSRP." Maryland Teachers & State Employees Supplemental Retirement Plans. Retrieved on September 18, 2012. "Directions to MSRP Wm. Donald Schaefer Twr., Suite 200, 6 St. Paul St., Baltimore, Maryland 21202-1608"

External links[edit]