No. 11 West Mount Vernon Place was built by Samuel George on land which belonged originally to John Eager Howard.
John Work Garrett, President of the B&O Railroad during the Civil War, bought No. 11 and gave it to his son Robert as a wedding present.
Robert succeeded his father as President of the railroad. That same year his wife (the former Mary Frick) decided to enlarge and remodel No. 11. Stanford White was the architect engaged to redesign No.11 and No. 9 which was recently purchased. The interiors of both houses were removed, and the present Foyer and stairway were created by sacrificing the floor of the upstairs bedroom. The elliptical spiral stairs were capped by a Tiffany glass dome. From the remaining space on the first floor, the "Red Room", Drawing Room and Ballroom were formed, each with its own fireplace. The family dining room was redecorated, but its location was not changed. The exterior of the house was redesigned consisting rose-colored sandstone in the Italian Renaissance manner.
Robert Garrett died after an extended illness.
Mrs. Garrett married Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs. Soon thereafter, Mrs. Jacobs bought No. 7 and engaged John Russell Pope to design the Library, Caen Stone Hall, Theatre and Supper Room below. The No. 9 Drawing Room was expanded to include the former Ballroom. The total cost of the 40-room mansion was reported to be $1.5 million.
Stables at rear razed and art gallery built; encircled space made into an elegant conservatory.
No. 13 purchased and rear demolished to provide light and air for Tiffany glass windows on stairway, for storage pantries, and to add a beautiful garden. (Sold to Miss Estelle Dennis in 1966.) Mrs. Jacobs also owned Uplands, the estate on a part of which Edmondson Village is now built. In addition, she owned Whiteholme at Newport, R.I. and spent much time traveling in Europe.
Mrs. Jacobs died, and the Mansion was willed to Dr. Jacobs for life. Her will included may bequests and donation of her sizable art collection to the Baltimore Museum of Art with the proviso that a new wing be constructed to house the collection.
Dr. Jacobs died.
Mansion and contents sold at public auction with the proceeds going to designated charitable organizations. William Cook bought the house for use as a funeral parlor but zoning laws prevented this use.
Boumi Temple bought building from Mr. Cook and made many alterations.
Boumi Temple sold building to Baltimore City for a Walters Art Gallery expansion project which did not materialize due to the failure of the funding bond issue primary through the work of Baltimore Heritage to save the Mansion from destruction.
City leased the vacant Mansion to the Engineers Club (Founded 1905).
Baltimore City sold Mansion to the Club, renamed The Engineering Society of Baltimore, Inc., for $155k. Since then the organization and its members have spent several million dollars to restore and preserve the historic building.
Baltimore Heritage, Inc. commends the Society for its "careful restoration of an important landmark."
The Society for the Preservation of Maryland Antiquities presents an award for adaptive restoration.
The Garrett-Jacobs Mansion Endowment Fund, a charitable 501 (c)(3) community organization, is established to facilitate fundraising and restoration efforts.
The Endowment Fund commissioned Kahn and Associates to create the Historic Structures Report and a Master Plan for the Mansion's restoration. The heating and air-conditioning systems were dealt with. Boiler Blast fundraisers were held to raise money. The total amount in donated services and materials came to $500k. Replacing the heating plant and improving the building's air conditioning systems resulted in a significant reduction in operating costs.
A fundraising effort dubbed "The Heritage Campaign" was initiated restore the Great Façade of the Mansion. The work was completed in 1998 at a cost of $600k. An exterior easement was granted to the Maryland Historical Trust to protect the building and to gain access to funds from the Trust.
The kitchen located adjacent to the Dining Room is abandoned and a new kitchen is constructed as a "room within a room" in the Small Gallery at a cost of $700k. Club leaders approved this plan as the financial health of the Club was dependent on revenues from the food and beverage operation requiring an efficient kitchen that might be relocated at a later date should the Small Gallery be restored.
The Mansion celebrated its 150th anniversary and the Endowment Fund launched a new capital campaign to fund projects included in the Master Plan.
The Master Plan was reviewed and updated to include the covering of the Courtyard allowing year-round use, expanded capacity for functions and to allow events to continue as other rooms were closed for renovation and restoration. The Club exercised its purchase option for #13 West Mount Vernon Place and subdivides the property contemplating the addition of a new structure to contain an elevator, emergency egress and modern ADA compliant restrooms.
The Master Plan was divided into phases. A timeline and budget were established for a 10-year implementation. Discussions for an interior easement with the Maryland Historical Trust were opened. The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company was hired to complete the first phase of the Master Plan which included enclosing and renovating the Courtyard, the addition of temporary emergency egress and fire suppression in the basement, interior alley and Courtyard. The Endowment Fund was awarded a $50k matching grant from MHT for structural improvements to the main roof structure and the protective cap over the Tiffany Dome was repaired. The Capital Campaign received $1.2 million in pledges from individuals, corporations and foundations.
The first phase of the Master Plan which included the Courtyard was completed at a cost of $3.1 million. A celebration party with ribbon cutting ceremony is held for all donors and workers in June. The Endowment Fund Trustees and the Engineers Club Board of Directors passed identical resolutions agreeing to formulate details of an interior easement with the Maryland Historical Trust. The formal application process continued through the end of the year. The Endowment Fund also received a $1.2 million Commercial Heritage Preservation Tax Credit from The State of Maryland that provided a 20% match for all qualifying work completed by June 2008. Ultimately, $300k of the credits were utilized.
The Drawing Room was the first room to receive historic restoration under the guidelines of the Master Plan with a completion date of June 1st. Johnson Berman Interior Design, SMG Architects and Thomas Moore Studios were contracted to restore the room to the grandeur of the early 1900's when John Russell Pope modified the original Stanford White design. Intricate 22 carat gold gilding was hand applied over the course of two months once the multiple layers of paint were removed and several areas of decorative plaster were restored. The addition of new electric circuits, fire suppression, emergency lighting and the careful hand refinishing of the floor were accomplished to complete the work at a total cost of $449k. Major funding for the project was provided by grants from the France-Merrick Foundation and the Constellation Energy Group Foundation.
The long-awaited easement between The Engineers Club and the State of Maryland Historic Trust was completed in February 2009. The Ballroom Restoration Project split into four phases was started with infrastructure updates and a redesign of the ceiling coffers to restore the original skylight theme with glass installed in the original frames and backlit by lighting where the color can be changed to enhance the mood of the space. Removal of the fin tube heating revealed glorious marble. Replacement of the worn fabric panels with fine damask cloth milled in France by the same business that provided Marie Antoinette her fabrics change the character of the room along with total refinishing and restoration of wood panels in addition to gold gilding and Dutch metal. The stage was partially restored and updated with velvet curtains and improved lighting and a historic pipe organ from Baltimore's State Theatre is installed reminiscent of the large player organ that Mrs. Garrett had in the space. The floor was refinished and repaired revealing an exquisite herringbone pattern and the doors leading to the Courtyard were restored to their original magnificence. Major funding for the project was provided by The Constellation Energy Foundation, The France-Merrick Foundation, The Gladding Foundation and The State of Maryland. The remaining restoration of the ceiling coffers and surrounds was deferred. Costs for the Ballroom Project totaled $1.3 million. Thomas Moore Studios received the Craftsmanship Award from the Building Congress and Exchange in 2012 for their restoration work in the Ballroom.
The next phase of the Master Plan consisted of restoration of the Library and the Caen Stone Hall. The Library restoration was completed in 2013 in addition to restoration of the Foyer and Drawing Room floors. The total capital expense for the work was $250k. The fine walnut woodwork and the American oak flooring were given new life and fire suppression was concealed in the faux finish plaster. Timing prevented the completion of the Caen Stone Hall in 2013.