A historic stone mansion in Southwest Baltimore — built as a home and later transformed into a psychiatric hospital for children — has been torn down after catching fire earlier this week.
The Gundry/Glass Hospital, as it was known, sat on a 65-acre plot off Edmondson Avenue slated for development. Historic preservationists had secured a commitment that the stone structure remain intact, and a housing department spokesman said it was set to be restored as part of the second phase of the Uplands development.
But those plans are dashed after the building caught fire early Monday morning. It suffered significant damage, and by Wednesday had been torn down.
Blair Adams, a spokeswoman for the fire department, said the cause is under investigation.
The building was tucked back at the end of two driveways marked “private” on North Wickham Road. Until 1997, it had operated as a for-profit mental health hospital for children started by psychiatrist Dr. Sheldon Glass, but shut down over financial problems. An investor group owned by Sheppard Pratt Health bought the property, and sold it to New Psalmist Baptist Church for $1.4 million in 2000. In 2006, the city bought the property from the church for $2.5 million.
It has sat vacant, falling into disrepair, ever since, attracting interest from ghost hunters and people who explore abandoned properties.
The structure was originally known as “Athol” when it was built as a residence in 1880. Dr. Alfred T. Gundry, the former medical superintendent at Spring Grove Hospital, acquired the building after its original owner’s death, and operated a women’s sanitarium for nearly 100 years.
Glass acquired the property and expanded the facility’s services in 1988 to include men, adolescents and children. At the time it closed, it had 29 beds and a staff of 130 people were laid off.
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The second phase of the Uplands development has been stalled for more than a decade, but the Baltimore Business Journal reported this spring that it was poised to move forward with development of the Gundry/Glass tract. Philadelphia-based Pennrose Properties planned to build 150 new affordable housing units and some retail as part of the $27 million project.