February 24, 2015 / Love Letters

Love Letters: 39 West Lexington Street

Image courtesy of the author

Image courtesy of the author

by Liz Koontz

I’ve always loved architecture in general and I don’t remember exactly when I fell in love with 39 West Lex, probably because it feels like I always have been.

It must have been some time in my early twenties when I started using Cathedral Street to travel from Mount Vernon to Federal Hill. Even though I have lived in Baltimore all my life, 39 West Lex was a building I did not notice because it was on the edge of downtown in an area I did not frequent. Coming down that hill and seeing its twenty-two grey granite stories rise from the street, topped with an ornate cornice and rounded windows just below <3 I was smitten at first site!

I was working for the city at the time and I went on a short quest to find out more about the building, mostly because I wanted to go inside. Along with finding out that it was the former BG&E headquarters, I learned that it was vacant, but was about to be renovated into apartments. I was lucky enough to get a tour right when the building was opened and, to be perfectly honest, it was everything I imagined and more. The inside was just as beautiful and interesting as the outside. (If you ever get a chance to take a tour, make sure you see the wood paneled, high ceiling old board rooms on the upper floors!).

I now work just around the corner at Live Baltimore and my gym is within eyesight (that is where my Instagram picture was taken from!). I also adore most of the architecture of the “West Side” of downtown and I dream of the day when it returns to the glory that my Parents and Grandmother remember.


Liz Koontz is the Employer Outreach Manager at Live Baltimore, a nonprofit that helps people find a place that they can call home in Baltimore.

Want to have your love letter to a Baltimore building featured? Visit http://baltimorearchitecture.org/love-letters-to-baltimore-buildings/ for details on how to submit.