Josias Pennington was born in Baltimore in 1854, the son of a prominent family. When he was 20, his father, a lawyer and President of the Board of Trustees of the Peabody Institute, was accidentally killed in a building being demolished for an addition to the Institute.
Pennington was married to Margaret R. Pleasants; they had a son, Hall Pleasants Pennington (1889-1942) who followed his father in the architectural profession. Socially active in Baltimore, Josias Pennington was a member of the Baltimore Club, the Maryland Club, the Elk Ridge Hunt Club, and the Society of the War of 1812. He served for about ten years (at times with D.H. Thomas, J.E. Sperry, and J.A. Wilson) as a member of the city Art Commission. Josias Pennington died on March 4, 1929.
Josias Pennington attended St. John’s College. He began his architectural career in the 1870s as a draftsman and apprentice in the office of E. Francis Baldwin (1837-1916). In 1883, he entered into a partnership with Baldwin that was to last over 30 years, until the senior partner’s death in 1916.
The firm of Baldwin & Pennington was legally dissolved in 1918, at which time Pennington entered into a partnership with his son, who had been in France during WWI. The partnership of Pennington & Pennington continued until the early 1920s, when Josias Pennington apparently retired and his son moved to New York where he formed the firm of Pennington & Lewis.
Determining the individual responsibility for buildings in a partnership that lasted as long as Baldwin’s and Pennington’s is difficult. In a letter to the AIA in 1902 in support of his application for membership, Pennington cited four buildings that were designed and erected under his supervision and direction: the Maryland Club, the Theodore Marburg residence, the National Union Bank, and his own personal residence at 1119 St. Paul Street. Though Baldwin & Pennington was the firm of record for the Maryland State House Annex, it was Pennington who was the principal architect in Annapolis.
Pennington designed three cottages at Deer Park, Maryland. The only surviving one, presumably his own, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Josias Pennington was an avid golfer and reportedly was instrumental in having the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad build a course in front of the B&O’s Deer Park Hotel, which was near these summer cottages).