THE MOST luxurious private home ever built within our city limits is the Garrett-Jacobs House, at 11 W. Mount Vernon Place, now occupied by the Engineers Club. Prime mover behind this mansion was Mary Sloan Frick, who first married Robert Garrett, from that illustrious Baltimore family, and later Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs.
Money was no object. The house was designed by two of the most famous "court architects" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Stanford White and John Russell Pope. Here's more on the subject from "Our Heritage," published by the Engineering Society of Baltimore, and written by Katharine Dehler:
"Mrs. Garrett had followed the fashion of the time in providing an adequate home in which to live and entertain. That this required a house with over 40 rooms, not including closets and halls, 16 fireplaces and approximately 100 windows, is not surprising. . . .
"[T]he house was in a constant state of renovation from 1884 to 1916, approximately 32 years. The periods of change and rebuilding did not dismay Mrs. Garrett, as the work was accomplished either while she was at 'Uplands,' her country estate near what is now known as Edmondson Village, inherited from her father, or at 'Whiteholme,' her 'cottage' at Newport [Rhode Island], or while she was traveling in Europe and incidently acquiring furniture, silver, glassware, linens, tapestries, brocades and valuable bric-a-brac. It is consequently easy to believe that the report of the very substantial sums which had been spent on acquisitions for the house were not exaggerated. In addition, she had inherited many beautiful things from her husband's family and her own.
"Evidence of this extensive buying was displayed at the sale of the house and contents in 1940 where, among 1,210 lots of articles auctioned, the following items were sold:
232 entree plates
485 dinner plates
664 dessert plates
1,147 wine glasses and finger bowls
86 table cloths of various sizes
179 bath towels
1 nine-yard banquet cloth (cost $3,000)
1 seven-yard Italian cut-work banquet cloth
11 other banquet cloths
96 yards of upholstery fabrics in various lengths
100 Oriental rugs and carpets
155 gilded music room chairs
131 painted folding chairs with velours seat covers.
Some of the more valuable articles were not included in the sale here as they were disposed of in New York. Among these were the gold-plated dinner set, including the gold Venetian glassware, and Mrs. Garrett's collection of valuable jewelry.
". . . The quantity of furniture required to furnish 40 rooms staggers the imagination, and the more than 300 objects d'art, many of them museum pieces, which were used to embellish the rooms, reveal a lavishness of appointments probably never equaled in Baltimore."