April 6, 2015 / Love Letters

Love Letters: The Mechanic Theatre


Image courtesy Matthew Carbone for Architect Magazine

To my dearest M,

By the time we first met, your doors had been shut.
Lights long switched off.

And yet there we were. Unaware of each other.
You, this forgotten yet ambitious hulking monument, a seemingly random looking beast of a building. I was simply a young, interested photographer in search of a subject.

Who was I to pass judgement? While I’d never have confused you with classic beauty, you proved to be extremely interesting. Your expressive forms captured with a mix of propelled boxes, connected towers, and lofted terraces. Wedged in a canyon of buildings, I often watched as the sunlight would skip through the city, dancing, playing atop your rough facade. It was truly a sight.

Time passed, and while many tried, your fate had been sealed. Word spread as they sent wave after wave of machines at you, gnawing on you like a dog with a fresh stick. Your slow and meticulous undoing would bring us back together.

As if to sit with a friend during her last days, I spent these last months at your side documenting the excessive loss in hopes of bringing greater awareness to your importance, to your contribution to Baltimore. It is during these months that countless people stopped me to tell me their many fond memories of you. Tales of so many fond childhood memories were spent within your walls: One man told me of his post show extravaganzas at the Lord Baltimore. The stories go on and on.

Perhaps in spite of your rugged shell, you were a gentlemanly, seen-it-all sort of character—either way, you’ll be missed.

Your friend,

Matthew Carbone is a New York-based photographer. His work photographing the demolition of the Mechanic Theatre can be seen in the Architect Magazine piece Striking Photographs of Baltimore’s Mechanic Theatre Demolition.

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.