July 8, 2024 / Love Letters

Love Letters: Eastern Avenue Sewage Pumping Station

Eastern Avenue Sewage Pumping Station,

I saw you from across the Harbor and I knew in that moment that my search was over. Baltimore would become my new home. From atop Fed Hill I laid eyes on your patinaed copper roof and elegant gables and my heart began to pump a little faster, pun fully intended. You stand there, steadfast and unyielding, amidst the ebb and flow of sewage and stormwater, a sentinel of sanitation.

Your Corliss pumps, once powered by steam, now hum with electric vitality, pushing forth millions of gallons of waste each day. What a delightful juxtaposition of humble function and elegant form that harkens back to a time when Baltimore’s new sewer system was the envy of other cities and the structure that housed its mechanisms evidence of civic pride.

A cupola! Why a cupola? Perched atop your sturdy frame, it has gazed out over Baltimore, witnessing the comings and goings of countless ships and souls since 1912. Can I climb into the cupola to watch the comings and goings?

My dear pumping station, you are more than brick and iron. You are a testament to human ingenuity, a monument to the unsung heroes who keep our streets clean and our rivers clear. While I am follower of the doctrine of adaptive reuse, you have stayed true to your beginnings. Steadfastness is a quality that I admire.

For now, I will gaze on you from afar and look for excuses to drive over to the other side of town so that I can pass by. I’m looking forward to getting to know you better. A behind-the-scenes tour?

Until then,


Katherine finds a great building on every walk and drive around Baltimore and enjoys sharing these discoveries with others.