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Stories from Baltimore’s Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Tower: Death by Iron, Tower Completion and Leap Foiled

Bromo-Seltzer Emerson Tower
Discover 3 stories from Baltimore's Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Tower: a tragic death by a rack of iron, the completion of the 356-foot tower and the foiled death leap of a painter. Read all about it today!
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Similar to an old post we did for Ghosts of DC on the Washington Monument, here’s a post which includes three stories about Baltimore’s Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Tower.

Bromo-Seltzer Emerson Tower
Bromo-Seltzer Emerson Tower

1. Crushed to death by rack of iron

Here’s a tragic story from December 3rd, 1910. This was printed in the Baltimore Sun.

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While at work in the basement of the new Emerson Tower Building, Eutaw and Lombard streets, Leonard Althoff, 21 years old, of Pikesville, was caught under a lot of iron which fell from a rack, and he died in the Western district ambulance while being removed to the University Hospital, shortly after 4 o’clock yesterday.

Mr. Altoff was employed as a plumber by Frank A. McIntire, of 1724 North Calhoun street. He was trying to remove a pipe from the rack, when one of the supports under it gave way and threw him to the ground. Several fellow-workmen who were attracted by the crash hurried to his assistance.

Patrolman Ganley was notified and after calling for the ambulance helped the workmen remove the iron under which Mr. Althoff was lying. As soon as the University Hospital was reached a hurried examination was made and he was pronounced dead by several physicians. The body was removed to the morgue,. Coroner Martin was notified and will make an investigation. Mr. Althoff is survived by his mother.

2. Big tower completed

The Baltimore Sun reported on June 24th, 1911, that the 356-foot tower was completed. Below is the article that announced the completion.

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William H. Parker announced yesterday the completion of the Emerson Tower Building, at the northeast corner of Lombard and Eutaw streets. The building is eight stories high and surmounted by a tower conspicuous in height. Mr. Parker, who constructed the building and who is also building the Emerson Hotel, at the corner of Baltimore and Calvert streets, gave some interesting data concerning the tower yesterday.

“Do you realize,” he said, “that it is only 12 months since the old buildings on this property were razed and that now not only is the building proper completed but also the tower, which is 356 feet 6 inches from the ground to the top of the crown, and that there has not been a single accident in connection with this building? It is a remarkable record.”

The tower reminds one of the famous tower at Venice which Joseph Evans Sperry, the architect, got some of his ideas. The foundations of the building are 36 feet under ground and the tower itself rests on four of the largest base blocks ever brought to Baltimore. It has taken three-quarters of a million bricks to build the structure. These bricks have been used here ein the construction of only three other buildings and have attracted much attention in the architectural world. They are a curious yellow color, with blue tints sprinkled with brown. They were first used in the construction of the Academy of Music, Brooklyn, N. Y., and in the building of Dr. Parkhurst’s famous church in Madison Square, New York.

3. Death leap foiled by elevator man

Now this is an interesting headline that caught our attention. It was printed in the Baltimore Sun on February 28th, 1930.

Grasped as he was about to leap from a balcony on the fifteenth floor of the Emerson Tower Building late yesterday, Philip Hooks, 65-year-old painter, was dragged to safety by Edward McDonald, 50, an elevator operator.

Hook had mounted a sailing surrounding the balcony, 180 feet from the pavement, and was poised on the edge when saved by McDonald.

McDonald said he had not made an outcry for fear the man would become startled and leap before he could reach the railing.

The elevator operator, assisted by William McKenna, superintendent of the factory, dragged Hook back through a window and took him to the ground floor, where he was taken in charge b Western district police.

Hood had not used the elevator but had walked up to a stairway to the fifteenth floor, according to Harry Meyers, custodian of the building. Employes in the factory in the north branch of the building noticed the figure on the ledge and summoned McKenna and McDonald.

Questioned by the police, Hook said he had been depressed since the death of his wife several weeks ago and yesterday had decided to end his life.

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