It all started when...
E. Francis Baldwin, one of the most prolific Baltimore architects built the Sykesville Depot of the B&O Railroad around 1883. It became open to the public in September 1884 as the “Main Line” serving the town of Sykesville. In the 1950’s the depot was closed to passenger service, and later to freight service. Even today trains loaded with freight from Western Maryland pass the station several times a day. Baldwin’s is located on The Old Main Line, the oldest railway in the country. The restaurant straddles the line of Carroll and Howard County and overlooks the Patapsco River.
The depot was opened to the public once again in March 1991 as Baldwin’s Station Restaurant. The Queen Anne style building had been left in a state of neglect for many years. Baldwin’s attempted to visualize and restore the building by focusing on what it would have looked like had it served food at the turn of the century. The building still stands with some original architecture including jewel-toned stained glass windows, a wrap-around deck, exposed brick, hardwood floors, and 20-foot ceilings with beautiful hand stenciled designs.
The room where customers enter the building was originally the “Ladies and Children’s Waiting Room” which is now the restaurants bar and waiting area. The dining room located to the left of the bar, nearest to Main Street, was once the “Gentleman’s Waiting Room.” Today it is referred to as the “Waiting Room” and is used as our smaller formal dining area. The even smaller room joining the bar area and the waiting room was used as the depots “Ticket Office.” Here, the station Master could view the tracks, complete his freight invoices, and oversee the traffic of passengers to and from the building. This area now serves as our hostess area, coatroom, and waiting area. The coatroom holds the stairs to the upstairs that contains four rooms. This area is not open to the public for many reasons, and is used as offices and strange space. The station Master and his family used to in the small space that included two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a sitting area. The room to the right of the bar was the “Freight Room.” All manners of goods were shipped to and from this room by way of the railroad. The people of Sykesville sent personal packages up and down the “Old Line.” Today this room serves as the restaurants main dining room and has a capacity of over sixty. Finally, on the far end of the building next to the Freight Room is the newly constructed building that houses the Baldwin’s kitchen. It is a replica of a ninetieth century storage shed, not attached the historic building.