4545 N. Charles St., 410/516-0341,
HOURS: Tues.–Fri. 11 a.m.–4 p.m., Sat.–Sun. noon–4 p.m.
COST: $6 adult, $3 child, $5 senior
Unlike Homewood House and Mount Clare Mansion, two surviving examples of early Baltimore  summer estates, the vast, stunning home called Evergreen wasn’t a warm-weather escape; it was a full-time residence. Bought by Baltimore & Ohio Railroad  tycoon John W. Garrett (whose father had bought him the Garrett-Jacobs Mansion in Mount Vernon) in 1878 for his son T. Harrison Garrett, Evergreen was once a meager 12-room home; by the time it was given to Johns Hopkins University in 1942, it tallied some 48 rooms.
It’s a Gilded Age residence, built in 1857 and today perhaps the finest free-standing historic home in Baltimore City. Upon Robert’s death, the house transferred to Robert’s son John Work Garrett and his wife Alice, who were patrons of the arts and letters, and the home grew to house their collections and reflect their areas of interest. Paintings by Modigliani, Picasso, and Degas hang in the long living room; Louis Tiffany lamps and chandeliers abound; and one of the home’s five libraries has murals that were painted on-site by Jose Miguel Covarrubias at the Garrett’s request.
The Victorian-era custom of displaying one’s wealth is well represented here, most notably in the bathroom with the 24K gold-leafed toilet. But the Garretts were far more interested in knowledge, learning, and appreciating works of art; a gymnasium was converted into a small theater by Leon Bakst. Leave plenty of time to explore and learn about this amazing house, located just north of the Loyola University campus in North Baltimore—it’s another hidden treasure that rewards visitors with its unexpected splendor.