Named for the governor who developed it, Brown's Arcade is a unique and early example of adaptive reuse in Baltimore. The four buildings that make up the Arcade were originally constructed as rowhouses in the 1820's. After the Great Fire of 1904, former governor Frank Brown bought 322-328 N. Charles and converted the buildings to shops and offices in an unusual and created departure from standard retail development. Architect Henry Brauns added storefronts, a cornice, bay windows and an arcade that led through the central entrance to a courtyard in the rear and to an adjacent building on Saratoga Street. Thus, the arcade provided a pleasant and whimsical short-cut from the Charles Street shopping area to the Howard Street retail district.
Before his career as a developer, Frank Brown was a member of the House of Delegates, the Postmaster of Baltimore and, from from 1892-1896, Governor of Maryland. He is best remembered for his role in averting violence during the 1894 coal miners' strike in Frostburg. Brown died in Baltimore on February 3, 1920.
Struever Bros. & Eccles renovated the Arcade in 1982, preserving its original charm and architectural detail.