In 1846, Baltimore entrepreneur Johns Hopkins opened a “splendid” set of commercial buildings on the corner of Lombard and Gay Streets, just north of the Patapsco River. Hopkins, who made his fortune first as a country merchant and then as an investor in the railroad, intended the buildings to facilitate the trade that was central to both Baltimore’s economy and his personal wealth. The buildings were practical, but they were also a symbol of the city’s commercial pretensions. In addition to offices and commodious warehouses where merchants and dry goods dealers could keep the variety of products they imported from the countryside and exported through the port of Baltimore, Hopkins funded the construction of a beautifully designed corner hall. The three-story structure, described as one of the “handsomest buildings in the city,” was adorned with numerous ornaments, including a trident of Neptune and a Roman spade that symbolized Baltimore’s links to maritime commerce and agriculture.