For over three decades Marian House has provided a holistic, healing community for women and their children who are in need of housing and support services.
For three decades and a century more the Women’s Industrial Exchange envisioned empowering Baltimore’s women to become financially secure.
Now the two groups are coming together as one. After making the difficult decision to cease operations at its historic 333 North Charles Street location, The Women’s Industrial Exchange has asked Marian House to take over its building and assets.
● We will preserve and protect the building and the long history of the Women’s Industrial Exchange.
● We will find the highest and best use of the Exchange building that is consistent with the spirit of both of our organizations’ focus on supporting women in Baltimore.
● We will continue to focus on helping women in Baltimore become independent and self-sufficient.
- We are engaging our new neighbors for their input on unmet business and service needs that inform future use for the commercial spaces of the building.
- We’re sorry if you missed our virtual community meeting on July 23rd but feel free to check out the link here.
- Stay tuned for August focus groups to continue brainstorming together!
Why Marian House
The Exchange board approached Marian House late last year to take over the building. Jenny Hope, Chair of the Women’s Industrial Exchange speaks to their decision: “On behalf of the board of the Exchange, we are pleased to honor and preserve our past while helping Marian House create more opportunities for women in the present and build hope for a brighter future.”
Present & Future
Marian House intends to preserve and protect the building, the name, and the long history of the Women’s Industrial Exchange. We are proceeding today by reaching out to our community, our new “neighbors,” and our Marian House family to discover uses for the building that are most appropriate for the unusual circumstances we face today and in our longer and brighter future.
How You Can Help
Going forward we need to hear from you first. For more information on how to join the conversation, talk with our committees working on what to do next,
The Women’s Industrial Exchange Fund
At Marian House we understand and value the generosity that makes the work we do possible. And we know that to continue getting results that matter we will also have to invest in this new opportunity.
We encourage you to support or continue supporting Marian House and all of our programs. And we also urge you to help us capitalize on this new initiative through the new WIE Fund. For more information on Marian House and WIE Fund gifts, click below:
History of the Women’s Industrial Exchange
The Women’s Industrial Exchange began in October of 1880, shortly after the Civil War in the home of Mrs. G. Harmon Brown of Baltimore, where women brought their handwork to be sold to local citizens and visitors. Mrs. Harmon’s endeavor was part of a nationwide exchange movement to help women in need discreetly earn a living.
Sometime in the 1880’s, the enterprise was so successful that a shop was opened at Saratoga and Holiday Streets. In 1882 the State Legislature incorporated the organization “for the purpose of endeavoring by sympathy and practical aid to encourage and help needy women to help themselves by procuring for them and establishing a sales room for the sale of Women’s Work.” The Exchange then moved the shop to the southeast corner of Pleasant and Charles where the Verizon building now stands.
The present building at 333 N. Charles Street, constructed circa 1815, was purchased in 1860 by Mrs. Mary E. Boardley for a boarding house. A five-story rear wing was added.
The Exchange purchased this building and moved into it in 1899. A shop window was added circa 1900, which enhances the fine Flemish bonded brick work and marble stoop.
From the late 1800’s until recently The Exchange sold women’s handwork, operated a tearoom or lunch restaurant in the same location.
For more information,