The Irish Shrine and Railroad Workers Museum at Lemmon Street is a historic site that celebrates the history of the immense Irish presence in Southwest Baltimore City in the late 1840's. The museum officially opened on June 17th, 2002. This site consists of a group of 5 alley houses where the Irish immigrants who worked for the adjoining B&O Railroad lived. Two of the houses, 918 and 920 Lemmon St., are the Irish Shrine and Railroad Workers Museum. The Irish Shrine and Railroad Workers Museum are the centerpiece of a larger historical district that includes the B&O Railroad Museum, St. Peter the Apostle Church, the Hollins Street Market, and St. Peter the Apostle Cemetery. The museum is a project of the Railroad Historical District Corporation, a non-profit organization.
In 1997, a group of concerned citizens formed the Railroad Historical District Corp, a 501 (c) 3 organization. The organization was formed to save a group of alley houses slated for demolition. While the City saw condemned buildings as a nuisance, the group recognized them as monuments to the Irish families who worked for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Located across from the B&O Railroad Museum, this row of 1840 residences housed poor Irish Immigrants who worked in the "yards" of what is considered to be the nation's first great railroad.
After a court battle led by pro bono attorney, Barry Steel, the group successfully kept the City from tearing down the buildings. Neighbors volunteered labor and donated materials to stabilize the buildings. Funding from the Maryland Historic Trust, Preservation Maryland, Irish Organizations, and private donors has made the buildings' restoration possible. Three are being restored and sold for private ownership while the others will become the Irish Shrine. The buildings have been officially declared a Baltimore City Historic District and are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places