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Explore Baltimore Heritage

All Stories: 220

In the 1930s, when the managers at Bethlehem Steel remained staunchly opposed unionization, labor activists at Sparrow’s Point faced real challenges. According to Ellen Pinter, men couldn’t wear union buttons for fear of losing their jobs. During…

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From the 1890s through the early 1970s, Bethlehem Steel owned and operated Sparrow’s Point as a company town located right by the expansive mill complex. In 1916, however, Bethlehem Steel departed from the model of company-owned housing when it…

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Tucked away in far southeastern corner of Baltimore County and separated from the rest of Sparrow’s Point by a creek, Turner Station is where many African American workers at Bethlehem Steel and nearby factories lived with their families from the…

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Two aging union halls on Dundalk Avenue help the story of Baltimore’s steel industry. In 1942, steel workers had won their right to unionize and established the United Steel Workers’ of America. When the two-story tan brick building at the corner…

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Founded in 1911, the Pemco International Corporation site on Eastern Avenue is a reminder of the enduring environmental legacy of Baltimore’s industrial businesses. First known as the Porcelain Enamel Manufacturing Corporation, the company produced…

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In the heart of Greektown sits O'Connor's, a package store and restaurant, located at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Oldham Street since the early 1920s. In the 1940s, this unassuming two-story, green-and-white brick building played a significant…

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The history of delicatessens in East Baltimore is not limited to Lombard Street. In the thoughtfully restored 800 block of East Baltimore Street, Harry Goodman established one of the city’s earliest delicatessens at 825 E. Baltimore Street around…

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Looking up at this large, handsome red brick and stone building across Baltimore Street, one can just make out the remnants of “Hendler Creamery Company” written across the front façade. Manuel Hendler (1885-1962) opened this ice cream…

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Attman’s Delicatessen at 1019-1023 E. Lombard Street is one of just a few delis the remain at the heart of the old Lombard Street market that once stretched from Albemarle Street to Central Avenue. Picture New York’s famed Lower East Side, minus…

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Emory Grove, located in Glyndon, has provided its summer residents with spiritual inspiration and respite from the City's summer heat for 144 years. Originally founded in 1868 as a Methodist camp meeting site during the religious reawakening that…

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The Strawbridge United Methodist Church has a rich history. First established in 1843 as the Howard Street Station, the church moved to a grand sanctuary on Park Avenue under the leadership of Rev. John F. Goucher in 1881. Unfortunately, over the…

For more than 85 years, the large sign atop the Stieff Silver Building has spelled out the name of a company once synonymous with Baltimore. The movement of the Stieff Company from downtown to the bucolic neighborhood of Hampden mirrored the changes…

Subjects: Industry

The Grove of Remembrance Pavilion has stood nestled amongst the trees on Beechwood Drive near the Maryland Zoo for nearly a century. Designed by architect E.L. Palmer, the rustic pavilion’s placement within the Grove of Remembrance is fitting. The…

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The Arch Social Club at Pennsylvania and North Avenues started its life as the Schanze Theater, a movie house constructed in 1912. After serving time as a restaurant in the 1940s through the 1960s (when the lower facade was covered over), the club…

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405 East Oliver Street has served as a brewery, a factory, and an upholstery shop. Today, the former factory is home to AREA 405 - an arts organization dedicated to showcasing and strengthening the vitality of Baltimore's arts community. This 66,000…

Subjects: Industry, Arts

Built in 1910 of brick with stone trim in Tudor style, Fire Engine House No. 36 celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010. Designed by architects Ellicott & Emmart and built by the Fidelity Construction Co., Engine House No. 36 reflected Baltimore's…

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Today, Roosevelt Park is a quiet, green space with mature trees, playing fields, gardens, a recreation center, and a community skate park. The park dates back to the late nineteenth century when it was known as West Park. In 1920, a year after it was…

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In 1885, Robert Poole, owner of Poole and Hunt's Machine Shops, established a circulating library in Woodberry. Four years later he donated $25,000 toward erecting a new branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library on Falls Road, across the street from his…

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William Donald Schaeffer approached Tom Kerr, head of the old Hampden Business Association, in 1972 to organize the Mayor's Christmas Parade. The parade would be Schaeffer's answer to the Hochschild-Kohn Toytown Parade which drew thousands of…

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The construction of the Rotunda in 1921 marked a radical change in the design of business campuses in the twentieth century. Traditionally, businesses in the banking industry were located in dense downtown financial districts. The Maryland Casualty…

Subjects: Architecture

The Sisters of Bon Secours, a religious congregation for nursing with the motto congregation's motto is "Good Help to Those in Need," first came to Baltimore from Paris, France in 1881 at the request of Cardinal James Gibbons, Baltimore’s ninth…

The Bentalou Recreation Center opened at Saratoga and Bentalou Streets with a dedication on October 27, 1971. Built as a $250,000 addition to the Bentalou Elementary School, the building was designed by architects Nelson-Salabes, Inc. and landscape…

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The Archdiocese of Baltimore established New Cathedral Cemetery on forty acres of the old "Bonnie Brae" country estate in 1869. The church spent seventeen years moving bodies and headstones from the 1816 Cathedral Cemetery at Riggs and Fremont…

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At the turn of the 20th century, Gelston Heights stood high on a hill west of the Gwynns Falls. In 1908, the Baltimore Sun described the home as “one of the most beautiful country estates near Baltimore… a charming example of an old-fashioned…

Subjects: Architecture

More than just a road, Hilton Parkway was inspired by the advice of renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. and is a testament to the transformative investment of the New Deal in Baltimore. In the 1930s, the Gwynns Falls blocked…

Subjects: Infrastructure

Helen Mackall Park was dedicated by the Rosemont Community on Saturday, December 4, 1971 to honor Mrs. Helen Mackall – a crossing guard for James Mosher Elementary School lost her leg while saving the life of a 6-year old Bonita Lynn Lineberger at…

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Well known for its sports programs, Edmondson-Westside High School is a landmark near the western edge of the city. Originally known as Edmonson Avenue High School, when construction began on the school on Athol Avenue it was the city's first new…

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Close beside the Gwynns Falls is Ellicott Driveway, completed by the city in 1917 as the kind of stream valley parkway envisioned by the Olmsted Brothers landscape architectural firm in 1904. Ellicott Driveway was built on top of the millrace that…

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At a ground-breaking ceremony for the Immanuel Reformed Church on June 24, 1922, 12 trustees, including Charles C. Zies, Sr. and John H. Weller, signed a contract for the construction of the new building. Plans filed a few days later for a white…

Subjects: Religion

In 1967, the Baltimore Afro-American called the 2500 block of Harlem Avenue (which extends west from the church) ”a typical slice of Baltimore”: "The 2500 block of Harlem Avenue is a microcosm of middle-class Baltimore. . . . A visit to the…

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The Stafford was once an elegant hotel serving the elite of Baltimore and the many high-profile figures visiting the city. The hotel was designed by founding member of the Baltimore AIA chapter Charles E. Cassell and when it opened in 1894, it was…

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Once a bustling department store complex on North Gay Street, the Great House of Isaac Benesch and Sons has been vacant for over a decade as the Old Town Mall waits on the progress of long stalled revitalization efforts. Isaac Benesch started his…

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Located on Hillen Street, the Null House is a rare eighteenth century home dating from around 1782. Once common throughout the city, only a handful of these small wood frame houses remain, largely in Fells Point. Named for the antique shop that…

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The Shot Tower, when it was built in 1828, was the tallest structure in the United States until 1846. Once there were three such towers in Baltimore; now there are only a few left in the entire world. The design of the 215-foot tall Phoenix Shot…

Subjects: Industry

Built in 1899, the West Arlington Water Tower was originally used to supply water to the West Arlington neighborhood in northwest Baltimore just across the city line. The community developed quickly around it with the West Arlington Improvement…

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The Clifton Park Valve House on St. Lo Drive in Clifton Park is a magnificent Gothic revival stone and tile-roofed structure built between 1887 and 1888. It was built to house the machinery used in the operation of Lake Clifton, which was once part…

Subjects: Architecture

The Roland Water Tower was built in 1905 as a 211,000-gallon water tank to supply residents to Hampden and nearby neighborhoods, part of a complicated water supply system that included the Western Pumping Station at Druid Lake. The design by William…

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In 1936, Sidney Friedman was riding a train to Baltimore and carrying a charcoal grill. Earlier that week, Friedman had dined at Ray's Steak House in Chicago and ate his very first charcoal-grilled steak. He'd never had anything like it. He asked the…

Subjects: Food

Today, from the rise within Riverside Park, established in 1875, a visitor can see the rowhouses and churches of South Baltimore densely packed around the park in every direction. During the War of 1812, this rise, long known as known as Look-Out…

Subjects: War of 1812

The Gwynns Falls first saw industrial development as early as the late 1700s and, by 1808, the small industrial village began to form around an early paper mill along the water where Dickeyville sits today. Although few of these early stone…

Subjects: Neighborhoods

707 South Regester Street was built between 1760 and 1780 when Regester was known as Argyle Alley. Deed research tracing back to 1814 shows the house was owned by Joseph Brown until he sold it to Issac Stansbury in October of 1814. It was originally…

Subjects: Architecture

Built in the late 1800s, the Mayfair Theatre, originally known as the Auditorium, was once considered one of the finest showhouses in Baltimore, if not the country. Though the building's ornate white stonework façade and grand marquee readily…

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"There is hardly a building in Baltimore that doesn't contain something we made, even if it is only a nail," boasts Theodore Krug, heir to the oldest continuously working iron shop in the country. For more than 200 years artisans here have hammered…

Subjects: Industry

During the War of 1812, Fell Street ran down a narrow stretch of land, with valuable water on both sides. William Price, who owned a shipyard at the east end of Thames, lived on Fell Street at 912 (built by 1802) and owned 903 to 907 (built 1779…

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Subjects: War of 1812

During the War of 1812, the Fell’s Point’s Market house, located at the site of the contemporary Broadway Market, served as an important gathering place. Twice a week, on market days, the streets teemed with shoppers, farmers, young boys and the…

Subjects: War of 1812

Built around 1800, 1706 Lancaster was home Thomas Kemp, a 24-year-old shipbuilder from St. Michaels on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, from 1803 to 1805 on the eve of the War of 1812. During the war, many regarded Kemp as the most skilled builder of…

Subjects: War of 1812

612 and 614 South Wolfe Street are perhaps the best known wooden houses in the Fell’s Point area as they are two of the smallest wooden homes remaining. Ann Bond Fell Giles, widowed wife of Edward Fell, inherited both properties following the death…

Subjects: Architecture

Davidge Hall on the University of Maryland Medical School Campus is the oldest medical facility building in the nation. The red brick structure is named after the school's founder and first dean, John Beale Davidge, designed by French architect…

Subjects: Medicine

One of the largest businesses on the West Side in the early twentieth century the Baltimore Bargain House -- a mail-order wholesale business that employed over a thousand people and earned profits in the millions that grew to become the fourth…

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On July 4, 1828, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence and a director of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, laid the cornerstone for the Carrollton Viaduct and remarked, "I consider this among the most…

Subjects: Transportation

First established in 1857, the Maryland Club started in a residence designed by Robert Mills on the northeast corner of Franklin and Cathedral streets and many of the Club's members lived in the area around Mount Vernon Place. At the start of the…

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First established in 1847 by a group of prominent businessmen, the Eutaw Savings Bank spent its first decade operating out of the Eutaw House Hotel located on the same site as the Hippodrome Theater. In 1856, the Eutaw Savings Bank purchased a lot…

The Brewers Exchange, a gorgeous, three story terra cotta Renaissance Revival building designed by noted local architect Joseph Evans Sperry (who designed the Bromo Seltzer Tower, as well as many other Baltimore buildings) that stands at the corner…

Subjects: Architecture

The "gastronomic capital of the world" declared Ralph Waldo Emerson on a visit to Lexington Market. Established in 1782 on land donated by John Eager Howard, Lexington Market was an overnight success as local farmers flocked to the site to sell their…

Subjects: Food

The Charles Theater began not as a movie house but as a street car barn and power house designed by architect Jackson C. Gott and built in 1892. The building then became a popular dance club hosting national acts such as Tommy Dorsey and the Glenn…

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Designed in 1890 by Charles H. Latrobe, then Superintendent of Parks, the Pagoda, was originally known as the Observatory. While known as the Pagoda because of its oriental architectural appearance, the design was intended to reflect the bold…

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Union Square began as part of Willowbrook, the John Donnell Federal-period estate, which he purchased in 1802 from Baltimore merchant and later Mayor Thorowgood Smith. In 1847, the Donnell family heirs donated the 2.5-acre lot in front of the manor…

Franklin Square Park is one of the oldest parks in the city, with its origins in the estate of Dr. James McHenry, who lived at a home known as Fayetteville located near Baltimore and Fremont Streets in the early 1800s. Born in Ireland, James McHenry…

Harlem Park started as one of the largest squares in West Baltimore, 9 ¾ acres, more than double the size of Franklin, Lafayette, or Union Square. The grounds of the park and much of the land around it had originally belonged to Dr. Thomas…

Named after Sir Walter Scott's 1814 novel Waverly, Waverly Terrace reflects the wealth of Franklin Square’s residents in the 1850s. The Baltimore Sun praised architect Thomas Dixon’s four-story row as "much handsomer than any yet finished in this…

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Built in 1868, the Sellers Mansion (801 North Arlington Street) is a three-story Second Empire brick house with a mansard roof that rivaled its outer suburban contemporaries in size, quality of craftsmanship, and attention to detail. Its carved stone…

Subjects: Architecture

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