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Explore Baltimore Heritage

All Stories: 188

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…

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…

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…

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…

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

Construction on School No. 18 on Harlem Avenue, designed by Baltimore Building Inspector J. Theodore Oster was completed in December 1892. The Baltimore Sun described the new building writing: "It is two stories high, of imposing appearance, and is…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

Built in 1925 over the loud protests of West Baltimore residents, the Ward Baking Company is a three-story-and-basement, brick and concrete structure. Long retired as a factory, the building had been used by a church by is now largely vacant. The…

Constructed in 1911, the American Ice Company is an enduring reminder of West Baltimore’s industrial development with a striking brick facade on W. Franklin Street and a powerhouse that backs up to the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks. At the time of…

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…

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…

After a brief stint in New York, Ogden Nash returned to Baltimore in 1934 and wrote: "I could have loved New York had I not loved Balti-more." Nash grew up in Rye, New York and first came to Baltimore for love. On a trip to the Elkridge Hunt Ball in…

Subjects: Literature

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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

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…

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

John McDonogh, a Baltimore-born merchant and philanthropist, was born in 1779 and died in 1850, bequeathing half of his estate to the City of Baltimore to educate children. However, since the public school system already existed in Baltimore, the…

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

Long before places like Sports Authority or Dick's Sporting Goods opened their doors, Little Joe's on the northwest corner of Howard and Baltimore was selling everything from camping equipment and fishing gear to bikes and saddles. In addition,…

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…

"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…

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

Designed by noted Scottish American theatre architect Thomas Lamb, the Hippodrome Theatre opened in 1914 as one of the first theatres in the United States to operate both as a movie house and a vaudeville performance venue. Local theatre impresarios…

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…

Up near the top of this handsome Neoclassical detailed brick building at the corner of Fayette and Paca Streets is a stone stone entablature reading "1801 Baltimore General Dispensary 1911" - a visible reminder of this building's important past.…

For such a small park, this green block on John Street has had a large impact on the history of Bolton Hill. In the early 1950s, a group of local residents organized to establish the park, one of the first "vest pocket" urban parks in the country.…

Subjects: Urban Renewal

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…

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…

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

Touted as "modern market in the country," and now considered an early prototype for suburban shopping centers, the North Avenue Market opened in 1928 with 12 retail stores and 22 lane bowling alley on the second floor at a cost of $1,850,000.The site…

Subjects: Food

Druid Hill Park was established on the eve of the Civil War by Baltimore Mayor Thomas Swann on October 19, 1860. Much of the park started as part of "Auchentorlie," the estate of George Buchanan, one of the seven commissioners who founded Baltimore…

Subjects: Environment

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…

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…

Subjects: Environment

Since 1857, Lafayette Square has been Baltimore’s height of fashion. Situated atop a ridge in an area once noted for its fine country villas and breadth-taking panoramic views of the waterways, rolling hills and public landmarks of the bustling…

Subjects: Environment

The Harlem Park Theatre was originally built as a church for a congregation that had outgrown the size of their existing building. Construction on this Romanesque-style building on Gilmore Street began in the summer of 1902. The building had a Port…

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…

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