Baltimore history


Eclipse over the Washington Monument
Baltimore, Maryland
July 23, 1945
A. Aubrey Bodine (1906-1970)
5x7 inch negative
Bodine Collection
Baltimore City Life Museum Collection
Maryland Historical Society

Full image and detail. Click to enlarge. 


101 Willard Street. Baltimore.

I’m always amazed at how much of Baltimore is frozen – not in ice, but in time. Today I visited 101 Willard Street, a complex of factory buildings that once housed the Eigenbrot Brewery. It opened in 1873, and closed with Prohibition in 1920. According to the website “Baltimore Slumlord Watch,” the address is no longer listed in Baltimore City records, and the owner of the property is a mystery. Yet there it sits, at the corner of Lombard and Willard, looking at once both grand, and tragic.

Union soldiers playing cards and drinking on Federal Hill in Baltimore, Maryland, c. 1864.



B-More informed!

Our friends over at the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University came up with a great list of of books, articles, videos, and other media that can help people to understand the current and historical situation in the city of Baltimore.  

We modified their list to include the call numbers and locations of the materials available in our Library here.

Pictured above is just a sampling of the many resources available. 

We hope to complement resource lists provided by MICA Office of Community Engagement – see that page for “Artists Responding! Resource List” and “MICA Resource Document.”

Materials are displayed at the Circulation Desk in the Library, and available for check-out. 

Night street scene
Bolton Street from Dolphin Lane, Baltimore, Maryland
Hughes Company
8x10 inch glass negative
Baltimore City Life Museum Collection
Maryland Historical Society


The other day i was given a very rare and amazing opportunity to explore and photograph a national treasure. The Washington Monument in Baltimore, Maryland, and got to see the underground vaults and see George’s stunning panoramic view of the city. Construction began on July 4th 1815 and was completed by 1829. Closed off to the public three years ago, scaffolding went up in January 2014 and renovations have begun on the monument. 

 While often overshadowed by Washington D.C.’s own Washington Monument, Baltimore’s was the first architectural structure dedicated to George Washington in the country.

The interior is crumbling and water damage and erosion has taken it’s toll over the years. Recently while monument restoration crews were working on removing plaster in the underground vaults, some 19th century graffiti was uncovered for the first time. names, drawings and scribbles from circa 1820-1829 from presumably construction workers of the time. 

The grand re-opening of the monument is scheduled to take place on July 4th 2015, the bicentennial of its original construction.

Click Here for the full set


Well His Name Was Vivien Theodore Thomas 

(August 29, 1910 – November 26, 1985) Without any education past high school, Thomas rose above poverty and racism to become acardiac surgery pioneer and a teacher of operative techniques to many of the country’s most prominent surgeons. 

He was an African-American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat blue baby syndrome in the 1940s. He was the assistant to surgeon Alfred Blalockin Blalock’s experimental animal laboratory at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and later at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland

He served as supervisor of the surgical laboratories at Johns Hopkins for 35 years. In 1976 Hopkins awarded him an honorary doctorate and named him an instructor of surgery for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Something the Lord Made (2004) With Alan Rickman, Yasiin Bey “Mos Def”, Kyra Sedgwick,

At last, I have found the designer of the Harper family memorials, and it was none other than the esteemed John H. B. Latrobe! I feel rather foolish for not recognizing the Harper family, as they were so very prominent and influential in the early history of Maryland (and the US).

For more information about the Harper family, you can start with the Wikipedia entry, and for the designer of these fascinating little markers there is an excellent article from the Baltimore Sun.

One day I will compile the entire collection of these and make a single photoset.

New Cathedral Cemetery
Baltimore, Maryland


It’s Throwback Thursday!! Check out this amazing interactive 2.5 billion pixel image that recreates Baltimore City in 1815 - right after the attack by the British. The map was made by UMBC’s Imaging Research Center!

UMBC’s Imaging Research Center has spent more than two years researching and creating a highly detailed 3D model of the Baltimore region. Viewers can now explore the early city’s history, stories, and vibrancy.

We found the spot for Maryland Institute’s Center Market Building (completed in 1851, and lost in the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904) at Center (“Marsh”) Market on Baltimore Street, and the very green area where MICA’s current campus is located!

Check out the interactive map here, and read more about MICA’s history here!

“Young Hucksters”
Baltimore, Maryland
Elinor B. Cahn
8x10 inch photograph
The East Baltimore Documentary Photography Project
Baltimore City Life Museum Collection
Maryland Historical Society

Copyright Elinor B. Cahn, 1977

“In 1976, Maryland Institute College of Art photography professor Linda G. Rich, and two of her students, Joan Clark Netherwood and Elinor B. Cahn, began work on a project documenting the large swath of neighborhoods collectively known as East Baltimore. What was intended to be merely a project for Rich’s class on social documentary photography, instead evolved into a four-year undertaking, resulting in over 10,000 photographs, and a unique portrait of a neighborhood in transition.” Read more about the background of The East Baltimore Documentary Project.

This Day in History: Feb. 6

In 1895, baseball legend George Herman “Babe” Ruth was born at 216 Emory Street in Baltimore. On what would have been the Bambino’s 73rd birthday in 1968, the city bought the house along with three other houses and lots on its street. The Mayor’s Committee for the Preservation of Babe Ruth’s Birthplace originally considered demolishing the houses and rebuilding them near Memorial Stadium, but eventually decided to restore the buildings at their original location. Today, the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum still stands on Emory Street. (Leroy Merriken, Baltimore Sun photo, 1931)

1778: The United States won official recognition from France with the signing of treaties in Paris.

1924: President Woodrow Wilson was buried at the Washington National Cathedral.

1933: The Constitution’s 20th Amendment took effect, designating Jan. 20 as the date of presidential inaugurations.

1946: The Baltimore Youth Advisory Board recommended that a school be established in the city to train and educate parents of juvenile delinquents.

Compiled by Laura Lefavor and Paul McCardell.

[Baltimore] City Hall, Centennial Illumination
[100 Holliday Street, Baltimore, Maryland]
Unidentified photographer
8x10 inch glass negative
Glass Plate Negative Collection
Maryland Historical Society

Google Maps Street View of Baltimore City Hall from Gay Street:

View Larger Map


I think Baltimore has such a beautiful skyline. You just don’t know whats underneath it. *giggles* Anyway these were all taken from the Pagoda in Patterson Park. The Pagoda is Gorgeous. The stairs however were no Joke. I was very careful going up and down them.