theodore mckeldin

This Day in History: Feb. 25
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In 1947, Mayor McKeldin held a family meeting to determine whether he would seek re-election. Mrs. McKeldin, 11-year-old Teddy and 7-year-old Clare voted unanimously against him entering the race. McKeldin did not run that year, but in 1951 he became governor of Maryland after defeating William Preston Lane Jr. McKeldin served as governor until 1959, and he became the last Republican to be elected mayor of Baltimore when he won his campaign for a second and final term as mayor in 1963. (Baltimore Sun photo, 1965)

1836: Inventor Samuel Colt patented his revolver.

1971: Three Maryland lacrosse players were elected to the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame – Ivan Marty of University of Maryland, Fritz Stude of Johns Hopkins University and Thomas Truxton of the Naval Academy.

1973: The Stephen Sondheim musical “A Little Night Music” opened at Broadway’s Shubert Theatre.

1987: Local developers and the Charles Street Management Corp. started a six-week media blitz aimed at convincing those in the Baltimore area to live downtown rather than in the suburbs. The 55-second radio spots featured jazz singer Ethel Ennis.

Compiled by Laura Lefavor and Paul McCardell.

The traffic cop who ruled Pratt and Light
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Traffic cop William “Podge” McKeldin and his horse, Bob. That’s his brother, Ted, the governor, at right, with the X through his face. (Hans Marx, Baltimore Sun, November 1952; Sun Archive, Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery, University of Maryland, Baltimore County)

Theodore McKeldin may have served as the mayor of Baltimore and the governor of Maryland, but there are those who would argue that his brother, Bill, was more famous, more beloved, maybe even more important to the day-to-day functioning of the city.

For 18 years, from 1937 to 1955, policeman Bill “Podge” McKeldin ruled the intersection of Pratt and Lights streets. Hat on head, boots on feet and whistle at the ready (even though he didn’t need one, so shrill was his own whistle), he directed traffic at what was, then, one of the busiest intersections in the country. Getting past Pratt and Light is no picnic now, but back then, it was truly fearsome. For one thing, the area was a busy, working port. And nearly all traffic heading north – and by north, we mean not only making for Towson, but also Philadelphia and points beyond – had to wind its way through Baltimore, and that often meant getting past Pratt and Light.

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