Charm City. Mobtown. The City That Breeds. Site of the nation's first Washington Monument and the nation's first umbrella factory. Hometown of John Waters, Frank Zappa, Mama Cass, Philip Glass, Thurgood Marshall, David Byrne, Tori Amos, Tupac Shakur, John Doe, Cab Calloway, Billie Holliday, Upton Sinclair, Eubie Blake, Ric Ocasek, fudge and the Ouija Board. Where Homicide was shot. Where heroin is shot. Site of the Preakness Stakes. The final resting place of Edgar Allan Poe. My home for 20 years, ages 4 to 24.

Some time during the early settlement of Maryland, a tobacco port was founded somewhere on the upper Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay (probably at Turkey Point or Town Point on the Elk River). The first Baltimore, named after the Irish estate of Maryland's Lord Proprietor, did not last very long; but a new one was established in 1659 at Chilbury Point on the Bush River, as the county seat of the recently-created Baltimore County. Baltimore Town had a courthouse, but was beset by raids from the Susquehannocks and led a precarious existence.

Two years after the establishment of Baltimore County, several days' ride to the southwest of Baltimore Town, a certain David Jones setled on a stream running into the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River. Also, a Quaker by the name of Charles Gorsuch fled Baltimore Town to settle on Whetstone Point, the present site of Fort McHenry. We'll get back to that.

By 1677, the Susquehannocks were extinct. In 1691, the county seat was moved to the "Fork of the Gunpowder River", and Baltimore Town withered.

Meanwhile, some landowners down on the Patapsco River decided it would be a wonderful idea to have a tobacco port of their own, on a basin at the head of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River, near Jones Town. Their 1729 venture grew very slowly at first, but when the Ellicott Brothers opened their wheat mill nearby, all of the produce of Western Maryland began to be shipped out via Baltimore Town. The town soon merged with nearby Jones Town and Fells Point and the Baltimore County seat was moved from Joppa in 1768.

Baltimore saw none of the battles of the Revolutionary War but hosted the Continental Congress for a brief period in 1778.

Baltimore was created as a city in 1791 and became one of the principal ports and industrial areas in the new United States. It had a geographic advantage: it was the closest seaport to the Northwest Territory. The first Federal Highway project, the National Pike, Ended in Cumberland from which it was connected via existing roads to Baltimore. It became cheaper to ship the agricultural produce of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois through Baltimore. Maryland being a slave state, slave auctions could be found sharing the wharves with factories and shipyards.

During the early 1800's, Baltimore gained a reputation for mob violence, earning it the moniker "Mobtown". An infamous incident in 1812 saw a mob destroy the offices of a newspaper editor who dared suggest that the war recently declared might be a bad idea. Baltimoreans were all for the war, and the number of privateers that set out from Baltimore to attack British shipping was so great, the city was dubbed "a nest of pirates". Canadian irregulars managed to burn down Washington, DC but when they and British troops and ships attacked the city between September 11-14, 1814, they failed to effect its surrender. A year later The Battle Monument was erected in the middle of Calvert Street. This and other monuments would earn Baltimore the nickname "The Monumental City".

For a short period in the 1820's, the city's population surpassed even Philadelphia's, making it the second-largest city in the country. In 1825, the Erie Canal opened, taking away some of the city's advantage over New York.

Baltimore became the site of many firsts: the first diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, the first warship (Constellation) built for the United States Navy, the first monument to George Washington, the first commercially viable railroad, the first telegraph signal transmitted.

In 1851, Baltimore parted ways with Baltimore County, becoming an "independent city".

In 1861 Baltimore was the site of the first bloodshed of the Civil War, when a mob attacked a regiment of Massachusetts militia marching down Pratt Street between railroad stations on their way to Washington. This incident and the general secessionist feeling in Maryland caused Abraham Lincoln to declare martial law in Maryand, and the cannons in Fort McHenry were turned away from defending against seaborne intruders, pointing at the city itself.

The Civil War and the Erie Canal combined to slow the city's growth, at least relative to Philadelphia, New York, and Boston. It became an industrial center, where immigrants fresh off the boat would work in factories and mills. Despite Baltmore's participation in the City Beautiful Movement (during which Druid Hill Park and PAtterson Park were laid out), the city gained its reputation as a grim, blue-collar town.

A fire destroyed 85 blocks of the city in 1904, covering the entire area once developed by Charles and Daniel Carroll. The entire financial district had to be rebuilt.

The stock market crash in 1929 stifled the city's commercial sector so much that no new buildings were erected downtown for decades. However, its industrial sector continued to expand, meeting the demand for materiel during World War II, a notable example being the thousands of cheap, easy-to-build Libetry Ships that carried that materiel across the Atlantic Ocean.

After World War II, the city suffered the same exodus to the suburbs that other great American cities. Despite billions of dollars creating spectacular places to be seen at the city's core, Baltimore seems to have had no luck in stemming the tide, which turned into a flood during the 1990's.

Many people remain in Baltimore, however. It is a magnet for people who love the city's character, flaws and all. So come and at least have a look, Hon.


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1 -  Downtown / University of Maryland / Walters Art Gallery   14 -  Dundalk 2 -  Inner Harbor                                              15 -  Essex 3 -  Fells Point                                               16 -  Sparrowss Point 4 -  Canton                                                    17 -  Pikesville 5 -  Fort McHenry                                              18 -  Whitemarsh 6 -  Brooklyn                                                  19 -  Owings Mills 7 -  Oriole Park at Camden Yards                               20 -  BWI Airport 8 -  PSINet Stadium                                            21 -  Glen Burnie 9 -  Johns Hopkins University Homewood Campus                  22 -  MICA 10 - Johns Hopkins Hospital, Medical School                    23 -  UMBC 11 - Baltimore Zoo                                             24 -  Ellicott City 12 - Towson (Towson University)                                25 -  Columbia 13 - Parkville                                                 26 -  Lutherville, Timonium, Cockeysville
Numbers in italics label the area's largest roads/highways: Maryland     2, Governor Ritchie Highway, S to Annapolis US Highway  29, Columbia Pike, S to Washington, DC US Highway  40, Baltimore National Pike, W to Frederick               , Pulaski Highway, E to Aberdeen, Wilmington, DE Maryland    41, Perring Parkway Maryland    43, Whitemarsh Boulevard Interstate  70, W to Frederick, Ohio, etc. Interstate  83, Harrisburg Expressway, N to Harrisburg Interstate  95, John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway, N to Philadelphia, New York, etc.               , S to Washington, etc. Interstate  97, S to Annapolis, Bowie, Richmond Maryland   100, Interstate 195, BWI Airport Access Road Maryland   295, Baltimore-Washington Parkway, S to Washington Interstate 395 Interstate 695, Baltimore Beltway Interstate 795, Northwest Expressway, NW to Reisterstown, Westminster, Gettysburg Interstate 395, Harbor Tunnel Thruway

Independent City Located approximately 45 miles northeast of Washington, DC. Well known as a harbor port and as the site of the battle at Ft. McHenry where Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner, the song that would eventually be declared National Anthem of the United States of America.

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