Baltimore Favorite Tips by grandmaR Top 5 Page for this destination
Baltimore Favorites: 83 reviews and 142 photos
My sister and me at Carlin
Favorite thing: When we were little, my mother used to take us to Carlin's to go ice skating. I didn't know it at the time of course, but Carlin’s Park was founded by John Jacob Carlin in 1919 as Liberty Heights Park on 70 acres that had originally been part of the Gittings Estate at Ashburton
It included a large swimming pool, a roller rink and an ice rink where the Baltimore Orioles, a semi-pro team in the Eastern Hockey League, played. The ice rink was one of the first places Sonja Henie skated in ice shows before becoming famous. Owner John J. Carlin died in May 1954 and in 1956 a fire destroyed the ice skating arena.
Fondest memory: My mother wanted some family activity that would get my dad some exercise, so we all joined the Ice Club of Baltimore and regularly ice skated at Carlin's. My sister and I practiced the "figures" and did some of the more elementary ice dances and even learned some little jumps and a spin. I remember doing some of the ice dances with a very old man who also went to the roller rink and skated there (this was WAY before in-line skates).
My mother made our costumes, and the one pictured was reversible - one side was blue and one side was red. We wore danskin tights. If you had looked in the back of my hat, you would have seen a scarf folded up in it so that if I fell, my head would be cushioned. Not only that, but my mother sewed the pompoms on the hats in different places. Mine were on the side because I had a narrow face and my sister who had a round face had hers on top
We moved to Towson in 1950 and I don't think we went skating after that
But then when we lived in RI where ice skating was available (like it hadn't been in Key West when we lived there), the older two girls and I joined the ice club in Providence and we all went skating. They did the figures, and the jumps and spins and dances that I had done 25 years before. And I made some of their outfits
Historic District of Roland Park water tower
Favorite thing: When we lived in Roland Park, we were in a neighborhood that was walkable, but also had public transportation. The trolley ran down the middle of Roland Avenue. It went all the way to Lake Roland at the north end, and I remember taking a field trip from school on the trolley to the lake.
When University Boulevard split off of Roland Avenue, if we wanted to go downtown, we would transfer to the trackless trolley at the water tower. The Italianate octagonal Roland Water Tower was built by the City of Baltimore in 1904-05. The area where the water tower stands is now a Historic District.
We could walk to our school going down an alley and across in front of a small block of stores. A branch of the Enoch Pratt library was right across the street. If we got up early enough, we could walk to Sunday School, although usually our parents drove us there, and we just walked home.
Fondest memory: When I went back to Baltimore in July 2007 to do the closing on my mother's house, I drove through Roland Park on my way home. I took some pictures of our old school which looked pretty much the same (although bigger). I drove up our street and took pictures of our old house.
I took a picture of the library which had a bunch of construction in front of it (photo 3). Apparently it was enlarged and the newly refurbished library opened there in 2008
I took a picture of the stores that I used to walk across in front of to school (or run if I was late). In those days it was an A&P grocery store, a Graul's grocery store, and the store where I used to buy Turkish taffy with the money I was supposed to use for lunch. Now there's a big Starbucks and Eddies grocery store.
Statue in downtown Baltimore
Favorite thing: Baltimore has lots of monuments. They built the first monument in the US to George Washington back in 1829 (photo 5)
The first photo is of a statue of John Mifflin Hood, early president of the Western Maryland Railway. Mr. Hood played an important role in shaping the Western Maryland Railroad (it became a "Railway" after 1911) into a strategic "bridge line" that linked the Port of Baltimore with western points.
During his stewardship, Western Maryland passenger trains also used the Pennsylvania Railroad line from the west, stopping at Pennsylvania Station, to reach the Western Maryland's Hillen Station in downtown.
The statue is unusual because few statues were ever commissioned to honor men of the railroad industry. Some people think it should be at Pennsylvania station instead of here.
Fondest memory: This picture was taken from the car and wildcard03 kindly confirmed the identification of it for me.
Yes, that's John Mifflin Hood, president of the WM Ry. from 1874 to 1902. The monument is located in St. Paul Place, a small park located along St. Paul Street where it is crossed by Orleans Street (on an overpass) in downtown Baltimore.
The third picture is of the statue of Lafayette at the base of the Washington Monument of Baltimore, and the fourth photo is of the statue Major George Armistead at Ft McHenry - he was the one who commanded the fort when the Star Spangled Banner was written
House as it was when we lived there
Favorite thing: When it came time for me to go to school, my parents moved from an apartment to a house in Roland Park which is an old established neighborhood in Baltimore. Roland Park was the first planned "suburban" community in North America and it was developed between 1890 and 1920 as an upper-class suburb. The early phases of the neighborhood were designed by Edward Bouton and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. A street car line connected it to the city. This line was still in operation on Roland Avenue when we lived there.
I think my parents moved here so I could go to Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, a K-8 school, which has earned the Blue Ribbon for Academic Excellence from the state department of education.
Since my dad was an assistant professor with a small salary, they couldn't afford a big house, and we ended up with the original farm house in the district on the fifty cent side of Roland Avenue. (The other side with the big homes designed by Olmsted was the "dollar side").
When we sold my mom's house after she died, I went back and took a photo of our old house. When we lived there it had brown shingles, red shutters and a white picket fence. My mother put window boxes on the upstairs windows which were to keep us (me) from climbing out onto the roof as my mother thought that would be dangerous. It didn't work.
Fondest memory: The house had a porch around the front and part of the side. The front door led into what was originally the front parlor. My father used this room as his study. The next room right behind it was our living room and dining room (photo 3 which shows me and my mother's desk with a bust of me as a child, and a photo of my grandmother over it). Back of that was the big farm kitchen. Behind that was the pantry and woodshed. Upstairs there was a front room, a side room and a back room and an indoor bathroom had been sectioned off of the back room. In the basement was the furnace which burned coal. There was a one car garage which was too small even for a 1948 car.
The street we lived on (St. Johns Rd.) was very narrow (photo 5). People could not park on both sides or no one could drive through. This meant that we were pretty much safe to bike or roller skate or play in the street without fear of traffic
We lived here from sometime during WWII until 1950 when we moved to Towson
Now, the shingles have been painted grey, the shutters are white, and the picket fence is gone (photo 2). But the street is still narrow and shady (photo 4)
Skyline in 1954 leaving the pier
Favorite thing: The Baltimore Steam Packet Company (known locally as the Old Bay Line) carried people up and down the bay from 1840 to 1962. It ran primarily between Baltimore and Norfolk, although they also had trips to Annapolis, D.C. and Richmond at various times. My husband remembers that they would stop in Hampton at Old Point Comfort on the way to Norfolk. When it ceased operation in 1962 after 122 years of existence, it was the last surviving overnight steamship passenger service in the United States. One of the ships was famously re-named the S.S. Exodus and in 1947 Jewish refugees from Europe sailed her to Palestine in an unsuccessful attempt to emigrate.
Fondest memory: Our family took a trip down the bay in 1954. We had our new Ford station wagon loaded on the boat, and we left Baltimore in the evening, and got to Norfolk early the next morning. We went past Fort McHenry, and under the brand new (just finished in 1952) Chesapeake Bay Bridge (aka the William Preston Lane, Jr. Memorial Bridge - photo 3). Of course in those days the bridge was a single span.
Tulip at Sherwood 1954
Favorite thing: At Sherwood Gardens, approximately 80,000 tulip bulbs are planted annually along with other spring flowering bulbs. Sherwood who planned the gardens often ordered the bulbs he used from the Netherlands. It is now the most famous tulip garden in North America.
Also dogwoods, flowering cherries, wisteria and magnolias bloom throughout the garden.
Fondest memory: We used to make a visit to Sherwood Gardens each spring around the end of April or in May to look at the new tulips. This was before Mr. Sherwood died in 1965.
Favorite thing: Natty Boh is the nickname for National Bohemian - beer brand which was first brewed in 1885 by the National Brewing Company (whose other brands were National Premium and Colt 45) in Baltimore. Their slogan "The Land of Pleasant Living" referred to the Chesapeake Bay.
For a time, National's head Jerry Hoffberger also owned the Baltimore Orioles; Natty Boh was served at Memorial Stadium and became the "official" beer of Baltimore in the late 1960s
The company's mascot, the one-eyed, handlebar-mustachioed Mr. Boh, has been a recognizable icon since the 1950s. He is still a highly popular, especially in Baltimore, where it is considered an unofficial city mascot.
Even though the beer is now brewed in by Miller Brewing in North Carolina and distributed by Pabst, Mr. Boh still appears on all cans, bottles, and packaging; and merchandise featuring him can still easily be found in shops all over Maryland.
Fondest memory: Every time we go through the I-895 Tunnel, I see the Mr. Boh neon sign which currently sits atop the former site of the National Brewery building in Canton, Baltimore. The former brewery is now known as Natty Boh Towers and is rented out as apartments and offices.
Bromo-Seltzer Tower clock above Orioles Stadium
Favorite thing: Acetaminophen, sodium bicarbonate, and citric acid (a-seat-a-MIN-oh-fen, SOE-dee-um bi-KAR-boe-nate, and SI-trik AS-id) is a combination taken to relieve pain caused by heartburn, sour stomach, or acid indigestion. The acetaminophen is a pain reliever. The sodium bicarbonate is an antacid to neutralize stomach acid by combining with it to form a new substance that is not an acid. This medicine called Bromo Seltzer is available without a prescription.
Captain Isaac Emerson, the inventor of Bromo-Seltzer had this tower built at 312-318 West Lombard St. and South Paca St. next to his factory. The factory no longer exists.
Modeled after the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy the Bromo Seltzer tower has been a Baltimore landmark since 1911, although there are other buildings on the skyline that overshadow it now.
I don't remember it, but the tower was originally topped with a 51-foot revolving replica of the blue Bromo-Seltzer bottle, which was illuminated by 596 lights and could be seen from 20 miles away. The bottle had to be removed in 1936 (before my time) due to structural concerns.
The four clock faces are all still working and the face displays the word BROMO-SELTZER instead of numbers. The tower is not open to the public.
Johns Hopkins statue from Charles Street
Favorite thing: In the 1940s, Charles Street was one way going south. Then in 1953, a "swaggering, self-taught traffic engineer named Henry A. Barnes" came to Baltimore and changed the traffic flow. In his 1965 autobiography, "The Man With the Red and Green Eyes" he reported that on traffic hearings on the plan to reverse Charles Street, "one female citizen . . . came dripping in mink and exuding all the old airs of historic Baltimore. . . . 'You just don't understand, Mr. Barnes,' she said. 'You're a newcomer here. We have traditions in Baltimore. . . . If you reverse the direction of the street, you're making it easy for the people of South Baltimore to use Charles . . . and they will.'"
I remember Barnes (I was in HS then). Most of what he did made a lot of sense to me.
I had a Pittsburgh college friend who came to live in Baltimore. She could not get over how easy Baltimore was to drive in compared to Pittsburgh (and I have to say also compared to D.C. or Boston).
Fondest memory: One of the things Barnes did was move a lot of monuments out of the middle of streests.
From a Baltimore City Paper article by Tom Chalkley in 2001:
"He considered Baltimore's fondness for monuments a monument to municipal insanity: "Next to crab cakes, [monuments] were the citizens' second greatest passion. It didn't matter if the monument was an eyesore, if it was erected to someone who had long since been forgotten, or if it was a menace to their own lives and property." The "worst of these dillies," he wrote, was the pedestal honoring Johns Hopkins, which sat in the middle of Charles near Johns Hopkins University. Nicknamed "The Birthday Cake," the Hopkins shaft had caused a number of fatalities prior to Barnes' arrival. Defying his critics, he moved it to its present-day niche at Charles and 33rd Street, where, Barnes wrote, "the sports fan could view it in awe and admiration . . . after the Orioles had lost to the visiting team.""
Homewood Campus from the car
Favorite thing: Baltimore is lucky to have two fine medical schools in the city.
My dad taught Anatomy at the University of Maryland Medical School which was (along with the other professional schools of Law, Pharmacy and Dentistry and the hospital) in Baltimore City.
But most people only knew Johns Hopkins medical school and hospital. So when I said my dad was a medical school professor, they'd always ask "Hopkins?" and I would always say, "No, the University of Maryland". They would say "Oh" in a very disappointed, dismissing tone.
This used to irritate me because I thought my dad was the best and resented the idea that he must be in some way inferior because he was not at Hopkins. I haven't really changed my mind about Hopkins.
I feel that in some cases they trade on their reputation which is sometimes a bit inflated. The University gets less grants, and is ranked lower because the rankings take Hopkins reputation (gained in the late 1800s and early 1900s) into account.
Fondest memory: Although my sister would disagree with me, one of the things I liked best to do was to go down to the gross anatomy lab and watch the medical students dissecting the cadavers. I thought this was fascinating - the smell of formaldehyde is nostalgic for me.
When I reached puberty (around age 11-12) my mom made me stop going down there because I reported to her that one of the students had told me that I had 'fine bones' and wouldn't ever be fat. (Obviously he was wrong about that!!) This set off her maternal alarm bells, and after that I wasn't allowed down there without my dad.
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