1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Baltimore
|←Baltimore, George Calvert, 1st Baron||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 3
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BALTIMORE, a city and seaport, and the metropolis of Maryland, U.S.A., the 7th city in population in the United States. It is at the head of tide-water on the Patapsco river and its middle and north-west branches where they form an estuary 12 m. from the entrance of their waters into Chesapeake Bay, in lat. 39° 17′ N. and long. 76° 37′ W., about 172 m. by water from the Atlantic Ocean, 40 m. by rail N.W. from Washington, 26 m. N. by W. from Annapolis, 97 m. S.W. from Philadelphia, and 184 m. from New York. Pop. (1890) 434,439; (1900) 508,957 of whom 79,258 were negroes, and 68,600 foreign-born (of these 33,208 were natives of Germany, 10,493 of Russia, 9690 of Ireland, 2841 of England, 2811 of Poland, 2321 of Bohemia and 2042 of Italy); (1910, census) 558,485. It is served by the Baltimore & Ohio, the Philadelphia, Baltimore & Washington (the Pennsylvania system), the Baltimore & Annapolis Short Line, the Baltimore, Chesapeake & Atlantic; the Northern Central; the Western Maryland and the Maryland & Pennsylvania railways; and by steamship lines running directly to all the more important ports on the Atlantic coast of the United States, to ports in the West Indies and Brazil, to London, Liverpool, Southampton, Bristol, Leith, Glasgow, Dublin, Belfast, Havre, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Bremen, Hamburg and other European ports.
The city extends nearly 6½ m. from E. to W., and except on the W. side a little more than 5 m. from N. to S., covering an area of about 32 sq. m. The ground on which it is built is for the most part gently rolling; originally some portions were swampy and others were marked by precipitous heights, but the swamps have been drained and filled and the heights rounded off. Jones's Falls, a small stream shut in between granite walls several feet in height, crosses the N. boundary line a short distance W. of its middle, flows S.E. to the S.E. corner of the main business quarter, and there meets the north-west branch of the Patapsco, in which lies the harbour, defended at its entrance by the historic Fort McHenry, built at the S.E. extremity of Locust Point, an irregular peninsula extending S.E., on which are grain-elevators and a number of wharves, including those of the Baltimore & Ohio railway.
That part of the city which lies E. of Jones's Falls is known as East Baltimore, and is in turn nominally divided into Fells' Point to the S. and E., now a shipbuilding and manufacturing quarter, and Old Town to the N. and W. In the Old Town still remain a few specimens of eighteenth century architecture, including several old-fashioned post-houses, which used to furnish entertainment for travellers starting for the Middle West by way of the old Cumberland Road beginning at Fort Cumberland, and from Baltimore to Fort Cumberland by a much older turnpike. The more inviting portion of the modern city lies on the western side of Jones's Falls, and the principal residential districts are in the northern half of the city. A little S. from the centre of the city, Baltimore Street, running E. and W., and Charles Street, running N. and S., intersect; from this point buildings on these two streets are numbered N., S., E. and W., while buildings on other streets are numbered N. and S. from Baltimore Street and E. and W. from Charles Street. Baltimore Street is the chief business thoroughfare; S. of it as well as a little to the N. is the wholesale, financial and shipping district; while West Lexington Street, a short distance to the N., and North Howard and North Eutaw Streets, between Fayette and Franklin Streets, have numerous department and other retail stores. In North Gay Street also, which runs N.E. through East Baltimore, there are many small but busy retail shops. North Charles Street, running through the district in which the more wealthy citizens live, is itself lined with many of the most substantial and imposing residences in the city. Mount Vernon Place and Washington Place, intersecting near the centre of the city, Eutaw Place farther N.W., and Broadway running N. and S. through the middle of East Baltimore, are good examples of wide streets, having squares in the middle, adorned with lawns, flower-beds and fountains.
The buildings of the principal business quarter have been erected since 1904, when a fire which broke out on Sunday the 7th of February destroyed all the old ones within an area of 150 acres. Within a year after the fire, however, 225 places of business were again occupied and 170 more were building. A city ordinance prohibited the erection of any building more than 185 ft. in height, and prescribed a uniform height for those in the same neighbourhood; a large portion of the new buildings are of either three or four storeys, but a few tall ones range from ten to sixteen. The principal materials of which they are built are limestone, granite, marble and bricks, and terra-cotta of various colours.
The city hall, the post-office and the court-house, standing in a row, and each occupying a separate block along E. Fayette Street in almost the exact centre of the city, are three of Baltimore's most imposing buildings, and all of them narrowly escaped destruction by the great fire. The city hall, completed in 1875, in the Renaissance style, consists of a centre structure of four storeys surmounted by an iron dome 260 ft. high, and two connecting wings of three storeys surmounted by a mansard roof; the entire outer facing is of white Maryland marble. The post-office, completed in 1890, is built of Maine granite. The court-house, completed in 1899, is of white marble, with mural paintings by La Farge, E. H. Blashfield and C. Y. Turner. Two of the principal library buildings—the Peabody and the Enoch Pratt—are faced with white marble. Among the churches may be mentioned the Roman Catholic cathedral, surmounted by a dome 125 ft. high—Baltimore being the seat of a Roman Catholic archbishopric, the highest in rank in the United States; the First Presbyterian church (decorated Gothic), with a spire 250 ft. high; the Grace Episcopal church—Baltimore being the seat of a Protestant Episcopal bishopric; the First Methodist Episcopal church; and the synagogues of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and the Oheb Shalom Congregation. Other notable buildings are the custom-house, the Masonic Temple, the Maryland Clubhouse, the Mount Royal station of the Baltimore & Ohio railway, and the buildings of the Johns Hopkins hospital. There are several good bridges across Jones's Falls.
On an elevated site at the intersection of Washington Place—a continuation of N. Charles Street—with Mount Vernon Place stands a white marble monument in honour of George Washington, the eldest of the monuments in his honour in the United States. The corner-stone was laid in 1815 and the monument was completed in 1829. The base is 50 ft. sq. and 24 ft. high; on this stands a Doric column, 25 ft. in diameter at the base and 130 ft. high, which is surmounted by a statue of Washington 16 ft. high. A winding stairway in the interior leads to a parapet at the top. In the square by which the monument is surrounded are also statues of George Peabody by W. W. Story (a replica of the one in London), Roger Brooke Taney by W. H. Rinehart, and John Eager Howard by Emmanuel Frémiet; and bronze pieces representing Peace, War, Force and Order, and a figure of a lion by Antoine L. Barye. The Henry Walters collection of paintings, mostly by modern French artists, and of Chinese and Japanese bronzes, ivory carvings, enamels, porcelain and paintings is housed in the Walters Art Gallery at the S. end of Washington Place; at the south-east corner of the square is the Peabody Institute with its conservatory of music and collection of rare books, of American paintings, and of casts, including the Rinehart collection of the works of William H. Rinehart who was a native of Maryland. In Monument Square near the post-office and the court-house is the white marble Battle Monument, erected in 1815 to the memory of those who had fallen in defence of the city in the previous year; it is 52 ft. high, the column being in the form of a bundle of Roman fasces, upon the bands of which are inscribed the names of those whom it commemorates; and the whole is surmounted by a female figure, the emblematical genius of the city. To this monument and the one in honour of Washington, Baltimore owes the name "The Monumental City," frequently applied to it. A small monument erected to the memory of Edgar Allan Poe stands in the Westminster Presbyterian churchyard, where he is buried; there is another monument to his memory in Druid Hill Park. In Greenmount Cemetery in the north central part of the city are the graves of Junius Brutus Booth, Mme Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (1785-1879), the wife of Jerome Bonaparte, Johns Hopkins, John McDonogh and Sidney Lanier.
In 1908 there were in the city under the jurisdiction of the department of public parks and squares 13 parks of 10 acres or more each and 33 squares, and the total acreage of parks was 2188 acres and of squares 86.53 acres. Chief among the parks is Druid Hill Park in the N.W. containing 672.78 acres and famous for its natural beauty. Clifton Park, of 311.26 acres, 2 m. E. of Druid Hill and formerly a part of the Johns Hopkins estate, passed into the possession of the city in 1895. Patterson Park in the extreme S.E., of 125.79 acres, is a favourite resort for the inhabitants of East Baltimore.
Education.—Baltimore ranks high as an educational centre. Johns Hopkins University (q.v.) is a leading institution of the United States for graduate study. The Peabody Institute, founded in 1859 by George Peabody, who was for some years a resident of Baltimore, is an important factor in the promotion of science, literature and the fine arts. Goucher College (Methodist, 1888) for women, is one of the best institutions of the kind in southern United States. The older of the two state normal schools, opened in 1867, is located here. Morgan College (Methodist), opened in 1876, offers the advantages of a college education to the coloured young people. Loyola College, founded in 1852, and various other institutions are for the training of the Catholics.
The McDonogh farm school, about 12 m. N.W., with a farm of 835 acres, a printing-office, and carpenter and machine shops prepares poor boys to enter any college in the country. The institution owes its origin to a bequest left by John McDonogh. Among the professional schools are the university of Maryland and Baltimore University—each of which offers courses in law, medicine and dentistry—the Baltimore Medical College, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Woman's Medical College, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, the Maryland College of Pharmacy (since 1904 part of the university of Maryland), the Baltimore Law School, St Joseph's Seminary and St Mary's Seminary, which, established by the Society of St Sulpice in 1791, is said to be the oldest Catholic theological seminary in the United States. The city also has a Polytechnic Institute, as well as high schools for white and for coloured pupils. The principal libraries are those of Johns Hopkins University, Peabody Institute, Maryland Historical Society, and the Bar Association; and the Enoch Pratt, the New Mercantile, and Maryland Diocesan (Protestant Episcopal).
The charitable institutions of Baltimore are numerous. Several such institutions supported wholly or in part by the state of Maryland (q.v.) are located here, and besides these there are scores of others. A representative list includes:— the Charity Organization Society, the primary object of which is to organize the work of the others; the Baltimore Association for the Improvement of the Condition of the Poor, which seeks to discourage indiscriminate alms-giving; the Bay View asylum or city poorhouse; the Children's Aid Society; the Thomas Wilson Fuel-Saving Society, for furnishing coal at low rates; the Woman's Industrial Exchange, for assisting women in need to support themselves; Johns Hopkins hospital, noted for the excellence of its equipment especially for heating and ventilating; Saint Joseph's general hospital; hospital for the women of Maryland of Baltimore city; nursery and child's hospital; Baltimore eye, ear and throat charity hospital; Maryland hospital for the insane; the Sheppard asylum, intended especially for the cure of the insane; the Sheppard and Enoch Pratt hospital; the Baltimore orphan asylum; Saint Vincent's infant asylum; the Thomas Wilson sanatorium for children, intended for children under three years of age, who are suffering from disease, during the warm summer months; the Free Summer Excursion Society, for affording a change of air to the indigent sick; home for the incurables; homes for the aged; homes for friendless children; institutions for the blind; and institutions for the deaf and dumb.
Water for the city taken from Jones's Falls and Gunpowder river a few miles N. of the city limits, is brought through tunnels, and is stored in eight reservoirs having an aggregate capacity of 2275 million gallons. The whole system is owned by the municipality and can furnish about 300 million gallons daily. After the fire $10,000,000 was appropriated for a new sewage system (begun 1906). In 1900 the Maryland legislature empowered the city to borrow $1,350,000 to establish a municipal lighting plant, but in 1909 private concerns still supplied the streets with light.
Commerce.—The harbour, which consists of three parts, is excellent. Its entrance at Fort McHenry is a channel 600 ft. wide, with a minimum draft (1907) of 31 ft. of water. The depth is continued with an increased width for a mile and a quarter to near Fells' Point, where the width is contracted to one-fourth of a mile with a depth of 16 ft. Above this entrance it widens into an ellipse a mile long, half a mile broad and 15 ft. deep. The third or inner harbour has a depth of 14 ft. and penetrates far into the city. Vessels of the largest class can lie at the Locust Point wharves and Canton, and vessels of 4000 tons can use the inner harbour W. of the mouth of Jones's Falls. By 1905 $5,000,000 had been appropriated since the great fire for new docks. In 1908 the city ranked fourth among the Atlantic ports of the United States in the amount of its exports ($82,113,496), and fourth in the amount of its imports ($23,722,045).
That Baltimore has grown rapidly as a manufacturing city since 1880 is seen from the fact that in that year there were but 3683 manufacturing establishments, with a total annual product valued at $78,417,304, as compared with 6359 establishments (of which 2274 were under the factory system) in 1900 producing commodities valued at $161,249,240 ($135,107,626 under the factory system); in 1905 there were 2163 establishments under the factory system with a total annual product valued at $151,546,580, an increase of 12.2% in the five years. The city ranked eighth among the manufacturing centres of the United States, as regards the value of products, in the three successive censuses of 1880, 1890 and 1900. In 1905 it was ninth. Baltimore is noted particularly as the most important centre in the United States of the canning and preserving industry. The output in 1905 ($5,981,541) of the city's establishments for the canning and preserving of fruits and vegetables was 7.7% of that of the whole United States; in 1900 it had been 15% of the country's total. What seems to have been the first oyster-canning establishment in America was built in Baltimore (by a Thomas Kensett) in 1820, and oyster-canning as a distinct industry on a permanent footing was begun here in 1850. The term "cove oysters," now applied to canned oysters everywhere, was originally applied to the oysters found in the coves on the W. side of the Chesapeake Bay, above the mouth of the Potomac. Up to 1900, after which year oyster canneries began to be built in the southern states, especially in Mississippi, Baltimore was the centre of the oyster-canning industry. Baltimore is also a well-known centre for the manufacture of clothing, in which in 1905 ($22,684,656) it ranked fourth among the cities of the United States; for cigar and cigarette-making (1905, $4,360,366); for the manufacture of foundry and machine shop products (1905, $6,572,925), of tinware (1905, $5,705,980), of shirts (1905, $5,710,783), of cotton-duck (the output of sail-duck being about three-fourths of the total for the United States), bricks (about 150,000,000 annually), and fertilizers; it also manufactures furniture, malt liquors, and confectionery, and many other commodities in smaller amounts. The markets, especially the Lexington market, are noted for the abundance and great variety of their produce. The proximity of coal-mines, the abundance and variety of food supplies furnished by the state, the great quantity and variety of the city's manufactured goods, the excellent shipping facilities, and the consequent low cost of living, are prominent features of the physical life of the city.
Government.—Although the charter under which Baltimore is governed came into effect as late as 1898, it is only the second one for the city, the first one having been in force for 101 years. The mayor is now elected for a term of four years; he must be at least twenty-five years of age and must have property in the city valued at $2000 or more, on which he shall have paid taxes for two years preceding his election. Great responsibility is centred upon him by giving him power to appoint the heads of departments and sub-departments, subject to the approval of the second branch of the council, and permitting him to remove at pleasure for six months after an appointment; in appointing a board or commission, however, he is required to choose the members from more than one political party. He has five days in which to veto an ordinance, and an affirmative vote of three-fourths of the members of each branch of the council is required to pass an ordinance over his veto. The council, constituting the legislative department, consists of two branches. The first branch is composed of one member from each ward, elected for a term of four years; the second branch of two members from each of four districts, and a president elected by the city at large, all for a term of four years; a property qualification is prescribed for members of each branch. All municipal officers are elected in May in order to separate municipal from state and national elections. No street franchise can be granted for a longer term than twenty-five years, and the right to regulate the exercise of each and every franchise is reserved to the mayor and council. A board of estimate, composed of the mayor, the city solicitor, the comptroller, the president of the second branch of the city council, and the president of the board of public improvements, has control over appropriations, the council having power to decrease the amount of any item but not to enlarge it. To create a debt for any purpose other than to meet a temporary deficiency, the mayor and council must first obtain the consent of both the state legislature and the city electorate. The department of education is intrusted to an unsalaried board of nine commissioners, appointed by the mayor with the approval of the second branch of the council for a term of six years, three retiring every two years. This board appoints a superintendent, six or more assistant superintendents, and the teachers of the high schools and the Polytechnic Institute, also the other teachers, but only according to the superintendent's recommendation on the basis of merit.
History.—Baltimore was named in honour of the Lords Baltimore, the founders of the province of Maryland, but no settlement was made here until nearly 100 years after the planting of the colony; meanwhile at least two other town-sites, on which it was hoped permanent towns might be established, had received the same name, but nothing came of either. Finally, however, while the provincial legislature was still engaged in the practice of directing places to be laid out for towns, where, as events proved there was nothing to give these towns more than a mere paper existence, that body in 1729 directed seven commissioners to purchase 60 acres of land on the N. side of the Patapsco and lay it out in sixty equal lots as the town of Baltimore. Three years later, at the instance of the same body, Jones-Town (Old Town) was laid out on the opposite side of Jones's Falls, and in 1745 these two towns were consolidated. About the same time the resources of the interior, for which Baltimore was to become a trade centre, were being rapidly developed by the Germans. Prior to 1752, in which year there were only twenty-five houses with two hundred inhabitants, the growth of the city had indeed been slow; but only a year or two later wheat loaded in its harbour was for the first time shipped to Scotland; during the war between the French and the English at this time some of the unfortunate Acadians found new homes here; in 1767 Baltimore was made the county seat; by the beginning of the War of Independence its population had grown to 6755; and in 1780 it was made a port of entry. The city early became an important shipping centre; during both the War of Independence and the War of 1812 many privateers were sent out from it, and in the interval between these wars, the ship-owners of Baltimore had their share in the world's carrying trade, the "Baltimore clippers" becoming famous. In 1797 Baltimore received its first charter, having been governed until then from Annapolis and through commissions with very limited powers; at the same time the Fells' Point settlement, founded about 1730 by William Fells, a ship carpenter, was annexed. During the War of Independence, the Continental Congress, frightened from Philadelphia in 1776, sat for several weeks in a hall in W. Baltimore Street near Liberty Street; during the same war also fortifications were first erected on the site of the present Fort McHenry. This fort effectively protected the city in 1814 when attacked by the British, and it was during the attack that Francis Scott Key, detained on one of the British attacking vessels, composed the "Star Spangled Banner." In 1860 all three of the candidates opposed to Lincoln—Douglas, Breckinridge and Bell—were nominated here, and here in 1864 President Lincoln was nominated for a second term. The city has been the meeting-place of other important conventions, and is sometimes called "The Convention City." At the outbreak of the Civil War on the 19th of April 1861, the Sixth Massachusetts regiment, while passing through Baltimore, was attacked by a mob and several men were killed on both sides; in the following month the city was subjected to military rule and so continued until the close of the war. From 1856 to 1860 Baltimore was under the control of the American or Know-Nothing party, and suffered greatly from election riots and other disorders, until as a remedy the control of the police system was taken from the mayor and council and exercised by the state government. Soon after the Civil War a Democratic "machine" got firm control of the city, and although a struggle to overthrow the machine was begun in earnest in 1875 by a coalition of the reform element of the Democratic party with the Republican party, it was not till 1895 that the coalition won its first decisive victory at the polls. Even then the efforts of the Republican mayor were at first thwarted by the council, which passed an ordinance over his veto, taking from him the power of appointment and vesting it in themselves; the Maryland court of appeals, however, soon decided that the council had exceeded its powers, and an important outcome of the reform movement was the new charter of 1898. Annexations of suburban territory in 1888 and 1890 greatly increased the area of the city.
- J. H. Hollander, Guide to the City of Baltimore (Baltimore, 1893).
- T. P. Thomas, "The City Government of Baltimore" (in Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science, Baltimore, 1896).
- St G. L. Sioussat, "Baltimore, the Monumental City" (in L. P. Powell, Historic Towns of the Southern States, New York, 1900).
- J. T. Scharf, Chronicles of Baltimore (Baltimore, 1874).