The New International Encyclopædia/Baltimore

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BALTIMORE. The metropolis of Maryland, and the sixth city in point of population in the United States, is situated on the Patapsco River, at the head of tide water and navigation, about 14 miles from Chesapeake Bay. The city extends about 6¼ miles from east to west, and between 4½ and 5½ miles from north to south, covering an area of 31½ square miles, or 20,160 acres.

Physical Characteristics. Baltimore is situated, in common with other great centres of the Atlantic border, at the junction of the plateau of old crystalline rocks and the overlying beds of younger and still unconsolidated formations, which stretch out toward the east. The hills within the city are composed of younger sands and gravels, which are cut through by such streams as Herring's Run, Jones's and Gwynns' Falls, and the Patapsco River. The climate of the city is temperate and bracing, removed alike from the bitter cold and enervating heat of more extreme localities.

Baltimore is roughly divided into two nearly equal parts by a small stream—Jones' Falls—which rises 20 miles to the north and flows entirely through the city. It is confined by granite walls, and is crossed by well-constructed bridges. The portion of the city northeast of the stream, of which Fells's Point and Canton, with wharves, factories, and canneries lining the water's edge, are respectively the south and southeast ends, is still denominated ‘Old Town.’ The southeastern section is occupied largely by immigrants, and presents the ordinary characteristics of a seaboard city. To the north, east, and northeast stretches the residential quarter of the city's bread-winners. Of the section west of the Falls, Locust Point is an irregular strip extending to the southeast, with numerous wharves, railroad terminals, and grain elevators, and tipped at the very extremity by Fort McHenry. The southwestern corner is Spring Garden. The wholesale business section extends north from Pratt Street, the extreme northern limit of the harbor, and is bounded by Paca, Baltimore, and Light streets. A little beyond is Baltimore Street, the chief latitudinal thoroughfare. Further on, widening out to the west, lies the retail shopping district, while beyond, extending half way to the northern limits, is the fashionable residential quarter. The northern and northwestern sections are substantial dwelling districts, fringing out to modest but comfortable artisans' homes. Houses are numbered in the decimal plan, running north and south from Baltimore Street, and east and west from Charles Street.

Monuments and Buildings. Baltimore is called the Monumental City, a title derived less from the number of its stone memorials than from the early date at which Washington Monument, in Mount Vernon Place—a noble marble shaft rising 104 feet, surmounted by a heroic figure of Washington—and Battle Monument, in Monument Square, were erected. Mount Vernon Place contains several bronzes by Barye and one by Dubois, the Rhinehart monument of Chief Justice Taney, and the Storey replica of the George Peabody Monument. Other monuments of interest are the Wells and McComas, the Armistead, the William Wallace, the Wildey, and the Ridgely monuments.

The characteristic of Baltimore architecture is solidity and convenience. The public buildings of interest in this connection are the city hall, the post office, the city jail, the Peabody Institute, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Enoch Pratt Free Library, the Masonic Temple, and, most beautiful of all, the courthouse, of white marble, in classic Renaissance style, with interesting mural paintings by Blashfield and Turner, and a bust of Severn Teackle Wallis, the distinguished Maryland jurist and man of letters. The Continental, Equitable, and Fidelity buildings are office structures that compare favorably with those of New York and Chicago. The important clubs of the city are the Maryland, occupying a beautiful Romanesque edifice of white marble; Baltimore, Athenæum, University, Phoenix, and Country (Roland Park). The Stafford, Rennert, Carrollton, Eutaw, and Belvedere are the principal hotels. A United States Sub-Treasury is located here.

Parks and Squares. The public parks and squares of Baltimore are beautiful and well distributed. The more important are Druid Hill (671 acres), Clifton (255 acres), Patterson (106 acres), Riverside (17 acres), and Federal Hill (8 acres). Druid Hill may be reasonably described as one of the finest parks in the United States. It abounds in natural beauties which have been carefully preserved and emphasized. Druid Lake, an artificial basin, is part of the municipal waterworks system. Carroll Park contains the historic Carroll mansion. Clifton Park was purchased from the Johns Hopkins University. Wyman Park, and a tract which will probably be called University Park, situated adjacent to Homewood (the prospective suburban site of the Johns Hopkins University), on Charles Street, bid fair to rank among the most attractive parks of the city.

Suburbs. Baltimore's suburban growth has been very rapid of recent years. The suburbs extend north and northwest of the city proper for about 10 miles, and are made accessible to the heart of the city by electric car lines. Among the more important of them are Arlington, Mount Washington, Roland Park, Walbrook, and Catonsville.


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Cemeteries. Greenmount Cemetery, containing the graves of many illustrious men, including those of John McDonogh, Johns Hopkins, and Sidney Lanier; Louden Park, and the National Cemetery, are the most important burial places. Westminster, one of the oldest and smallest church-yards in the city, contains the grave of Edgar Allan Poe.

Educational Institutions. Baltimore ranks as one of the foremost educational influences of the country. A graded system of public schools provides free instruction in kindergarten, primary, secondary, collegiate, and normal studies, and in manual training. The system comprises 109 schools, employing 1750 teachers, and instructing annually 85,000 pupils. Baltimore is the seat of the Johns Hopkins University, opened for instruction in 1876, and distinguished for its graduate courses. The institution owes its foundation to the beneficence of a Baltimore merchant, who left a large fortune, in two nearly equal amounts, for the endowment of a university and a hospital. Other institutions of learning are Saint Mary's Seminary of Saint Sulpice, Loyola College, Woman's College of Baltimore, Morgan College (colored), and Saint Joseph's Seminary (colored). Among the professional schools are the law and medical departments of the University of Maryland, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Baltimore Medical College, Baltimore University, Woman's Medical College, Maryland College of Pharmacy, and Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. The last named, founded in 1839, is the oldest dental college in the world. Other schools and academies are McDonogh School, Bryn Mawr School, Calvert Institute, Academy of the Visitation, Notre Dame of Maryland, and Mount de Sales Academy.

The Peabody Institute, endowed by George Peabody, who laid the foundation of his great fortune in Baltimore and entertained a strong friendship for its people, contains a valuable library of 143,000 volumes, an interesting art gallery, and a well-organized conservatory of music. The art galleries of Mr. Henry Walters contain one of the choicest private collections in the United States, and are opened to the public at certain seasons for the benefit of a local charity. The Maryland Historical Society has a valuable collection of books, pamphlets, and manuscripts, and an art gallery. The Maryland Academy of Sciences possesses interesting natural history collections. The Maryland Institute includes a school of art and design and a library.

The libraries of the city, in addition to those connected with the several institutions enumerated above, are the Enoch Pratt Free Library, containing more than 200,000 volumes, with branch libraries in various parts of the city; the Baltimore Bar Library, the Maryland Diocesan Library, the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty Library, and the New Mercantile Library.

Charitable Instititions. Among the important charitable institutions of the city, supported by endowment, private contribution, or public aid, are the Johns Hopkins Hospital, in construction and equipment one of the finest in the world; Sheppard-Pratt Insane Asylum, Maryland University Hospital, Union Protestant Infirmary, City Hospital, Maryland General Hospital, Saint Joseph's Hospital, Church Home and Infirmary, Hebrew Hospital and Asylum, Baltimore Orphan Asylum, Thomas Wilson Sanitarium, Saint Vincent's Infant Asylum, Nursery and Child's Hospital, Hebrew Orphan Asylum, Bay View Asylum (the city alms house), House of Refuge, Maryland Hospital for Insane, Mount Hope Retreat. Numerous other sectarian and nonsectarian institutions provide for the relief of the sick, needy, and the infirm. A Pasteur Institute, established by the city, is in successful operation.

Churches. The first Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States was founded in Baltimore. The city is also the seat of a Protestant Episcopal bishop and of a Roman Catholic archbishop (Cardinal Gibbons), whose diocese is the first in the United States. Important Roman Catholic Church assemblages have been held here from time to time, one of the most interesting being the Third Plenary Council in 1885.

The city abounds in noteworthy ecclesiastical structures. The Roman Catholic Cathedral, built in the early part of the Nineteenth Century, is remarkable for the chaste simplicity of its design and proportion of its parts. Of more recent construction are Grace Episcopal Church, First Methodist Episcopal Church, First Independent Christ's Church, First Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church, Associate Reformed Church, Vernon Place Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Eutaw Place, Madison Avenue, and Bolton Street synagogues.

Trade and Industry. Natural geographical situation, favorable trade connections, and unusual harbor facilities constitute Baltimore's chief commercial advantages. At the entrance to the harbor, the Patapsco River divides into the northwest, southwest, and middle branches. The northwest pierces 2½ miles into the very heart of the business portion of the city. The southwest and middle branches envelop the southern and southwestern sections, giving a long expanse of water front in close proximity to the lines of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. The main harbor, or that on the northwestern branch, has a water front, measured on the pier head line, of 6½ miles, an area of 630 acres, and while leaving ample fairways for the movement of vessels, furnishes 96 acres of anchorage grounds, on which the least depth of water is 19 feet. The whole of the lower portion of the harbor, covering the elevators and steamship piers, has a depth of 27 feet at mean low water. The harbor along the southwest and middle branches has, within the city limits, and measured on the pier bead line, a water front of 5½ miles, and nearly as much more on the opposite banks in the county. It covers an area of 1300 acres, and has channels of 17 feet depth at mean low water. This favorable geographical situation has been emphasized and developed by the establishment of direct lines of communication. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad reaches in one direction to Philadelphia, thence by direct connection to New York, and on the other hand penetrates to the west, southwest, and northwest to the waters of the Mississippi. The Northern Central Railroad serves to connect Baltimore with the great Pennsylvania system, and affords a direct outlet to the north. Two associated branches of the Pennsylvania system are the Baltimore and Potomac to Washington, and the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore to Philadelphia and the north and east. The Western Maryland Railroad, constructed largely through municipal aid, and extending in one direction through the fertile valley of the Shenandoah, and in another into the rich Cumberland Valley, has recently been acquired by the extensive Wabash system and made possible another great trunk line connection.

Regular communication between Baltimore and foreign ports is afforded by the North German Lloyd to Bremen, the Neptune Line to Rotterdam, the Atlantic Transport Line to London, and a number of other lines offering frequent service. The city is the largest corn exporting port in the United States. Other important articles of local export are wheat, flour, cotton, tobacco, copper, and coal. Importing activity centres about iron ore, bananas, pineapples, cocoanuts, sugar, and general merchandise.

The manufacturing enterprises of Baltimore are most varied, scarcely a single important industry being unrepresented. It is the largest manufacturing centre in the United States for ready-made clothing, shirts, fertilizers, straw goods, cotton duck, fruit canning, and oyster packing, while in other important fields its operations are of absolutely greater magnitude. The shipbuilding industry of Baltimore has recently undergone marked development. Sparrow's Point, with its great steel plant, Curtiss Bay, Locust Point, and Woodberry are busy industrial centres.

The closer proximity of Baltimore, by several hundred miles, to the great cotton belt of the South, to the grain-growing sections of the West, and to the wood, coal, and iron wealth of the interior, affords cheap and easy access to the raw materials of industry. The proximity of a rich and productive country, the low cost of water transportation, and the economy of domestic distribution through municipal markets, render the cost of living in Baltimore much less than in many cities of smaller size. The largest of these markets, Lexington, when in full activity, is one of the characteristic sights of the city.

Municipal Government. The Original municipal charter, granted in 1796 and repeatedly amended and modified, was replaced in 1898 by a modern reform instrument of government. Under its provisions the government of the city is vested in a Mayor, who holds office for four years, a bicameral city council, and various administrative departments, boards, and commissions. The municipal officials, with the exception of the city register and printer (elected by the city council), and the comptroller, surveyor, and president of the second branch of the city council (elected by popular vote), are appointed by the Mayor, with the consent of the higher branch of the city council. The Mayor, comptroller, city register, and president of the higher branch of the city council constitute a board of estimates, exercising essential control of municipal finances. The board of awards is of similar composition, with the register substituted for the city engineer. The Mayor, comptroller, register, and two other persons appointed by the Mayor serve as commissioners of finance in the administration of the municipal debt.

Baltimore spends annually, in maintenance and operation, about $9,500,000, the principal items of expense being: police department, $1,000,000; charity and corrections, $337,049; street lighting, $325,000; fire department, $550,000; parks and squares, $388,911; schools, $1,500,000; interest on debt, $1,000,000. The waterworks, representing a total construction expenditure of nearly $15,000,000, are owned and operated by the city. The entire system now includes some 634 miles of mains and nine reservoirs. The city has a gross bonded debt of about $40,000,000, and the assessed valuation of property, real, personal, and corporate, is $440,000,000. The city parks are maintained by a franchise tax upon the receipts of the street railways.

Population. The twelfth census (1900) of the United States gives the total population of Baltimore as 508,957, divided into 105,584 families, occupying 89,442 dwellings. Of this number 243,280 are males and 265,677 are females; 440,357 are native born and 68,600 are foreign born. The total number of whites is 429,218, and of colored 79,739. Of the whites 361,278 are native born, 67,940 are foreign; 236,053 of the native whites have native parents and 125,225 have foreign parents. The total illiterate population ten years old and over is 29,148, of whom 12,111 are white and 17,037 are colored.

History. The foundation of Baltimore is associated with the emergence of the proprietary Government of Maryland from an era of troublous times toward the close of the first quarter of the Eighteenth Century. With the expansion of commerce and the increase of population, it was not long before the need of a port near the head of Chesapeake Bay began to be felt. Attention was directed to a remarkable site on the north side of the Patapsco River, 14 miles from the waters of the bay, offering easy access and safe harbor to vessels of large size. On July 14, 1729, a petition was presented to the Provincial Assembly praying for the erection of a town at this point, and three weeks later a bill to this effect was passed.

The early life of the settlement was a race for supremacy in trade with older towns of the province, in which Baltimore slowly but surely forged ahead. The history of the city immediately before and during the Revolutionary War forms a familiar chapter in our national history. From Baltimore largely came the zeal and energy with which Maryland entered into the War of Independence, and which has made the valor of the Maryland Line immortal. The events of the war interrupted foreign commerce and cut off all continental supplies; but it stimulated local manufactures and shipping thereafter. Local merchants engaged extensively in the world's carrying trade, and ‘Baltimore clippers’ became famous. During the War of 1812 the city was attacked by land and water, but successfully defended in each case. During the bombardment of Fort McHenry, Francis Scott Key, while detained on board a British vessel, composed the national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” The introduction of new industrial methods succeeded the reactionary depression following the War of 1812. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad were projected and carried forward by local enterprise. The first telegraph line in the United States was constructed between Washington and Baltimore. Industry, trade, and commerce suffered heavily from the events of the Civil War. Communication with the South was completely cut off, and Western trade diverted to other channels. A mob attack upon a Massachusetts regiment in its passage through the city, on April 19, 1861, inflamed the country and led to the Federal occupation of the city. But the causes of prosperity were suspended, not destroyed, and as the prostrate industrial life of the territory naturally tributary to Baltimore revived, the city emerged into new importance as an industrial centre. The residential section of the city expanded, and in 1888 a large area or ‘belt’ of suburban territory was annexed to the corporate limits. The diversification of manufactures, the growth of commerce, the extension of trade, the increase of population, the influx of foreign elements, the rise of economic standards, the development of civic consciousness have been the essential elements in the later municipal history of Baltimore.

Consult: Scharf, The Chronicles of Baltimore (Baltimore, 1874); Thomas, The City Government of Baltimore (Baltimore, 1889); Hollander, Guide to the City of Baltimore (Baltimore, 1893); Love, Baltimore: The Old Town and the Modern City (Baltimore, 1895); and Hollander, The Financial History of Baltimore (Baltimore, (1899).