Baltimore - The Monumental City
( Originally Published 1900 )
The head of Chesapeake Bay, on either side of the Susquehanna River, is composed of various broad estuaries, with small streams entering them. To the eastward the chief is Elk River, and to the westward are the Gunpowder and Bush Rivers, with others. Not far above the Severn is the wide tidal estuary of the Patapsco, so named by the Indians to describe its peculiarity, the word meaning "a stream caused by back or tidewater containing froth." A few miles up this estuary is the great city and port of the Chesapeake, Baltimore, so named in honor of Lord Baltimore, and containing, with its suburbs, over six hundred thousand people. The spreading arms of the Patapsco, around which the city is built, provide an ample harbor, their irregular shores making plenty of dock room, and the two great railways from the north and west to Washington, which go under the town through an elaborate system of tunnels, give it a lucrative foreign trade in produce brought for ship-ment abroad. From the harbor there are long and narrow docks, and an inner " Basin " extending into the city, and across the heads of these is Pratt Street. This highway is famous as the scene of the first bloodshed of the Civil War. The Northern troops, hastily summoned to Washington, were marching along it from one railway station to the other on April 19, 1861, when a Baltimore mob, sympathizing with the South, attacked them. In the riot and conflict that followed eleven were killed and twenty-six were wounded. A creek, called Jones's Falls, coming down a deep valley from the northward into the harbor, divides the city into two almost equal sections, and in the lower part is walled in, with a street on either side. Colonel David Jones, who was the original white inhabitant of the north side of Baltimore harbor, gave this stream his name about 1680, before anyone expected even a village to be located there. A settlement afterwards began eastward of the creek, known as Jonestown, while Baltimore was not started until 1730, being laid out westward of the creek and around the head of the " Basin," the plan covering sixty acres. This was called New Town, as the other was popularly termed Old Town, but they subsequently were united as Baltimore, having in 1752 about two hundred people.
Baltimore is rectangular in plan and picturesque, covering an undulating surface, the hills, which are many, inclining either to Jones's Falls or the harbor. Its popular title is the "Monumental City," given because it was the first American city that built fine monuments. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the State of Maryland erected on Charles Street a monument to General Washington, rising one hundred and ninety-five feet, a Doric shaft of white marble surmounted by his statue and upon a base fifty feet square This splendid monument stands in a broadened avenue and at the summit of a hill, surrounded by tasteful lawns and flower gar-dens, with a fountain in front. It makes an attractive centre for Mount Vernon Place, which contains one of the finest collections of buildings in the city, and presents a scene essentially Parisian. Here are the Peabody Institute and the Garrett Mansion, both impressive buildings. Baltimore has a " Battle Monument," located on Calvert Street, in Monument Square, a marble shaft fifty-three feet high, marking the British invasion of 1814, and erected in memory of the men of Baltimore who fell in battle just outside the city, when the British forces marched from Elk River to Washington and burnt the Capitol, and the British fleet came up the Patapsco and shelled the town. The city also has other fine monuments, so that its popular name is well deserved.
The City Hall is the chief building of Baltimore, a marble structure in Renaissance, costing $2,000,000, its elaborate dome rising two hundred and sixty feet, and giving a magnificent view over the city and harbor. There are two noted churches, the Mount Vernon Methodist Church, of greenstone, with buff and red facings and polished granite columns, being the finest, although the First Presbyterian Church, nearby, is regarded as the most elaborate specimen of Lancet-Gothie architecture in the country, its spire rising two hundred and sixty-eight feet. The Roman Catholic Cathedral is an attractive granite church, containing paintings presented by Louis XVI, and Charles X. of France. Cardinal Archbishop Gib-bons, of Baltimore, is the Roman Catholic Primate of the United States. The greatest charities of the city are the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Johns Hopkins University, endowed by a Baltimore merchant who died in 1873, the joint endowments being $6,500,000. Hopkins was shrewd and penurious, and John W. Garrett persuaded him to make these princely endowments, much of his fortune being in-vested in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, of which Garrett was President in its days of greatest prosperity. This railroad is the chief Baltimore institution, giving it a direct route to the Mississippi Valley, and was the first started of the great American trunk railways, its origin dating from 1826, when the movement began for its charter, which was granted by the Maryland Legislature the next year. This charter conferred most comprehensive powers, and the story is told that when it was being read in that . body one of the members interrupted, saying : "Stop, man, you are asking more than the Lord's Prayer." The reply was that it was all necessary, and the more asked, the more would be secured. The interrupter, convinced, responded : "Right, man ; go on." The corner-stone of the railway was laid July 4, 1828, beginning the route from Baltimore, up the Potomac and through the Alleghenies to the Ohio River.