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Branches of Baltimore History

Archive for May, 2009

Sculptor J. Maxwell Miller

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Star-Spangled Banner Confederate Women Ferdinand Latrobe Tucker Memorial

J. Maxwell Miller (1877-1933) studied sculpture at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, and between 1900 and 1905, traveled to France to learn further from Raoul Verlet at the Julian Academy in Paris. His creations were well received in Europe, and when he returned to Baltimore he began his private practice preparing fine art for commission. Miller’s detailed work is best exemplified in the Star-Spangled Banner Centennial Monument in Patterson Park. Dedicated in 1914, during the city’s centennial celebration of defensive victory in the War of 1812, the monument was placed directly in front of the park’s observatory. The accessible location allows a close inspection of Miller’s craft.

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May 23rd, 2009 at 12:23 pm

Posted in All Posts,Artist

Baltimore’s Holocaust Memorial

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E Lombard Street & S Gay Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 16.74″ N 76° 36′ 30.01″ W

History

One of the more ominous spots in the city, the Holocaust Memorial sits just a few blocks north of the Aquarium and takes up an entire city block. In the 1970s a ninth grade Baltimore Hebrew class told their teacher, Alvin Fisher, they didn’t believe the Holocaust occurred. Mr. Fisher promptly took a proposal for a memorial to Charm City’s Jewish Counsel, hoping to erase the unfortunate misconception. They granted his wish and the site was chosen, an area downtown owned by the Baltimore City Community College. The memorial consists of a monolith resembling a train with a steel gate symbolizing the internment of Jews in concentration camps. On the ground leading up to the large structure is a series of railroad tracks, tall grass growing from between the rails. At the southern end of the park a statue was erected, in 1988, that has since become the center-piece of the memorial. Two Baltimore businessmen and philanthropists, Melvin Berger and Jack Luskin, donated funds for the monumental flame. Dedicated in memory of the Night of Broken Glass, the 1938 destruction of Jewish homes, communities and synagogues by the Nazis, the sculpture is the creation of artist Joseph Sheppard and displays the bodies of victims engulfed in fire. Sheppard also sculpted the Pope John Paul II statue near the Basilica of the Assumption.

Notes

Baltimore’s Holocaust Memorial has seen many changes over the years. It was constructed in 1980 at a cost of $300,000 and consisted of a grassy mound and two 80 foot blocks of concrete. The stark scene became a haven for the city’s homeless and a plan to re-design the area was presented in 1995. Architect Jonathan Fishman was commissioned to create the empty rail yard that exists today. A plaque, it’s inscription written by author Deborah Lipstadt, was dedicated in 1997 upon completion of the project. Several Holocaust survivors attended the ceremony.

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May 23rd, 2009 at 10:20 am

Memorial Stadium Urn at Camden Yards

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S Eutaw Street & W Lee Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 16′ 55.96″ N 76° 37′ 14.29″ W

History

Memorial Stadium was completed in 1950. The outdoor professional sports arena was a renovation of the old Baltimore (or Municipal) Stadium that was built, in 1922, on 33rd Street in Waverly. The north Baltimore site was primarily the home of the city’s football clubs until 1944 when Orioles Park, an all wood framed structure nearby that housed the baseball team, burned to the ground completely, prompting the Orioles to move into the facility up the street. The larger stadium interested Major League Baseball, with it’s capacity for crowds in excess of 20,000, helping Baltimore finally receive a full charter franchise. Six years later the re-construction was complete and the new park was officially opened as the home of the Orioles and the National Football league’s Colts. In 1976, after the conclusion of a Colts-Steelers football game a single engine plane crashed into the upper deck. The pilot was apparently buzzing the stadium, but his approach was too low. No one was hurt in the incident.

The front facade of the stadium was a memorial to the Veterans of both World Wars. Dedicated in 1954, the edifice was nearly saved during the razing of the structure, but was finally taken down in 2002. The resulting materials from the demolition were used to create an artificial reef in the Chesapeake Bay. The military veterans memorial was moved to the southern side of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It consists of an urn on pedestal and a large sloped wall displaying the message once inscribed on the old memorial. The urn contains soil from military cemeteries around the world. The monument was rededicated on March 31, 2003, as part of the Orioles opening day ceremonies.

Notes

The old ballpark’s home in Waverly is now the site of Stadium Place, a complex containing multiple apartment buildings for seniors and the states largest YMCA. A memorial Bell Tower has been erected, along with an Egyptian-style pergola, just slightly west of the stadium’s original front gates.

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Written by monumentcity

May 22nd, 2009 at 10:25 am

Johnny Unitas Statue at Ravens Stadium

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W Hamburg Street & Russell Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 16′ 45.09″ N 76° 37′ 19.89″ W

History

Johnny Unitas was one of the greatest American football players of all time. When he retired from the league, in 1974, he held practically every record for quarterbacks, finishing his career with 290 touchdowns and over 40,000 yards passing. After attending Louisville University, Unitas was drafted by his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers, but did not make the team. He eventually landed at a tryout for the Baltimore Colts and was asked to join the organization. That following NFL season when the Colts starting quarterback went down he was inserted in to the starting lineup, and ended up winning the MVP award. The next year he led the team to their first of back-to-back championships in what sports historians call the greatest game ever played. Unitas died of heart attack on September 11, 2002.

Notes

The fourteen-foot tall monument depicts Unitas in a throwing motion, seemingly heaving a long pass down field. Erected at the north entrance of Ravens Stadium, the statue sits in the middle of Unitas Plaza. Giant posters of the legendary quarterback flank the ticket gates on either side of the bronze likeness. 290 replicas of the sculpture, each standing 21 inches tall, were created as well, one for each touchdown Unitas threw during his professional career. Dedicated on October 20, 2002, the statue is the creation of artist Frederick Kail. A slightly smaller Unitas memorial, also made by Kail, is situated at the Louisville University football stadium.

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Written by monumentcity

May 21st, 2009 at 10:28 am

Frederick Douglass Memorial in Fells Point

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South Caroline Street & Philpot Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 16′ 45.60″ N 76° 35′ 46.80″ W

History

One of the most important figures in American civil rights, Frederick Douglass spent his honorable life defending human liberties, including his own. Born a slave in Talbot County, Maryland, Douglass was passed around between owners for most of his early life. He began learning to read at an early age from the white children in his neighborhoods and from Sophia Auld, the wife of his Baltimore owner, Hugh Auld. Douglass began reading newspapers at the age of twelve, helping to form the basis of his ideas of liberty at a young age. Constantly angering his owners through his courage and knowledge, he was shipped off to a rural farm run by a man know for “breaking slaves”. Here, at the age of sixteen, Frederick’s spirit was crushed until he finally fought back against his enemy. He won the fight and began planning his escape, eventually succeeding through the help of the Underground Railroad. He immediately joined abolitionist groups and began writing and making speeches. His autobiography, published in 1845, was a major success and his status as leading man for his numerous causes was established.

Notes

The memorial bust is placed on the grounds of the newly opened Frederick Douglass Isaac Myers Maritime Park. The park is part of the Living Classrooms project and is located at the site of the first African-American owned and operated shipyard in the United States. Douglass worked at these docks during his early years in Baltimore. The statue sits right on the dock and is constructed in sections. The artist Marc Andre Robinson created the work and it was installed in 2006. A second Douglass monument is located on the campus of Morgan State University.

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Written by monumentcity

May 20th, 2009 at 10:33 am

Frederick Douglass Statue on Morgan State’s Campus

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Hillen Road & E Cold Spring Lane on Morgan State’s campus

GPS: 39° 20′ 49.27″ N 76° 35′ 2.91″ W

History

The idea to erect a Frederick Douglass statue on the campus of Morgan State University was conceived in 1943. The notion was presented to and carried out by the Maryland Educational Association. Artist James E. Lewis was chosen to design the monument, an associate professor at the university, Lewis was the obvious choice for the project. By 1956 the memorial was completed and unveiled in front of the school’s Holmes Hall, a building named for Morgan’s former president Dwight O. W. Holmes.

Notes

The eight-foot tall bronze cast stands in a high traffic area of campus directly north of the school’s stadium. Douglass is shown in a dignified stance with a cane in his right hand (the cane given to him by Abraham Lincoln’s widow, Mary Todd). A second monument to the great orator can be found at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park at Harbor East.

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Written by monumentcity

May 20th, 2009 at 10:31 am

Black Soldiers Statue at War Memorial Plaza

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100 N Holliday Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 27.21″ N 76° 36′ 36.05″ W

History

Dedicated on May 30, 1972, this monument to African-American servicemen slain in the protection of their country is by artist James E. Lewis. Paid for by an anonymous donor, it stands on the west end of War Memorial Plaza, facing the magnificent War Memorial Building with its aquatic horse statues. Behind the statue rises Baltimore City Hall. The statue was originally installed on the north side of the Battle Monument, but opponents argued it would detract from the importance of that memorial, and it was moved to it’s current location.

Notes

On January 17, 2009, President-Elect Barack Obama came to War Memorial Plaza to deliver a well-attended speech in which he referenced Baltimore and Maryland’s historic role in the formation of the United States. The Black Soldiers Statue stands on the former site of the Holliday Street Theatre, a famous playhouse where Junius and John Wilkes Booth once performed.

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May 19th, 2009 at 10:52 am

Boy Scout Statue in Hampden

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Sisson Street & Wyman Park Drive (Street View)

GPS: 39° 19′ 17.54″ N 76° 37′ 40.88″ W

History

Dating back to 1937, this sculpture is by R. Tait McKenzie and is also known as the Ideal Boy Scout. It stands outside the Morris and John D. Schapiro Scout Service Center, headquarters of the Baltimore Area Council. McKenzie’s sculpture has been duplicated for more than thirty Boy Scout centers across the nation. A small version of this sculpture was originally crafted as a desktop statuette by McKenzie in 1914. Between 1914 and 1937, a total of five scouts served as models for the completion of the life-sized statue which is a composite of these individuals. The Boy Scouts are one arm of the worldwide scouting movement which was formed in 1907.

Notes

The re-purposed Stieff Silver building is across the street to the north, and it houses the Scout Shop of Baltimore City, along with other businesses and non-profits. Across from Stieff Silver is a section of the Jones Falls Trailhead, an excellent bike path which drops down a switchback to follow the Jones Falls along Old Falls Road. Or, you can cross the bridge to the west into Druid Hill Park, home of many monuments, sights and some great under-used bike paths.

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Written by monumentcity

May 19th, 2009 at 10:50 am

Baltimore City Firefighter’s Memorial

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N Gay Street & E Lexington Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 29.05″ N 76° 36′ 33.06″ W

History

This monument dates from 1990 and is by artist Tylden Streett, who taught for a time at the Maryland Institute College of Art and was also responsible for the statue of Capt. John O’Donnell in Canton Square. The monument is dedicated to all members of the Baltimore City Fire Department, past, present and future. Erected by the Baltimore City Firefighter’s Monument Committee, the statue cost some $150,000, much of which was raised by private donations.

Notes

The statue stands at the north-east corner of War Memorial Plaza, outside of the plaza proper. A sister memorial to Baltimore City’s police lies just to the east across the terminus of the highway, within view of the Shot Tower.

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May 19th, 2009 at 10:41 am

Edgar Allan Poe Grave Monument

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The Edgar Allan Poe grave monument is located at West Fayette Street & North Greene Street at Westminster Burying Ground. Designed by Baltimore architect George A. Frederick and executed by Hugh Sisson, the memorial was commissioned in 1874, 25 years after the author’s death. Poe was originally buried (with no headstone) in the back of the graveyard with his grandfather, grandmother and older brother. In 1875, after an upswell of community support for the writer, Poe’s body was moved to its current location with a monument unveiling ceremony attended by relatives, fans and the poet Walt Whitman. Eventually Virginia and Maria Clemm Poe were interred along with him. In 1913 a second headstone was placed in the Poe family lot marking the spot of Edgar Allan’s initial entombment.

Written by monumentcity

May 18th, 2009 at 4:22 pm