At the corner of North Holliday Street and East Baltimore Street stands a monument to the first gas street lamp in the United States. Erected in 1997, the lamp is a replica of the early 19th century original. On the evening of June 11, 1816, local businessmen and socialites were invited to Rembrandt Peale’s Museum for a demonstration under the glow of artificial light. During a candlelit period in American history the forward-thinking Peale aimed to form a business around his gas light innovations, the exhibition targeting potential investors.
The gamble worked, and several financiers aligned with Peale, forming The Gas Light Company of Baltimore (the precursor to Baltimore Gas & Electric). Less than a year later, on February 7, 1817, the first public gas street lamp was lit in a ceremony one block south of City Hall. The Gayety Theatre is across the street.