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Brooks Robinson Statue at Camden Yards

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Washington Boulevard and W Camden Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 17′ 6.42″ N 76° 37′ 22.63″ W

Brooks Robinson played his entire baseball career with the Baltimore Orioles, winning the MVP of the 1970 World Series. Considered the greatest defensive third baseman of all time, Brooks won 16 gold gloves during his 23 years in Major League Baseball. He was invited to 18 All-Star games and won the American League MVP award after the 1964 season. Brooks was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.

This statue was unveiled on October 22, 2011 next to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Oddly, the bronze likeness was not placed along side the Babe Ruth Statue on stadium grounds. Orioles owner Peter Angelos never offered the location and didn’t even show up to the ceremony. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was also absent without reason. The statue was privately instigated and funded by the former CEO of Crown Central Petroleum Henry Rosenberg.

The Maryland born Joseph Sheppard was chosen to execute the Oriole great’s monument. Sheppard created the Pope John Paul II statue and the Flame at the Holocaust Memorial. He also painted the mural of five panels inside Police Headquarters. Working out of his studios in Pietrasanta, Italy and Baltimore City, Sheppard has created a substantial body of work. The artist has reached a level of success achieved by few Baltimore artists. Architect: Richard Jones of Mahan Rykiel Associates.

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Written by monumentcity

March 27th, 2012 at 7:58 am

A Brief History of Baltimore’s Electric Streetcars

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America’s first commercially operated electric streetcar ran in Baltimore on August 10, 1885 when inventor Leo Daft converted the Baltimore and Hampden line from horse-drawn cars to his third rail system. The pioneering technology used current from a middle rail as its power supply. Often attributed to Frank Sprague, Daft’s electric train was in service before Sprague electrified Richmond Virginia’s public transit system.

In 1891 an extensive cable car system was established by the Baltimore Traction Company, its first line running from Druid Hill Park to Patterson Park. The expensive technology used underground steel cables to pull streetcars along at 6-11 mph. Power was supplied by steam engines placed in warehouses. The cable car system was abandoned in 1899, the same year Baltimore’s numerous transit providers consolidated into the United Railways and Electric Company.

After consolidation a multitude of technical obstacles needed to be dealt with. The various types of streetcars, tracks and power sources were slowly standardized into one working unit. A massive coal-burning power plant was erected on Pratt Street near the center of the system, its four smokestacks reaching 190 feet into the air. Overhead lines were stitched throughout the city, and structures, large and small, were erected or altered in many neighborhoods and districts.

Baltimoreans used streetcars not only for vocation and recreation but to extend their territorial boundaries. As City Council annexed county land residents began to migrate. Electric streetcars enabled workers to live further from their jobs, facilitating the city’s growth in the first half of the 20th Century.

Enter the automobile. By 1914 Henry Ford was producing a new Tin Lizzie every fifteen minutes using improved assembly line techniques. The proliferation of cars created the need for better roads and highways, marking the beginning of the streetcar’s decline. WWI and WWII provided significant bumps in business, but it was too late. City engineers gradually removed trolley tracks to accommodate the influx of new automobiles. The United Railways and Electric Company was slowly taken over by out-of-state interests and eventually dismantled. The bus system was chosen and in November of 1963 the last electric streetcar to operate in Baltimore made its final run.

Several monuments to the city’s trolley system remain. North Baltimore has three waiting stations: Bedford Square, Overhill and Edgevale Road. Numerous communities have tracks still installed on or under the streets, especially in the Fells Point area. Old power stations and car barns are still standing. The Charles Street streetcar barn, built during the cable car experiment of the 1890s, is just north of Pennsylvania Station next to the Chesapeake Restaurant building. Park Terminal near Druid Hill Park and Bolton Hill’s Linden Avenue stop are further examples of local streetcar relics.

The Baltimore Streetcar Museum offers rides on restored historic cars. Located under the North Avenue bridge, the unique museum is open on Sundays year round. The facility also contains the Maryland Rail Heritage Library, a valuable resource to local history.

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Written by monumentcity

February 15th, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Fasces Around Charm City

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Washington Monument Marquis de Lafayette Battle Monument Patterson Park

Fasces is a bundle of rods bound in ribbon with an axe contained within. Roman lictors, bodyguards of the republic, carried the symbolic weapon as they faithfully protected government officials. Lictors were physically capable men with the power to arrest citizens compromising the establishment. Fasces became a powerful mark of the Roman Republic, an emblem of democratic principals.

Baltimore has several examples of fasces decorating public monuments and architecture. Robert Mills designed the ornate wrought-iron fence around Mount Vernon’s Washington Monument. On the base of the nearby Marquis de Lafayette Monument is a subtle fasces representation. Both contain the axe.

The Battle Monument is a large bundle without an axe. Architect Maximilian Godefroy omitted the cleaver from America’s first servicemen memorial. The column’s ribbon is decorated with the names of those who lost their lives in the Battle of Baltimore. George Aloysius Frederick, architect of City Hall, added fasces to the main entrance markers to Patterson Park. The pillars occupy the northwest corner of the park adjacent to the pagoda.

Italian leader Benito Mussolini adopted fasces as motif for the National Fascist Party. Mussolini retained the axe at center as a message of potential applied force. The negative association confused the overall directive of the historic bundle. The examples above precede Mussolini’s application of the symbol.

Written by monumentcity

January 18th, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Posted in All Posts,Marker

Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Druid Hill Park

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The land for Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery was purchased for $3000.00 by the 2nd Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of Baltimore on October 25, 1854. The obscure location is west of the Jones Falls across from the neighborhood of Hampden. In 1860 the countryside surrounding the 4.5 acre cemetery was purchased by City Council under the guidance of Mayor Thomas Swann and turned into Druid Hill Park, the third oldest landscaped public park in America.

In 1868 the 2nd Evangelical Lutheran Church divided into three separate congregations: Saint Paul Evangelical Lutheran, Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran and Martini Lutheran Church. An agreement was reached to jointly maintain the burial ground thereafter. One stipulation of the agreement was that no lot owners could bury blatant blasphemers. During this transitional period the City of Baltimore bought 2.25 acres reducing the cemetery’s size by half.

The burial site was severely vandalized in 1986 leaving many of the markers tipped over and broken. A pile of stones remains at the base of an old growth tree. Today Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery is solely owned and operated by Martini Lutheran Church with the Friends of Druid Hill Park adding assistance. The two groups have made vast improvements to the yard. A stone-worker is repairing neglected memorials and someone is keeping the grass trimmed.

The peculiar family plot of Gottlieb Taubert lies unmarked in Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery. Lincoln conspirator George Atzerodt is supposedly buried with the Tauberts, secretly interred here by his mother and father sometime after 1869. Victoria and John Atzerodt went to Washington to retrieve their son’s remains when President Andrew Johnson pardoned those involved with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. They brought their son to Baltimore.

Upon reviewing the cemetery’s burial records at the Maryland Historical Society Library I noticed that a Viktoria Asserat (Victoria Atzerodt) was placed to rest in the Taubert lot in 1886. It’s my belief, and others, that George Atzerodt is buried anomalously along with his mother in the Gottlieb Taubert family plot, Lot 90 near the center of Saint Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in Druid Hill Park.

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Written by monumentcity

November 28th, 2011 at 7:27 am

Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery in Baltimore

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Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery is located in west Baltimore and is bound by Redwood Street to the north, Lombard Street to the south and Martin Luther King Boulevard to the west. 2.8 acres of land was purchased in 1800 as a burial ground for Old Saint Paul’s growing congregation. The church, established in 1692, is one of 30 original parishes granted to the Colony of Maryland by the Church of England.

Several prominent American war veterans are interred at Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery. Revolutionary War hero and Maryland politician John Eager Howard is buried here in his family vault. Howard is famous for leading the 3rd Maryland Regiment during the Battle of Cowpens. He later served as 5th Governor of Maryland from 1788 to 1791.

George Armistead rests within the park’s boundaries. Commander of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, Armistead died just four years after the epic Battle of Baltimore. His nephew Lewis Armistead became a Confederate Brigadier General during the American Civil War and was incredibly courageous at the Battle of Gettysburg, a battle which ultimately claimed his life. He lies next to his uncle near the cemetery’s center.

Francis Scott Key, author of the Star-Spangled Banner, was initially interred in the Howard family vault. His daughter Elizabeth was married to Charles Howard, the fourth and youngest son of John Eager Howard. Francis Key died at his daughter’s Mount Vernon home in 1843. His remains were moved to Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick, Maryland in 1866.

Jacob Small, Jr. is buried in Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery. Small fought in the Battle of North Point during the War of 1812 and later served as mayor of Baltimore. He designed the Aquila Randall Monument in 1817. The memorial still stands in Dundalk.

Other notable Marylanders at rest here are politicians Samuel Chase, James Carroll and George Howard. Chase signed the United States Declaration of Independence and eventually became an associate justice of the Supreme Court. His father, Reverend Thomas Chase, was the first pastor of Old Saint Paul’s Parish. James Carroll was a Congressman from Maryland and George Howard, 1st son of John Eager Howard, was the 22nd Governor of the state.

Robert Cary Long, Sr. was a self-taught American architect responsible for designing and building numerous structures throughout the City of Firsts. His Peale Museum and Davidge Hall remain. Long was a member of Old Saint Paul’s Parish and was the architect of its second church building which burned down in 1854. He sleeps within the park’s protective walls.
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An interesting aspect of historic cemeteries is the burial bell. In the past there was a legitimate fear of being buried alive. A bell atop a burial room with a string hanging below was one last insurance policy for the recently departed. Cemetery workers were employed around the clock to listen for the ringing of the dead. Rick Tomlinson, Verger for Old Saint Paul’s Parish and gatekeeper of its graveyard, pointed out a few burial bells while he graciously lead me around the grounds.

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Written by monumentcity

October 29th, 2011 at 11:24 am

Old Stone Building in Herring Run Park

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A friend and I found this strange structure on the western side of Herring Run Park. The empty building is hidden in dense woods near the northeastern portion of Lake Montebello. Possibly once part of the Ivy Mill, a former gristmill purchased by Morgan State University in 1917, the building appears to be constructed of Baltimore Gneiss. Baltimore Gneiss is a gray-green rock formed along this section of the Herring Run over a billion years ago. The oldest material within city boundaries, the abundant stone is said to be stronger than granite and was the primary construction material for the Ivy Mill complex.

The building may have been used by the city park system. At some point the windows and doors were removed and the interior gutted, creating a convenient pavilion for park-goers. Today it stands with a damaged roof and its access is limited by overgrown foliage and yellow caution tape. A complete restoration is necessary to return the historic building to a safe and useful status. Whether or not this will be done is unknown to this author.
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I received an email stating that this building was a Methodist church built around 1850. This book detailing the congregation’s history suggests it was a mission built near Harford Road. A map of Baltimore from 1905 shows the modest structure as M. E. Church or Methodist Episcopal Church. A site labeled Old Quarry is a few hundred yards to the northwest.

Written by monumentcity

October 10th, 2011 at 5:34 am

Architect Robert Cary Long, Jr.

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Green Mount Gatehouse Franklin Street Church Saint Alphonsus Church Lloyd Street Synagogue

Robert Cary Long, Jr. was one of the first trained architects from the state of Maryland. Born in 1810, as a youth he apprenticed with his entrepreneurial father. Robert Cary Long, Sr. (1770?-1833) was one of Baltimore’s prominent builders during America’s youngest days. Working from design books and construction experience, Long Senior began creating his own structures by the late 1780s. His modest Peale Museum and the ornate Davidge Hall are lasting legacies of his work.

R. Cary Junior attended Saint Mary’s College and later worked at the office of Martin E. Thompson and Ithiel Town in New York City where he cut his teeth in the architecture profession. When his father passed in 1833 he returned to Baltimore and took over the established family practice. In 1837 Long designed Green Mount Cemetery’s Gatehouse and original mausoleum. In 1929 the Egyptian Revival style mausoleum was replaced with the structure that exists today. Why it was replaced is unknown. The E. Sachse’s & Co’s Bird’s Eye View of Baltimore 1869 shows the antecedent building surrounded by sparse monuments and abundant trees.

The younger Long specialized in houses of worship, designing churches and synagogues primarily in the Gothic and Greek Revival forms. In 1845 his Lloyd Street Synagogue was completed in Old Town. It stands today as the third oldest synagogue in the United States. Across town, Saint Alphonsus Church was finished around the same time initiating a professional relationship with the Catholic Church that would last until the architect’s death.

Saint Peter the Apostle Church, Franklin Street Presbyterian Church, Mount Calvary Church and the aforementioned are excellent examples of Cary’s work inside city limits. His buildings can be also found in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Mississippi and throughout the state of Maryland. In the late 1840s, Robert Cary Long, Jr. outlined his plans to move his family to New York City. He died suddenly of cholera in New Jersey in 1849 during a visit with a client, having never completed the move. His influence and skill were on the rise at the time of his tragic death. The architect is buried at the Presbyterian Church in Morristown’s historic cemetery.

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Written by monumentcity

September 9th, 2011 at 11:00 am

Gwynns Falls Parkway Entrance to Druid Hill Park

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The Gwynns Falls Parkway entrance to Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park has recently been renovated and decorated. The project consists of six salvaged iron support columns topped with historic images from the park’s past. Created by artist William Cochran and entitled Oak Wisdom, the monumental structure gives the west entrance a dignified appearance in-line with the nearby Rawlings Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The entryway’s public works contract was awarded to the Mirable Construction Company at a cost of $276,617. The firm completed the project in early 2011. Further plans are in place to improve the entire complex surrounding the Conservatory.

Written by monumentcity

August 9th, 2011 at 6:06 am

Abolitionist Elisha Tyson’s Summer Home on Stone Hill

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Quaker abolitionist Elisha Tyson established a successful milling business along the Jones Falls during Baltimore’s early stages as an American town. In the 1790s his Woodberry Flour Mill was rapidly turning grain to flour, providing a conduit between the regions farmers and the city’s burgeoning port. The radical Tyson embraced philanthropic ideals, using his acquired wealth to give back to the city’s less fortunate.

Tyson was an advocate of African-Americans, fighting for their freedom as well as providing institutions to better their welfare. In 1801 Tyson and Archbishop John Carroll founded the Baltimore Dispensary, the city’s first free health clinic for all citizens regardless of race or gender. Three years later he and Mayor Edward Johnson helped open the Baltimore House of Industry to provide vocational training and housing for the disadvantaged. That same year Tyson, along with Robert Goodloe Harper, John McKim, Andrew Ellicott and other Baltimore business men, successfully lobbied local government to pipe sufficient and sanitary water to the town’s growing residents.

Along with fellow business associates, Tyson helped fund and organize the Falls Road Turnpike (once a Native American trail and now Falls Road) that connected his and other Jones Falls mills to the harbor. He may have used the route as part of an Underground Railroad system operating in the area. Hideouts are rumored to still exist under the Greenway Cottages on 40th Street. He even directly challenged City Council on several occasions, successfully influencing legislation on the out-of-state sale of slaves. Legend claims that no less than 3000 blacks joined his grand funeral procession in 1824. Tyson was buried at Friends Aisquith Street Cemetery until 1906, when his remains were moved to Green Mount.

Elisha Tyson built his summer home on the east bank of the Jones Falls sometime between 1790 and 1804. The Quaker incorporated the Woodberry Flour Mill in 1790 and eventually erected his residence directly above the enterprise. The house faces the former estate of Colonel Nicholas Rogers IV, now known as Druid Hill Park. The Tyson gristmill stood where the Mount Vernon Mill No. 1 and No. 2 buildings stand today.

In 2005 local preservationists Robyn Lyles and Mark Thistle purchased the Stone Hill, Hampden property. The two diligently restored the Tyson house to its original form. Materials were removed, restored and reused when possible and previous alterations, though minimal, were undone. The entire process took four years and around a half million dollars. Completed in 2009, the address won the 2010 Baltimore Heritage Preservation Award.

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Written by monumentcity

July 9th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

The Latrobe Family and Charm City

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The Latrobe family is sewn into the fabric of Americana. Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the patriarch, was the Union’s first trained architect and a strong proponent of Greek, Gothic and Neoclassical architecture. Latrobe designed elements of the U. S. Capitol and the White House. His sons John H. B. Latrobe and Benjamin Henry Latrobe II, with headquarters in Baltimore, helped organize, orchestrate and engineer the nations first railroad. Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe (son of John H. B. Latrobe) was mayor of Baltimore five times. He was known as the “Grand Old Man of Maryland.” His cousin Charles H. Latrobe (son of Benjamin Henry Latrobe II) was city engineer for a quarter century, designing bridges and buildings around Baltimore. Together the Latrobe Family helped shape and develop Charm City.

Architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe arrived on American soil in 1796. Known as the “Father of American Architecture,” Latrobe was born in England in 1764 to a British father and an American mother. He showed an early interest in landscape drawing and quickly moved to the architectural field. By age 20 Latrobe entered his initial apprenticeship in design and engineering. Married and the father of two, Latrobe’s first wife died in 1793 while giving birth to their third child. He struggled financially in his native country and sailed, with his children, to the newly forming United States in hopes of establishing a career. Landing in Virginia in March of 1796, Latrobe visited the Mount Vernon estate of President George Washington by that summer and his succesful and incredible life began taking form. After building a state of the art prison in Richmond, Virginia he moved to Philadelphia and then Washington D. C. seeking further government commissions.

Benjamin Latrobe relocated his family to Baltimore at the beginning of 1818 in order to finish work on the Baltimore Cathedral (or Basilica of the Assumption of the blessed Virgin Mary). Commissioned by John Carroll, America’s first native-born Archbishop, the building’s construction began in 1806 and was completed in 1821. He also created Baltimore’s original Merchant’s Exchange (razed in 1901) and the quaint Spring House of Dairy. Known as the father of American architecture, Benjamin Latrobe was a friend of presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He and Jefferson were instrumental in bringing Greek Revival architecture to our newly forming country, pairing the classic style with themes of democracy. Latrobe died of yellow fever in New Orleans in 1821 while working on a massive waterworks system for the southern port city. His sons and grandsons stayed in Baltimore and created legacies of their own.

John Hazlehurst Boneval Latrobe was born in 1803 in Philadelphia. Moving to Washington as a young child his house was frequented by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. The multi-talented Latrobe took after his father’s passion for landscape painting. He eventually studied engineering at West Point but was forced to return home before graduating when his father suddenly passed away in 1820. Baltimore was home, and John H. B. began studying law with his father’s good friend, Robert Goodloe Harper. After passing the Maryland Bar, John went into private practice with his younger brother Benjamin Henry Latrobe II. The practice proved too difficult to maintain and Benjamin II turned to engineering. John H. B. went to work for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as a land acquisition attorney. He was instrumental in the railroad’s expansion west, helping to link America’s rising industrial network. John H. B. incorporated the first telegraph service in the world along the Baltimore & Ohio’s line, his persuasive manner convincing company’s leaders of the communications system’s potential. He would spend most of his life working as the B&O’s chief legal counsel.

In his spare time, John H. B. Latrobe pursued numerous other ventures with the same intensity and professionalism he had for his day job. He was on the board of directors for Druid Hill Park and Green Mount Cemetery, spearheading the establishment of two of Baltimore’s finest outdoor museums. He founded the Maryland Historical Society and established a colony in Liberia for America’s growing population of freed slaves. John also wrote an extensive memoir (along with poetry) that can be read in the Maryland Room of the Central Branch of the Enoch Pratt Library System.

John’s work as a patent attorney may have peaked his interest in inventing. His most famous creation is the Latrobe Stove (Baltimore Heater), a heat concentrating device that went inside a home’s fireplace. By 1878 there were 300,000 in use in the United States.

Perhaps best known today for his association with Edgar Allan Poe, John H. B. Latrobe was one of three judges that awarded the struggling author with a first place prize in a local writing contest for the story MS. Found in a Bottle. Poe showed up to collect his prize at John’s Mount Vernon rowhouse. The historic building stands today and is in shouting distance of the Basilica of the Assumption. The short story was published in the the Baltimore Saturday Visitor, helping to launch Edgar Allan Poe’s turbid career.

Benjamin Henry Latrobe II, younger brother to John H. B., was born in 1806. He studied engineering and law, following the paths of his famous father and gifted older sibling. After a short time practicing law, Benjamin II began a career in engineering, starting at Ellicott’s Mill measuring ballast stone for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. He rose rapidly through the ranks and eventually became head engineer for the historic company. His greatest standing accomplishment is the Thomas Viaduct, the railroad’s first bridge built on a curved alignment. Originally rated for 30 ton trains, today the massive stone viaduct carries loads weighing up to 300 tons. Benjamin Henry Latrobe II designed the rolling pathways in Green Mount Cemetery where he is buried.

Charles Hazlehurst Latrobe was born in a house on Calvert Street in 1833. He was educated locally and apprenticed under his father, Benjamin Henry Latrobe II, as an engineer for the B&O Railroad. He worked several years with his father expanding the rail lines west of the Ohio River at Wheeling, Pennsylvania. When his cousin, Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe, was elected mayor of Baltimore in 1875, Charles was appointed Chief Engineer of the Jones Falls Commission. He designed the containing walls that direct the Jones Falls through the city. The former Guilford, Calvert and Saint Paul Street bridges spanning the Jones Falls, with their monumental iron arches, were also articulated by the third generation engineer. As an architect Charles created Patterson Park’s Pagoda and Casino building, projects he worked on during his quarter century tenure as a city employee. During the Civil War he served in the Confederate Army where he earned the title of First Lieutenant in the Engineers of the Confederate States of America. Charles H. Latrobe is memorialized with a granite cross on the eastern wall of Green Mount Cemetery.

Born in 1833, Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe was the oldest son of John H. B. Latrobe. During his first professional life he practiced law with his father, working closely on the B&O Railroad’s legal affairs during its westward expansion. In 1875 Ferdinand was elected to his first of seven terms as Charm City’s top official. Loved by many in the community for his down to earth lifestyle, the mayor was known to have breakfast with his mother each morning, traveling there (as he traveled everywhere) in his horse-drawn carriage with his legendary Old Grey Mare leading the way. His political tenure was one of dignity and respect, his battles with Baltimore’s mob culture uniquely significant. In 1895 Ferdinand acquired land from the estate of Johns Hopkins that eventually became Clifton Park. He is memorialized in statue on the North Broadway median near East Baltimore Street.

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Written by monumentcity

June 18th, 2011 at 10:43 am