Monument City Blog

Branches of Baltimore History

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Baltimore’s Billie Holiday Statue

with 4 comments

Pennsylvania Avenue & Lafayette Avenue (Street View)

GPS: 39° 18′ 4.20″ N 76° 37′ 55.20″ W

History

Born in Philadelphia, Billie Holiday eventually spent her early childhood years in Baltimore City. At ten years old she was put in Catholic reform school, The House of the Good Shepherd, to help ease her troubled early development. After two years relatives and friends were able to remove her from the rigorous program, her mother then moving the family to New York City. By the time she was in her late teens Billie was working in Brothels and singing for tips. On the verge of eviction and penniless, Holiday was noticed serenading in one of Harlem’s legendary nightclubs and the rest is history.

Notes

When I first went to photograph and inspect the Billie Holiday statue in early June of this year the monument wasn’t there, having been removed for renovation and overhaul. When the bronze likeness was returned to it’s home in July, a more complete version of artist James Earl Reid‘s original vision was achieved. The relief sculptures Reid had attempted to put around the base of the statue were installed, censorship not standing in the way this time around. Across the street from the plaza is a monument to the Royal Theatre, a famous venue that Mrs. Holiday played during her career.

Nearby

Links

Written by monumentcity

October 12th, 2009 at 8:23 pm

Posted in All Posts,Music,Theatre

Richard Wagner Bust in Druid Hill Park

with one comment

Just off Lake Drive, on the Mansion House lawn, in Druid Hill Park

GPS: 39° 19′ 16.82″ N 76° 38′ 44.51″ W

History

First Prize for winning the 19th Triennial National Saengerfest, a German cultural festival focused on choral performances, in 1900, was a bronze bust of composer Richard Wagner. The United Singers of Baltimore took the title and the trophy at the contest, which was held in Brooklyn, New York, with the song Sheiden (Parting) by D. Melamet. The singers gifted the statue to the city thereafter and in 1901 it was placed on the lawn of Druid Hill Park’s Mansion House where it remains to this day. The house now serves as the main administrative building for the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. R. P. Golde created the memorial.

Notes

Captain Kidd, the famed Scottish Privateer and Pirate is rumored to have buried a sizable treasure of gold and jewelery near the Mansion House grounds. At one point, so much digging went on that the house’s foundation was in danger and the fortune seekers had to be removed. No treasure was ever located. The Wagner Bust sits on the edge of the road next to what remains of the Boat Lake. The surrounding park is vast and open, making this one of the more tranquil spots within city limits.

Nearby

Links

Written by monumentcity

May 11th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Conradin Kreutzer Bust in Patterson Park

without comments

Gough Street & S Patterson Park Avenue, just inside the park

GPS: 39° 17′ 17.78″ N 76° 35′ 1.54″ W

History

Given to the City by the United Singers of Baltimore in 1915, the Conradin Kreutzer statue was won, by the group, in a singing contest that same year. Saengerfest, a German cultural event American communities have been celebrating since 1849, focuses primarily on choral performances. In 1900, the same group won first prize, receiving the Wagner bust now placed in Druid Hill Park. Both pieces were created by R P Golde, a German sculptor who lived in New York City.

Notes

Following the trail south from the observatory, the Kreutzer monument is about one city block on the right. The inscription on the pedestal’s front reads: “Conradin Kreutzer, First City Prize won the the United Singers at the 24th National Saengerfest.” The winning song was written by F Langer.

Nearby

Links

Written by monumentcity

April 10th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Francis Scott Key Monument in Bolton Hill

with 6 comments

Eutaw Place & W Lanvale Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 18′ 14.24″ N 76° 37′ 34.15″ W

History

This multifaceted sculpture is one of two major memorials dedicated to Francis Scott Key, the author of the Star-Spangled Banner, which only became America’s National Anthem officially in 1931. The other is located in Fort McHenry, though there are several markers and smaller memorials dedicated all around Baltimore to the actual song itself. The Bolton Hill piece was commissioned in 1907 by Charles and Theodore Marburg, part of a prominent mercantile family at the time and executed by French sculptor Marius Jean Antonin Mercie.

Dedicated on May 15, 1911. In 1996, residents from the local neighborhood raised money to restore this monument, receiving significant financial boosts in 1997 from the Maryland Military Monuments Commission, and in 1998 from the Save Outdoor Sculpture initiative (funded in large part by Target stores), along with grants from the City of Baltimore. At this location, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered a speech on the importance of preserving historical markers in 1998. Restoration was completed by the summer of 1999.

Notes

Standing amidst a broad park which runs north and south along Eutaw Place, the monument heroically depicts Key as poet in a row boat with another sailor humbly manning the oars. Key is standing, holding a manuscript of his poem up as an offering to the allegorical figure of Columbia. The figure of Columbia is gilded, and stands atop four pillars waving a flag. The Eutaw Place Temple stands across the street from the fountain.

Nearby

Links

Written by monumentcity

March 31st, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Sidney Lanier Monument in Charles Village

without comments

3436 N Charles Street, Johns Hopkins University (Street View)

GPS: 39° 19′ 52.45″ N 76° 37′ 5.19″ W

History

Born in 1842, Sidney Lanier’s life was forever shaped by the Civil War. Upon graduating Oglethorpe College in Milledgeville, Georgia, the War Between the States broke out and Lanier enlisted in the Confederate Army. He was captured by Union soldiers near Wilmington, North Carolina, and placed at Point Lookout Prison in Saint Mary’s County, Maryland. Lookout was by far the worst Union POW camp, with bitter cold conditions and no barracks, the captured soldiers and civilians died by the scores.

Of the fifty thousand detainees, some four thousand perished, and countless others contracted tuberculosis. Lanier was not spared, and he left the jail skinny and emaciated, bound to suffer from consumption for the rest of his short life. Lanier wrote his only novel, Tiger Lilies, about his tumultuous time at Point Lookout.

After the Civil War he traveled extensively in search of a cure for his disease, eventually landing in Baltimore, where he was asked to fill the first flute chair in the newly formed Peabody Orchestra. In a letter to his wife, he expounds on the benefits of Charm City, explaining that they could “dwell in [this] beautiful city, among the great libraries, and [in the] midst of the music, the religion, and the art that we love–and I could write my books and be the man I wish to be.” He continued creating poetry and literary papers, writing some of his most loved pieces while in Baltimore.

Towards the end of his life, Lanier took a teaching position at Johns Hopkins University. He passed away in 1881 and is buried in Green Mount Cemetery. In 1942, a monument designed by Hans Schuler was dedicated in his honor.

Notes

The relief style monument depicts Lanier sitting tranquilly under a tree as the sun sets behind him. He is holding a pencil in his right hand and has a journal on his lap. His flute rests next to him on top of an open book. The bronze cast is set into a stone embankment, making this one of the more unique memorials in the city. There are two benches flanking the monument, and a stone path between them, allowing for an intimate view of the structure.

Nearby

Links

Written by monumentcity

March 17th, 2009 at 11:24 am

Spirit of Music Statue in Charles Village

without comments

3070 N Charles Street, next to the BMA sculpture garden (Street View)

GPS: 39° 19′ 38.31″ N 76° 37′ 4.28″ W

History

Dedicated in 2002, The Spirit of Music is a memorial to a former Johns Hopkins University student. Rex Chao was shot and killed near the school’s Milton S Eisenhower Library on an evening in April, 1996, by a fellow student and former friend. Choa played violin for the Hopkins and Peabody Orchestras. He was nineteen years old when he died. Jud Hartmann, who’s Creator’s Game Monument stands outside of the Lacrosse Museum on campus, was commissioned to design the memorial by a committee established in the fallen scholar’s honor.

Notes

Installed between the Johns Hopkins Monument and the BMA sculpture garden, the statue rests inside of a well-trimmed circular hedge. With violin in left hand and bow in right, the two-thirds scale bronze cast gazes optimistically at all those passing by.

Nearby

Links

Written by monumentcity

March 15th, 2009 at 11:27 am