Archive for the ‘Vantage Point’ Category
During the War of 1812, as British troops approached Baltimore aiming to eliminate the bothersome privateer port, Commodore John Rodgers organized his large group of local volunteer soldiers at Hampstead Hill (now part of Patterson Park). Known as Rodgers’ Bastion, the fortified position provided a perfect vantage point during the British invasion of September 1814, allowing the Commodore to see the English flotilla coming up the harbor as well as the foot soldiers marching from North Point. The intelligent organization and courageous execution of Charm City’s defenders resulted in American victory. The Star-Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key during the campaign.
In 1892 Charles H. Latrobe (grandson of Benjamin Henry Latrobe) saw the completion of his monumental Patterson Park Pagoda at the top of Hampstead Hill. The four story oriental style tower is made of fabricated iron supports, wood and glass. The ornamental building has three observation decks with a spiral staircase leading to each. The perspective from the top deck is one of the best in Baltimore, with views of Canton, the Inner Harbor and downtown.
In 1914, during the Centennial Celebration of the Battle of Baltimore, two monuments were placed directly in front of the Victorian pagoda. J. Maxwell Miller’s Star-Spangled Banner Centennial Monument depicts two school children holding a memorial scroll and the Rodgers’ Bastion Memorial Cannon commemorates the land battle lead by Commodore Rodgers. Nearby is a row of five cannon representing the War of 1812 fortification.
The Patterson Park Pagoda was completely restored in 2002 and is operated by the Friends of Patterson Park. The observatory is open from noon to six on Sundays from April to October. The historic location is one of the most engaging in Charm City, offering layers of historical value and intrigue.
Druid Hill’s Moorish Tower occupies one of the best vantage points in the city. The hilltop location provides a panoramic view of East and Central Baltimore from Hampden to Downtown. The tower sits at the southeast edge of Druid Lake, one of the largest man-made earthen dams in the country, its sloping bank over-looking the Jones Falls Expressway. Designed by George Aloysius Frederick in the 1860s, the Turkish style building is made of white marble and brick. During renovation in the 1990s the tower’s spiral staircase, with access to the rooftop deck, was taken out and the iron door was once again locked.
This post is part of the vantage point category, a series of articles that target specific locations perfect for afternoon sightseeing. Generally high in elevation and separated from city streets, these vantage points represent wrinkles in the urban environment.
Federal Hill, Key Highway and Covington Street (Street View)
GPS: 39° 16′ 49.06″ N 76° 36′ 29.23″ W
George Armistead was commander of Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore. One of five brothers to serve in the War of 1812, he rapidly distinguished himself as a courageous soldier. After the Americans took Fort George from the British in 1813, Armistead delivered the captured British flags to President James Madison, prompting his appointment as commander of Fort McHenry. He is most famous for ordering the creation of the Star-Spangled Banner, the muse of our national anthem. Goerge Armistead died in 1818, at 38 years of age and is buried at Old Saint Paul’s Cemetery. This marble monument was dedicated in 1882 with G. Metzger serving as architect.
One of two memorials to Armistead, the other being at Fort McHenry, this monument sits atop Federal Hill overlooking the Inner Harbor. The Samuel Smith monument and a large American flag stand nearby, along with a nice park and playground. This is the site of much activity during the warmer months and offers an excellent vantage point of the city.