Maryland Outdoor Club
Sat, Nov 13 2004 - Baltimore City Hike - Historic Landmarks (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Katie Stofer, Colin Babb
Participants:Colin Babb, Rob, Sheri Copanic, thiago pires, Kristen Larson, Donna Levin, Gwen Savage, Erica kelly, Cindy Haynes, Michelle Dunn, Katie Stofer, Tu Van Trieu

Write Up:
The morning was beautifully sunny but terribly brisk as well. We began the hike at a shopping mall near Fort McHenry, on the 'west side' of a McDonald's (luckily, everyone discovered which way was west). Figuring the planned water taxi ride would be just a tad bit too cold for everyone's taste, it was decided that we would walk around the waterfront and back toward the Inner Harbor to begin our survey of Baltimore's National Historic Landmarks.

The first 'landmark' we passed was a tugboat, the Baltimore, which is the oldest operating steam-powered, coal-fired tugboat in the country. Unfortunately, we were unable to verify her operating status. Next, we passed through Federal Hill, both the actual hill and the neighborhood (it's the neighborhood that is the landmark in this case).Like British Redcoats and Johnny Rebs (neither of whom actually got this far, but we could just imagine), we assaulted the hill (which used to be a fort) the hard way and gazed down on the city from up top. Joining all the tourists in the Inner Harbor, we passed by the USS Constellation on our way to the Coast Guard Cutter Taney (another watery 'landmark'), which is the last remaining warship that was present at the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II.

Passing up our chance to head to Fells Point, we crossed the street to the Flag House, where Mary Young Pickersgill and friends sewed the actual Star Spangled Banner (and got paid $405.90 for making the world's largest flag in 1814). A gentleman who styled himself the official state photographer of the Maryland chapter of the Knights of Columbus (who'd have thought they needed a state photographer?) was kind enough to take our picture in front of the house. We then went by the Carroll Mansion (formerly owned by a signer of the Declaration of Independence) and the 'Shot Tower,' a massive smoke-stack-like edifice that once had been the tallest man-made structure in the country. A lady who happened to be sitting outside near the sidewalk attracted Katie's attention and then directed all of us over to hear an impromptu lecture on the history of the tower, which had been used for the creation of lead shot for muskets for the Army. Unfortunately, we were unable to find the other tour guides that supposedly were hanging around all these sites we were going to (perhaps they all were on lunch breaks).

We then made a short jaunt to several buildings: a former school for the poor, the McKim School (now a well-visited community center); a Quaker meeting house (the oldest religious building in the city); and a synagogue, the third oldest in the country. For some reason, there was a New York deli nearby (so much for Baltimore pride). Leaving this lovely neighborhood, we headed to the center of town, passing 'The Block' (who'd have thought that couples were welcome?) and City Hall, before we saw a number of Baltimore's fine old buildings in the business district. We had some trouble at first but finally discovered the dome on top of the Lord Baltimore Hotel, and then we found the Brewers Exchange (unfortunately, the current tenants 'lawyers'don't do much brewing anymore). We also paid a visit to the gravesite of Edgar Allen Poe; no ravens, pits, or pendulums were in sight, however.

Finally, we started heading back toward the Inner Harbor and passed the Loft District (with many examples of industrial buildings from the late-19th century textile industry), the Bromo-Seltzer Tower (that Florentine-looking thing that's lit by blue lights at nighttime-it used to have a big seltzer bottle sitting on top of it until the 1930s), and the Wilkins-Robins Building, which used to house a brush company that used hair from slaughterhouses (making it a 'very smelly business').

We ended the day with a visit to the food court at the Light Street Pavilion at the Inner

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