Baltimore City offers a beautiful waterfront, diverse ethnic dining in sections and unique attractions. The World Trade Center is a spectacular way to start your visit on "Top of the World" for an eye amazing five sided view of the city and its harbor from the 27th floor of the tallest pentagonal building in the nation. The Aquarium next door is a trip through sea world. Watch dolphins do tricks and seals balance balls. The Science Center, Interactive Zoo and world-class art galleries such as the Walters and Baltimore Museum are worth the trip, as are the Living History Museums. The Flag House is the edifice where the banner that inspired the national anthem was sewn. The Great Blacks in Wax Museum at 1601 East North Avenue is the only one of its kind here.
Before the Revolution, the colonies were engaged in controversy about slavery; which was instituted by the English under colonial rule. New England persisted in the importation of slaves. In 1767, a bill was offered in the Lower House of Assembly "against the importation of Negroes," but owing to the exciting times it did not pass. Charles Carroll of Carollton also instituted a bill, which did not pass. Baltimore knew first hand the evils of slavery -- the cries, pleading and horrible silences from places such as Auston Woolfolk's slave market. In 1827, Benjamin Lundy, publisher of The Genius of Universal Emancipation, denounced Woolfolk for cursing a black man about to be hanged. Woolfolk sought him out and knocked him down. Lundy sued and received only the award of one dollar.
On the l8th day of April 1867, a small party of young men raised a Confederate flag and fired a salute in honor of the secession of Virginia near the Marine Observatory on Federal Hill. Later in the day, another Confederate flag was hoisted in the northern part of the city and saluted with 100 guns. About two o'clock, a force of 600 U.S. troops and Pennsylvania volunteers arrived. About eleven o'clock, a train of 35 cars arrived with two thousand troops. In less than 15 minutes, hundreds of people rushed towards the railroad tracks on Pratt Street to prevent the passage of troops. Railroad bridges north and east of Baltimore were burned to avert approaching Union troops.
The military was called out by Governor Hicks who sent a dispatch: "Sir: A collision between the citizens and Northern troops has taken place in Baltimore. Send no troops here. We will endeavor to prevent all bloodshed. A public meeting of citizens has been called, and the troops of the State have been called out to preserve the peace."
Governor Hicks tried to restore peace on his own, but later he called a convention to discuss secession, because several southern states had requested it. He was probably relieved that the convention decided against secession.
The Hampton National Historic Site at 533 Hampton Lane off Dulaney Valley Road was the home of the Ridgely family for 158 years. The original tract of 1500 acres was purchased in 1745. When iron ore deposits were found nearby, they established the Northhampton Ironworks, supplying cannon and shot to patriot forces during the Revolution. Hampton Mansion built by Captain Charles Ridgely was produced from profits. Its unique combination of classical design and five-part Georgian plan, was developed widely.
Ground breaking was begun in 1783, but the main house was not completed until 1790. Captain Ridgely willed Hampton to his nephew, Charles Ridgely Carnan, with the proviso that he change his name to Charles Carnan Ridgely. He was a representative in the Maryland General Assembly from 1790 to 1795, a senator in the same body from 1796 to 1800 and Governor of Maryland from 1815 to 1818. He actually saved Hampton by restoring it and owned 2500 acres of property there. His distinguished portrait hangs over the fireplace The Great Hall is lined with Ridgely portraits by Peale and Sulley. The dining room is grand. Succeeding generations of Ridgelys continued to inhabit Hampton. The Civil War brought the end of the iron ore and the slavery institution which maintained the property. Open to daily 11am-5pm and Sunday 1-5pm. 410- 962-0688.
Bed & Breakfast In the Park
Bed & Breakfast in the Park is in historic Bolton Hill. If you desire complete privacy in the city, visit this lovely residential area of tree lined streets three blocks from the light rail stop and its direct line to Orioles Park at Camden Yards near Harbor Place. The brick townhouse, circa 1880, faces the first street park established in Baltimore and offering a spacious bed sitting room with attached bath and kitchenette provides a sequestered hide-away for your time spent in Baltimore, be it for business, a honeymoon, a family vacation or just to "get away from it all."
Furnishings are antiques and other period pieces and include a king-size bed and love seat sofa-bed. A playpen / crib is available for those traveling with a small child. The bath has a tub / shower, and the refrigerator is stocked with fresh fruit, milk, juice and other breakfast foods to eat at your leisure at the drop-leaf table or in the bricked garden down a private hallway. Features include a remote-control television, bedside telephone, air conditioning, and a separate thermostat to regulate the heat. Arrangements may be made to use the laundry facilities.
Innkeepers: George and Barbara Elder. Private suite with city garden, bath remote-control TV, bedside phone, air conditioning, laundry on reserve. One efficiency. $85. Strolling, sightseeing, shopping, fine dining, cruising. Near Lyric Opera, Myerhoff Symphony, Maryland Historical Society, Antique Row, Light Rail and Metro stops to Harbor Place and Camden Yards, Maryland Institute College of Art and University of Baltimore.
John Hutchinson House
Did you ever wonder what life was like in the home of ordinary Baltimore merchants' families in the 1840s? Would you taste corn bread just as they made it then in a Dutch oven on the hearth or chicken roasted to a delicious turn on a spit over the flames? You can discover these delights and much more by visiting the home of wheelwright John Hutchinson on Albemarle Street in Baltimore. Learn about life in the mid 19th Century first hand from "his family," the actors who can place you right back in those times. You will actually be joining talented interpreters dressed in period clothing as they play out scenes from their daily lives in this fascinating time which has been called "the black hole of American History," since this era saw no major war and was thus poorly chronicled.
Because of its unique nature, the 1840s house may be defined as Baltimore's only museum completely devoted to living history. To make everything even more vivid, moving scenes will shift players with visitors from room to room of the house in an ongoing play complete with characters true to the decade. Entitled "Steps in Time," these scenes will occur on afternoons and Saturdays, produced in conjunction with the Baltimore School for the Arts.
When you step back into time from the 20th Century orientation room past the dining room and go down the narrow steps to the cellar kitchen, you will feel transported to the 1840s. Huge stacks of logs are heaped against the walls, ready to be thrown on the hearth, where a chicken is roasting. When we visited, gentlemen actors had made a luscious oyster stew with onions, potatoes, oysters and herbs. Sue Latini said that she had fried pork in a "spider" the name for a skillet with legs. She had also made dressing with giblets to accompany a goose basted with blackberries and wine over the fire on a spit. If you make reservations ahead, you may cook your own dinner from these recipes and enjoy it with your family upstairs in the dining room. The children are encouraged to imagine that they are visitors from the future and that the adults are archeologists. Many recipes are from a cookbook called The Frugal American Housewife.
Visitors may ask questions of guides and actors regarding life in the bygone era but the Hutchinson family can answer only questions about their time. You will discover, for example, that services in the city made life more convenient. A German bakery was just down the street and the Claret brewery was across the street. Still, for the commoner, who could not escape the city in summer, pollution was an ever-present threat. A sound tape depicts the calls of hawkers and fish mongers outside in the street and draw you into the other world of 19th century Baltimore.
The 1840 House is operated by the Baltimore City Life Museums, overseeing the Peale Museum, Carroll Mansion, H.L Mencken House and the Baltimore Center for Urban Archaeology. Call 410-396-3523 for hours of operation and tour reservations.