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Public Works

This category contains 8 posts

French Delegation to Baltimore, May 1917: A Botanical Memento

One hundred years ago today these pansies bloomed in a lush and colorful bed on the east side of Mount Vernon Place. Three days later, on May 14, 1917, thousands of Baltimoreans gathered as city officials escorted a French war delegation to the proposed site of a monument to the Marquis de Lafayette, American ally [...]

The Newcomer Memorial Font: Art and Industry in Baltimore City

Baltimore’s long history as “The Monumental City” and current art culture means that there is an abundance of outdoor sculpture available to see. Although these public sculptures make the city’s streets rich with decoration, artwork that is placed indoors is sometimes overlooked. One such sculpture is the Newcomer Memorial Font (1902-1904) inside the Emmanuel Episcopal [...]

Baltimore Sanitary Fair Sesquicentennial

The 1864 Baltimore Sanitary Fair (April 18-April 30) provided the large-scale vehicle for Maryland’s Unionist women to bring together both of their benevolent and patriotic impulses. Other cities across the Union, such as Chicago and Boston, previously coordinated such events. Proceeds from these affairs swelled the coffers of the U.S. Christian and the U.S. Sanitary [...]

“Unwearied in Their Attentions”: Secessionist Women and the 1866 Southern Relief Fair

The Civil War deeply divided Baltimoreans along philosophical and sectional lines. The Secessionist women of Baltimore, those whose sympathies lay with the South, were often singled out for their devotion to the Confederacy. They supported their husbands and brothers in gray throughout the war, often risking arrest, imprisonment, or banishment. During the post-war era, the [...]

Thomas Poppleton’s Surveyor’s Map that Made Baltimore, 1822

Between 1776 and 1820 Baltimore grew like kudzu on a riverbank.  Geographically three settlements, the original town, Old town and Fell’s Point were legally merged into one and the official boundaries of the resulting BaltimoreCity (incorporated in 1797) were expanded to encompass 14.71 square miles by legislative fiat in 1817.  In that period the resident [...]

Conduit: Druid Lake and the Wall of Mud (1863 – 1871)

In 1863 the Baltimore City Council approved a $300,000 loan to construct a billion gallon capacity reservoir in the newly established Druid Hill Park. Though the new city waterworks project from Lake Roland to the Mount Royal Reservoir on the Jones Falls had just been completed, it had become apparent that the city’s water problems were far [...]

Conduit: Mount Royal Reservoir and the Baltimore Waterworks,1857-1863

Since last month’s Hampden Reservoir post, I have taken more delight in my commute as I pass by Roosevelt Park, going to and returning from work via the Falls Road exit of the JFX; I can almost see the half moon shape of the reservoir on my left as I climb the hill approaching 36th Street. [...]

Hampden Reservoir: A Muddy History

As a follow up to last week’s post, “Slabtown to Hampden,” I’m focusing this week on the Hampden Reservoir, the impetus of the map’s creation. With city pipes bursting left and right the past couple weeks, you could say that this has been on my mind. Here’s a quick history of the reservoir accompanied by [...]

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