8/5/10 - 9/12/10 90 °F
.Baltimore is an interesting town. Lots of vibrant neighborhoods, lots of history, friendly people, although their crime rate doesn't exactly jibe with that and interesting architecture, both old and new. I was lucky to be staying at The Marriott Waterfront while I was there. It is an easy walk to lots of things in the Inner Harbor, shops, restaurants, attractions and some of the neighborhoods, such as Little Italy or Fells Point. This area was pretty seedy until fairly recently when the city and developers decided to take advantage of all that space on the water. Here are a several views from my hotel room on the eighth floor. The views are a bit on the foggy side, but normally it was really clear. The higher floors had an even better view.
There is an interesting fountain inside the roundabout at Presidents St. and Aliceanna St. It is a memorial to those who died in the Katyn Massacre which to be honest, I don't think I ever heard of until I walked over one day to check out the fountain and see what it was about. An estimated 22.000 Polish soldiers died at the hands of the Soviets during WWII due to this massacre, which actually took place not only in the Katyn forest, but in several other locations in Belarus and the Ukraine as well. Stalin tried (and failed) to eliminate soldiers and officers, many with great influence, who were opposed to communist rule in Poland. Here is a some more information if you are interested. It is certainly a beautiful fountain memoralizing those people who died as well as mentioning other soldiers from centuries past who fought in service to Poland.
On a lighter note, there are sea serpents in the vicinity too, so be careful!
If you're a fan of the Food Networks Ace of Cakes, you know that Charm City Cakes is located in Baltimore. I drove by just for the heck of it, even though I knew it was not possible to go in. It's not a bakery with a counter selling goodies. Cakes only here, and very expensive cakes at that!
While I was working in the Federal Hill area, I had some time to kill and needed a few things from the store, so I went to the nearest WalMart and when I was heading back out, I saw this really great sail boat. I think it has the best paint job of any I have ever seen. I figured I would put the pictures here because it falls under the 'things I like' umbrella!
Here is an older building, a pumping station that still appears to be in use. It sure is more attractive than most city government buildings that they build these days.
There is one building that looks pretty much like a very tall lone turret. It is however something called a Shot Tower
This tower was used to make shot for guns. They would drop molten lead through sieves from the top into water at the bottom and that is how the shot was made. Never heard of such a thing? Neither had I! It was the tallest building in the country until after the Civil War. There are other Shot Towers in other parts of the world as well.
I had hoped to get a better shot of the Bromo Seltzer Tower, but never got around to it. You can see it off in the distance in three of the photos at the beginning of this entry as well, the ones taken from my hotel room.
This is a pretty blurry photo, but it is what I have, so I have to make do. It was built in 1911 and says Bromo Seltzer around the edge of the clock. It now has space available for artists to rent for gallery and/or workspace.
I had picked up the Moon Handbooks Baltimore guide and read about the Pagoda in Patterson Park. I've been using Moon Handbooks since 1983 when I bought the Indonesia Handbook shortly before moving to West Java, the book was banned in Indonesia due to it's honesty about some political situations. Moon Handbooks are, in my opinion, the very best guidebooks out there. OK, I'm off my soapbox now, back to Patterson Park.
Here is one of the many entrances into the park, (this one is very near the Pagoda) as well as an informational sign about the park itself.
The park itself is quite large, and has been used by the citizens of Baltimore for many years. There is a pond, trails and in the winter, an ice rink. It has also been used militarily. During the War of 1812, 100 cannons and 20,000 troops were there, and when the British saw them on the Hampstead Hill, they turned and left the Port of Baltimore. It was also the site of an encampment as well as a hospital during the Civil War.
I really wanted to go see the Pagoda, because it sounded really cool and I like Asian art and architecture, although this Pagoda isn't Asian, it is actually Victorian. I happened to be working in a neighborhood nearby, Butchers Hill which is at the edge of the park and made a couple of quick trips to see the pagoda when I had a little bit of time to kill. The Pagoda is manned by park volunteers on Sundays from noon to six from April through October. There is no charge to go in, but they do have a small donation box.
Here are some of the pictures I took on my visits to the Pagoda.
In and from:
I was working in another part of town, which is pretty pretty poor and run down and was surprised to come upon a beautiful old building in the middle of it. I could not read all that was over the door, only the part that read Orphan Asylum. It may be the oldest orphanage in the US, and was almost demolished. It had also served as a Lutheran Hospital after it was no longer an orphanage. Apparently, the roof is gone, and you can see it needs a ton of work, but it seems like it could give this blighted neighborhood a boost if it was turned into something useful. Senior housing, a community center, something. Once when I was working the next street over, there was a large group of people in front of the building and it looked like something was going on, so I stopped a man walking away from the area and asked him what was happening. He didn't know, but agreed that it would be nice if the building was restored. I never did find out what the people were there about.
Another building that I loved the look of was the Pabst building on S. Charles St. (Federal Hill) There isn't much info online about this building, but it is cool anyway. If you scroll down to the bottom here, there are more pictures than the one I am about to post.
There is a prominent sign to be seen from many places around Baltimore's Harbor, that sign is the Domino Sugar sign!
The first was taken on the Key Highway, I'm not sure if that particular stretch of road is considered Federal Hill or Locust Point.
this picture taken along the water by the Marriott at night:
and this one, which is not easy to see was taken during the day along the water by the Marriott
Last but not least, my favorite road sign. I just had to stop and try to get a picture!
It is hard to make out, but it does read Yellow Brick Rd.!
I barely touched on all the things to see in Baltimore and wish I would have made it to more neighborhoods and historic sites. I can honestly say, that Baltimore is one of the most interesting cities I have ever visited. I hope to make it back again some day to hit all the spots I missed.