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Baltimore, Maryland

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Baltimore, Maryland

This article is about the city in Maryland. For the surrounding county, see Baltimore County, Maryland. For other uses, see Baltimore (disambiguation).
Independent city
City of Baltimore
Washington Monument
Nickname(s): Charm City,[1] Mobtown,[2] B'more,[3] The City of Firsts,[4][5] Monument City,[6] Ravenstown[7]
Motto: "The Greatest City in America",[1] "Get in on it.",[1] "The city that reads.",[8] "Believe"[9]
Location of Baltimore in the United States

Coordinates: 39°17′N 76°37′W / 39.283°N 76.617°W / 39.283; -76.617Coordinates: 39°17′N 76°37′W / 39.283°N 76.617°W / 39.283; -76.617

State  Maryland
Founded 1729
Incorporation 1797
Named for Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore
 • Type Independent city (mayor-council system)
 • Mayor Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake (D)
 • Baltimore City Council
 • Houses of Delegates
 • State Senate
 • U.S. House
 • Independent city
 • Land 80.944 sq mi (209.6 km2)
 • Water 11.108 sq mi (28.8 km2)  12.07%
Elevation[11] 33 ft (10 m)
Population (2012est)[12][13]
 • Independent city 621,342
 • Density 7,671.5/sq mi (2,962.6/km2)
 • Metro 2,690,886 (20th)
 • Demonym Baltimorean
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Code 21201–21231, 21233–21237, 21239–21241, 21244, 21250–21252, 21263–21265, 21268, 21270, 21273–21275, 21278–21290, 21297–21298
Area code(s) 410, 443
FIPS code 24-04000
GNIS feature ID 0597040

Baltimore (/ˈbɔːltɨˌmɔr/, colloquially /ˈbɔl.mɔr/) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Maryland and the 26th largest city in the country. It is located in the central area of the state along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. The independent city is often referred to as Baltimore City to distinguish it from surrounding Baltimore County. Founded in 1729, Baltimore is the second largest seaport in the Mid-Atlantic United States and is situated closer to Midwestern markets than any other major seaport on the East Coast.[14] Baltimore's Inner Harbor was once the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States and a major manufacturing center.[15] After a decline in manufacturing, Baltimore shifted to a service-oriented economy, with the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University serving as the city's top two employers.[16]

At 621,342 as of July 1, 2012, the population of Baltimore increased by 1,100 residents over the previous year ending over six decades of population loss since its peak in 1950. The Baltimore Metropolitan Area has grown steadily to approximately 2.7 million residents in 2010; the 20th largest in the country.[17] Baltimore is also a principal city in the larger Baltimore–Washington metropolitan area of approximately 8.4 million residents.[18]

With hundreds of identified districts, Baltimore has been dubbed "a city of neighborhoods," and is nicknamed Charm City. The talents of writers Edgar Allan Poe and H.L. Mencken, musician James "Eubie" Blake, and singer Billie Holiday, as well as the city's role in the War of 1812 and Francis Scott Key's writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" have all influenced the city's historical importance.[19]

According to the Brookings Institution, almost a quarter of the jobs in the Baltimore region are science, technology, engineering and math positions, which makes Baltimore rank 8th out of 100 U.S. metropolitan areas for its concentration of STEM jobs. The Baltimore Area is known for health and science, which is in part attributed to the prestigious Johns Hopkins University school system, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, and other smaller schools such as University of Baltimore, University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Loyola University and Notre Dame of Maryland University.[19]


The city is named after Cecilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore, a member of the Irish House of Lords and the founding proprietor of the Maryland Colony. Baltimore is an anglicization of the Irish name Baile an Tí Mhóir, meaning "town of the big house",[20] which was the name of the Calvert family's estate in County Longford, Ireland.[21]


Main article: History of Baltimore

The Maryland colonial General Assembly created the Port of Baltimore at Locust Point in 1706 for the tobacco trade. The Town of Baltimore was founded on July 30, 1729, and is named after Lord Baltimore (Cecilius Calvert), who was the first Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland. Cecilius Calvert was a son of George Calvert, who became the First Lord Baltimore of County Longford, Ireland in 1625.[22] Baltimore grew swiftly in the 18th century as a granary for sugar-producing colonies in the Caribbean. The profit from sugar encouraged the cultivation of cane and the importation of food.

Baltimore played a key part in events leading to and including the American Revolution. City leaders such as Jonathan Plowman Jr. moved the city to join the resistance to British taxes, and merchants signed agreements to not trade with Britain.[23] The Second Continental Congress met in the Henry Fite House from December 1776 to February 1777, effectively making the city the capital of the United States during this period.[24] After the war, the Town of Baltimore, nearby Jonestown, and an area known as Fells Point were incorporated as the City of Baltimore in 1796. The city remained a part of Baltimore County until 1851 when it was made an independent city.[25]

The city was the site of the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812. After burning Washington, D.C., the British attacked Baltimore on the night of September 13, 1814. United States forces from Fort McHenry successfully defended the city's harbor from the British. Francis Scott Key, a Maryland lawyer, was aboard a British ship where he had been negotiating for the release of an American prisoner, Dr. William Beanes.

Key witnessed the bombardment from this ship and after seeing the huge American flag on the morning of September 14, 1814, he wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner", a poem recounting the attack. Key's poem was set to a 1780 tune by British composer John Stafford Smith, and "The Star-Spangled Banner" became the official national anthem of the United States in 1931.

Following the Battle of Baltimore, the city's population grew rapidly. The construction of the federally funded National Road (which later became part of U.S. Route 40) and the private Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O) made Baltimore a major shipping and manufacturing center by linking the city with major markets in the Midwest. A distinctive local culture started to take shape, and a unique skyline peppered with churches and monuments developed. Baltimore acquired its moniker "The Monumental City" after an 1827 visit to Baltimore by President John Quincy Adams. At an evening function Adams gave the following toast: "Baltimore: the Monumental City- May the days of her safety be as prosperous and happy, as the days of her dangers have been trying and triumphant."[27] Baltimore suffered one of the worst riots of the antebellum South in 1835, when bad investments led to the Baltimore bank riot.[28]

Maryland remained part of the Union during the American Civil War despite being a slave state, in addition to popular support for secession in its southern and eastern regions, along with Baltimore, all of which benefited greatly from both the tobacco and slave trades.[29][30] When Union soldiers marched through the city at the start of the war, Confederate sympathizers attacked the troops, which led to the Baltimore riot of 1861. Four soldiers and 12 civilians were killed during the riot, which caused Union troops to occupy Baltimore. Maryland came under direct federal administration—in part, to prevent the state from seceding—until the end of the war in April 1865.

Following an economic depression known as the Panic of 1873, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad company attempted to lower its workers' wages, leading to the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. On July 20, 1877, Maryland Governor John Lee Carroll called up the 5th and 6th Regiments of the National Guard to end the strikes, which had disrupted train service at Cumberland in western Maryland. Citizens sympathetic to the railroad workers attacked the National Guard troops as they marched from their armories in Baltimore to Camden Station. Soldiers from the 6th Regiment fired on the crowd, killing 10 and wounding 25. Rioters then damaged B&O trains and burned portions of the rail station. Order was restored in the city on July 21–22 when federal troops arrived to protect railroad property and end the strike.[31]

20th century

On February 7, 1904, the Great Baltimore Fire destroyed over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours, leaving more than 70 blocks of the downtown area burned to the ground. Damages were estimated at $150 million—in 1904 dollars.[32] As the city rebuilt during the next two years, lessons learned from the fire led to improvements in firefighting equipment standards.[33]

The city grew in area by annexing new suburbs from the surrounding counties, the last being in 1918, when the city acquired portions of Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County.[34] A state constitutional amendment, approved in 1948, required a special vote of the citizens in any proposed annexation area, effectively preventing any future expansion of the city's boundaries.[35]

The relative size of the city's black population grew from 23.8% in 1950 to 46.4% in 1970.[36] The Baltimore riot of 1968 occurred following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Coinciding with riots in other cities, public order was not restored until April 12, 1968. The Baltimore riot cost the city of Baltimore an estimated $10 million (US$ 68 million in 2014). A total of 11,000 Maryland National Guard and federal troops were ordered into the city.[37]

Lasting effects of the riot can be seen on the streets of North Avenue, Howard Street, Gay Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue, where long stretches of the streets remain barren.[38] The city experienced tumult again in 1974 when teachers, municipal workers, and police officers all conducted strikes.[39]

By the beginning of the 1970s, Baltimore's downtown area known as the Inner Harbor had been neglected and was only occupied by a collection of abandoned warehouses. Efforts to redevelop the area started with the construction of the Maryland Science Center, which opened in 1976, the Baltimore World Trade Center (1977), and the Baltimore Convention Center (1979). Harborplace, an urban retail and restaurant complex, opened on the waterfront in 1980, followed by the National Aquarium, Maryland's largest tourist destination, and the Baltimore Museum of Industry in 1981. In 1992, the Baltimore Orioles baseball team moved from Memorial Stadium to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, located downtown near the harbor. Six years later the Baltimore Ravens football team moved into M&T Bank Stadium next to Camden Yards.[40]

The city has 280 properties identified as historical in the National Register of Historic Places.

The historical records of the government of Baltimore are located at the Baltimore City Archives.


Baltimore is in north-central Maryland on the Patapsco River close to where it empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The city is also located on the fall line between the Piedmont Plateau and the Atlantic Coastal Plain, which divides Baltimore into "lower city" and "upper city". The city's elevation ranges from sea level at the harbor to 480 feet (150 m) in the northwest corner near Pimlico.[41]

According to the 2010 Census, the city has a total area of 92.052 square miles (238.41 km2), of which 80.944 sq mi (209.64 km2) is land and 11.108 sq mi (28.77 km2) is water.[10] The total area is 12.07 percent water.

Baltimore borders with Baltimore County in most directions, though it is bordered by Anne Arundel County to the south.


Under the Köppen classification, Baltimore lies within the humid subtropical climate zone (Cfa), with four distinct seasons, and is part of USDA plant hardiness zones 7b and 8a.[42] Summers are hot and very humid, with frequent afternoon thunderstorms. Spring and autumn are warm, with spring being the wettest season in terms of the number of precipitation days. Winters are cool but variable, with sporadic snowfall: January has a daily average of 35.8 °F (2.1 °C),[43] and the average seasonal snowfall is 20.2 inches (51 cm),[44] though temperatures reach 50 °F (10 °C) rather often and drop below 20 °F (−7 °C) on several nights annually.[43]

Freezing rain and sleet occurs a few times each winter in the area, as warm air overrides cold air at the low to mid-levels of the atmosphere. When the wind blows from the east, the cold air gets dammed against the mountains to the west and the result is freezing rain or sleet. Summers are hot and humid with a daily average in July of 80.7 °F (27.1 °C),[43] and the combination of heat and humidity leads to rather frequent thunderstorms.

Due to an urban heat island effect in the city proper and a moderating effect of the Chesapeake Bay, the outlying and inland parts of the Baltimore metro area are usually cooler than the city proper and the coastal towns. Thus, in the northern and western suburbs, winter snowfall is more significant, and some areas average more than 30 inches (76 cm) of snow per year.[45]

Extreme temperatures range from −7 °F (−22 °C) on February 9, 1934, and February 10, 1899,[46] up to 108 °F (42 °C) on July 22, 2011.[47][48] On average, 100 °F (38 °C)+ temperatures occur on 0.9 days annually, 90 °F (32 °C)+ on 37 days, and there are 10 days where the high fails to breach the freezing mark.[43]



Baltimore exhibits examples from each period of architecture over more than two centuries, and work from many famous architects such as Benjamin Latrobe, George A. Frederick, John Russell Pope, Mies van der Rohe and I. M. Pei.

The city is rich in architecturally significant buildings in a variety of styles. The Baltimore Basilica (1806–1821) is a neoclassical design by Benjamin Latrobe, and also the oldest Catholic cathedral in the United States. In 1813 Robert Cary Long, Sr., built for Rembrandt Peale the first substantial structure in the United States designed expressly as a museum. Restored, it is now the Municipal Museum of Baltimore, or popularly the Peale Museum.

The McKim Free School was founded and endowed by John McKim, although the building was erected by his son Isaac in 1822 after a design by William Howard and William Small. It reflects the popular interest in Greece when the nation was securing its independence, as well as a scholarly interest in recently published drawings of Athenian antiquities.

The Phoenix Shot Tower (1828), at 234.25 feet (71.40 m) tall, was the tallest building in the United States until the time of the Civil War. It was constructed without the use of exterior scaffolding. The Sun Iron Building, designed by R.C. Hatfield in 1851, was the city's first iron-front building and was a model for a whole generation of downtown buildings. Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, built in 1870 in memory of financier George Brown, has stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany and has been called "one of the most significant buildings in this city, a treasure of art and architecture" by Baltimore Magazine.[50][51]

The 1845 Greek Revival-style Lloyd Street Synagogue is one of the oldest synagogues in the United States. The Johns Hopkins Hospital, designed by Lt. Col. John S. Billings in 1876, was a considerable achievement for its day in functional arrangement and fireproofing.

I.M. Pei's World Trade Center (1977) is the tallest equilateral pentagonal building in the world at 405 feet (123 m) tall.

The Inner Harbor East area has seen the addition of two new towers which have completed construction: a 24-floor tower that is the new world headquarters of Legg Mason, and a 21-floor Four Seasons Hotel complex.

The streets of Baltimore are organized in a grid pattern, lined with tens of thousands of brick and formstone-faced rowhouses. In The Baltimore Rowhouse, Mary Ellen Hayward and Charles Belfoure considered the rowhouse as the architectural form defining Baltimore as "perhaps no other American city."[52] In the mid-1790s, developers began building entire neighborhoods of the British-style rowhouses, which became the dominant house type of the city early in the 19th century.[53]

Formstone facings, now a common feature on Baltimore rowhouses, were an addition patented in 1937 by Albert Knight. John Waters characterized formstone as "the polyester of brick" in his 30-minute documentary film, Little Castles: A Formstone Phenomenon.[54]

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is considered by many to be the most beautiful baseball park in Major League Baseball, and has inspired many other cities to build their own versions of this retro style ballpark. Camden Yards along with the National Aquarium have helped revive the Inner Harbor from what once was an industrial district full of dilapidated warehouses, into a bustling commercial district full of bars, restaurants and retail establishments. Today, the Inner Harbor boasts the highest, most desirable real estate in the Mid-Atlantic.[55]

Baltimore's newly rehabilitated Everyman Theatre was honored by the Baltimore Heritage at the 2013 Preservation Awards Celebration in 2013. Everyman Theatre will receive an Adaptive Reuse and Compatible Design Award as part of Baltimore Heritage's 2013 historic preservation awards ceremony. Baltimore Heritage is Baltimore's nonprofit historic and architectural preservation organization, which works to preserve and promote Baltimore's historic buildings and neighborhoods.[56]

Tallest buildings

Rank Building Height Floors Built
1 Transamerica Tower (formerly the Legg Mason Building)[57] 529 feet (161 m) 40 1973 [58]
2 Bank of America Building 509 feet (155 m) 37 1924 [59]
3 William Donald Schaefer Building 493 feet (150 m) 37 1992 [60]
4 Commerce Place 454 feet (138 m) 31 1992 [61]
5 100 East Pratt Street 418 feet (127 m) 28 1992 [62]
6 Baltimore World Trade Center 405 feet (123 m) 28 1977 [63]
7 Tremont Plaza Hotel 395 feet (120 m) 37 1967 [64]
8 Charles Towers South Apartments 385 feet (117 m) 30 1969 [65]
9 Blaustein Building 360 feet (110 m) 30 1962 [66]
10 250 West Pratt Street 360 feet (110 m) 24 1986 [67]


Baltimore is divided officially into nine geographical regions (clock-wise): Northern, Northeastern, Eastern, Southeastern, Southern, Southwestern, Western, Northwestern, and Central; with each corallated with and also patrolled by a respective similar district in the Baltimore City Police Department. However, it is common for local residents, long-time citizens and the media to divide the city simply by East or West Baltimore, using the main commercial/business and residential thoroughfare of Charles Street as a dividing line, and/or into North and South using equally notable Baltimore Street as a dividing line, or also using the additional segments of Northeast, Southeast, Southwest and Northwest too.

Central District includes Downtown Baltimore, the city's main commercial area and business district. Home to Harborplace, the Camden Yards sports complex (Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium), the Baltimore Convention Center, Maryland Science Center, National Aquarium in Baltimore, and the Power Plant; the area also includes many nightclubs, bars and restaurants, shopping centers and various other attractions. Many of Baltimore's key businesses, such as most major banks – both local and branches of out-of-town establishment. Legg Mason and Constellation Energy, are based here. In addition, the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus is housed in this area, with the long-associated University of Maryland Medical Center (formerly Hospital) adjacent to the various graduate schools.

Downtown Baltimore has mainly served as a commercial district with limited residential opportunities. However, since 2002 the downtown population has doubled to 12,000 residents. The Central district stretches north of the downtown core up to the edge of Druid Hill Park. This northern portion of Central, between downtown and the park, is home to many of the city's cultural opportunities. Maryland Institute College of Art, the Peabody Institute (music conservatory), George Peabody Library, Enoch Pratt Free Library - Central Library, the Lyric Opera House, the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the Walters Art Museum, the Maryland Historical Society and its Enoch Pratt Mansion, and several galleries are located in this region.

North Baltimore lies directly north of the Central district and is bounded on the east by The Alameda and on the west by Pimlico Road. Loyola University Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, St. Mary's Seminary and University and Notre Dame of Maryland University are located in this district, as well as the affluent residential neighborhoods of Roland Park, the first planned suburban community in America (1891), Guilford (1913), Homeland, and the working-class neighborhoods of Hampden, Woodberry famous for its acclaimed independent business district, and the adjacent mill industrial area of Woodberry, along the upper Jones Falls. Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, the city's premier high school for mathematics, science and engineering, and adjacent Western High School, the only remaining girls secondary school in America, share a joint campus at West Cold Spring Lane and Falls Road along the upper Jones Falls Expressway (Interstate 83). Along the older York Road corridor going north to Towson (the county seat of suburban Baltimore County since 1851) and eventually York, Pennsylvania, are the large neighborhoods of Waverly and Govans and Mount Washington.

South Baltimore, a mixed industrial and residential area, consists of the "Old South Baltimore" peninsula area of the city to Whetstone Point below the "Inner Harbor", and east of the old B&O Railroad's Camden line tracks and the Baltimore–Washington Parkway (Maryland Route 295) extension into Russell Street downtown. It is a mixed socio-economic region consisting of working class, culturally and ethnically diverse waterfront neighborhoods such as Locust Point and Riverside around the large park of the same name;[68] The historic Federal Hill area, just south of the "Inner Harbor", is now home to many working professionals, pubs and restaurants. At the end of the peninsula is historic Fort McHenry, a National Shrine and park since the end of World War I, when the old U.S. Army Hospital surrounding the 1798 star-shaped battlements was torn down.[69] Across from the old South Baltimore peninsula and the Middle and Ferry (now South) branches of the Patapsco River spanned by the Hanover Street Bridge (1854/1917; recently renamed the Vietnam Veterans Bridge), are more working class, lower-income residential areas such as Cherry Hill[70] and Brooklyn, Curtis Bay, and former neighborhoods Fairfield, Wagner's Point and Hawkins Point, with Fort Armistead bordering northern Anne Arundel County on the city's south side. The area below the Hanover Street Bridge and Middle/Ferry Branches was annexed to the city in 1919 from being independent towns.

Westport is a slowly gentrifying neighborhood on the western shore of the Middle Branch (formerly Ridgeley's Cove) of the Patapsco River along the southwestern spoke of Old Annapolis Road (Maryland Route 648) with blocks of 1920s-era porch-front rowhouses divided by the Baltimore–Washington Parkway running southwest from Russell Street. With the recent demolition of the former Carr-Lowry glass factory and the Westport power generating station of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company which occupied the western shore of the waterfront, the area has been approved for tremendous waterfront development in the years to come, rivaling the original Inner Harbor and Fells Point/Canton neighborhoods of decades before.[71] The neighborhood is a mix of retirees, vacant homeowners/speculators, professionals, and low-income families. The waterfront portion of the community remains fenced off, pending future development.

Further southwest and west of the Middle Branch of the Patapsco are the working middle-class communities of Lakeland, Mount Winans, Violetville, and Morrell Park, which are sometimes mistakenly included in the description of southern Baltimore City communities.

"East Baltimore" consists of the Northeastern, Eastern, and Southeastern districts:

Northeast is primarily a residential neighborhood, home to Morgan State University, bounded by the city line of 1919 on its northern and eastern boundaries, Sinclair Lane, Erdman Avenue, and Pulaski Highway on its southern boundaries and The Alameda on its western boundaries. It has undergone demographic shifts over many years and has become predominantly African American. Also in this wedge of the city on 33rd Street is the elite academic humanities, liberal arts and social studies high school Baltimore City College, third oldest public secondary school in the United States, founded downtown in 1839. Across Loch Raven Boulevard is the campus of the old Eastern High School, closed in 1984 and renovated for bio-med offices for Johns Hopkins, as well as the former historic site of old Memorial Stadium for the Baltimore Colts and Baltimore Orioles, now replaced by an YMCA athletic and housing complex.[72][73][74]

Eastern Baltimore is the heart of what is considered "Old East Baltimore" and is home to Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine on Broadway. Located below Erdman Avenue and Sinclair Lane, above Orleans Street, it is an almost exclusively African-American area, made up of low-income residential neighborhoods. Entire blocks of abandoned buildings and its chronic problem with drug trafficking made this area a frequent on-site film location for Homicide: Life on the Street, an NBC television series based on a bestselling book by David Simon, former reporter for The Baltimore Sun in 1997-2001, and the sequels The Corner and The Wire, an HBO cable television drama produced from 2002 to 2008.[75] East Baltimore is also home to one the most important and costly development projects in the city surrounding the Johns Hopkins Medical Center. East Baltimore Development Initiative is the developer and has made strides in making positive changes throughout this immediate area.[76]

Southeast Baltimore, located below Fayette Street, bordering the Inner Harbor and the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River on its western boundary, the city line of 1919 on its eastern boundaries and the Baltimore Harbor/Patapsco River on its southern boundaries, is a mixed industrial and residential area. Areas west of Patterson Park Avenue are arguably some of the most diverse areas of the city, and is often considered an extension of Downtown Baltimore. Between Patterson Park Avenue and Haven Street, there are two main demographic areas, with areas south of Eastern Avenue predominantly white, and areas north of Eastern Avenue diverse with a growing Hispanic community, acting as a medium between the predominantly black area of East Central Baltimore and the predominantly white area to the south. East of Haven Street, the neighborhoods start to vary widely. There is a significant mix of races and cultures, a common characteristic of Southeastern neighborhoods.[77][78][79][80] Further beyond the city limits in Baltimore County on the Patapsco Neck peninsula between Back River and the Patapsco are the many working-class suburban neighborhoods of Dundalk; Sparrows Point with its massive steel manufacturing plants and shipyards, formerly owned for decades by Bethlehem Steel Corporation; North Point, a former War of 1812 battlefield, now a residential and commercial area; and Fort Howard, with its residential community amidst the former Spanish-American War-era fort, now a county park, and the U.S. Veterans Administration medical complex. Canton, is one of the most rapidly developing neighborhoods along Baltimore's prime waterfront. Canton Crossing development is to be completed by 2014, with retail, residential, office, and parks.[81]

"West Baltimore" consists of the Northwestern, Western, and Southwestern districts:

Northwestern is bounded by the county line of 1919 on its northern and western boundaries, Gwynns Falls Parkway on the south and Pimlico Road on the east, is home to Pimlico Race Course and Sinai Hospital. Its neighborhoods are mostly residential. The area was the center of Baltimore's Jewish community since after World War II, when it gradually moved here from the Jonestown and Old Town neighborhoods along East Lombard Street ("Corned Beef Row") in "Old East Baltimore", where they had established themselves since the 1830s. The district's Park Heights and Pimlico neighborhoods underwent white flight beginning in the 1960s and became almost exclusively black, but later re-integrated with a new influx of Jewish refugees from the former Soviet Union since the mid-1980s.[82][83] The Jewish migration has continued further northwest into Baltimore County in the Pikesville and Reisterstown corridor. According to the North American Jewish Data Bank,[84] as of 2011 Baltimore had a Jewish population of around 30,900 people, or 5.0% of the total city population. Northern Parkway divides the Northwestern district into two distinctly different demographic areas. Neighborhoods to the north of the parkway, such as Mount Washington and Cheswolde, are predominantly white, with low-density suburban housing. South of the parkway, the neighborhoods are mostly black. Some of the neighborhoods south of the parkway also have suburban housing,[82] but several are high density urban communities, with a greater percentage of residents reported below the poverty level in the 2000 census.[85]

West Baltimore is located west of downtown and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, is the heart of "Old West Baltimore", bounded by Gwynns Falls Parkway, Fremont Avenue, and West Baltimore Street. Coppin State University, Mondawmin Mall, and Edmondson Village, located in this district, have been historic cultural and economic centers of the city's African American community. Once home to many middle to upper class African Americans, over the years the more affluent residents have migrated to other sections of the city or beyond the city line into Baltimore County and Howard County.[86] Income levels below the poverty line were reported by the 2000 census for more than 45 percent of residents in some of the district's neighborhoods, which are almost exclusively black.[87][88] Like East Baltimore, the area's crime problems have provided subject material for television series, such as The Wire. Local organizations, such as the Sandtown Habitat for Humanity and the Upton Planning Committee, have been steadily transforming formerly blighted areas of the Western district into clean, safe and well-kept communities with increasing amounts of money and attention such as Sandtown-Winchester.[89][90]

Southwest is bounded by the Baltimore County line of 1919 to the west, West Baltimore Street to the north, and the downtown area/Martin Luther King Boulevard and Russell Street/Baltimore-Washington Parkway (Maryland Route 295) to the east. Close to the inner city is "Pigtown", which has also been called by the more lofty name of "Washington Village", an industrial and blue-collar residential neighborhood surrounding Carroll Park, one of the city's largest, with its landmark colonial Mount Clare Mansion owned by Charles Carroll. Washington Boulevard (U.S. Route 1), which dates to pre-Revolutionary War days as the prime route out of the city to Alexandria, Virginia, and Georgetown on the Potomac River, passes through the restored neighborhood of Ridgely's Delight. St. Agnes Hospital on Wilkens and Caton avenues is located in this district with the neighboring Cardinal Gibbons High School (at the former site of the famous St. Mary's Industrial School where "Babe" Ruth was educated and hit his first homers), amid a mix of industrial parks and residential areas split by the Gwynns Falls and Leakin Park green areas in the stream valley. Also through this segment of Baltimore ran the beginnings of the historic National Road, which was constructed beginning in 1806 as a turnpike and later assumed by the United States government under Presidents Jefferson, Madison and Monroe along old Frederick Avenue and continuing into the county on Frederick Road to Ellicott City, Frederick and eventually Cumberland, Maryland before ending in Vandalia, the territorial capital of Illinois near the Mississippi River by the 1850s. Before being overtaken by Interstate 70 in the 1960s, this major highway as U.S. Route 40 was a major thoroughfare for western travelers and Conestoga freight wagons. Economic and demographic characteristics of the Southwestern district vary greatly. Almost exclusively black, the Uplands neighborhood, near the Central district, had 39.9 percent of its residents measured below the poverty line by the 2000 census.[91] Predominantly white areas like Violetville, along with mixed communities such as Lakeland, Morrell Park and Mount Winans at the city's southwest edge, had only 6.4 percent of its residents reported below the poverty line.[92]

Parks and Recreation

The City of Baltimore boasts over 4,900 acres of parkland.[93] The Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks manages the majority of parks and recreational facilities in the city including Patterson Park, Federal Hill Park, and Druid Hill Park.[94] The city is also home to Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, a coastal star-shaped fort best known for its role in the War of 1812. In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, reported that Baltimore had the 21st best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities.[93]

Adjacent communities

The City of Baltimore is bordered by the following communities, all unincorporated census-designated places.


Main article: Culture of Baltimore

Historically a working-class port town, Baltimore has sometimes been dubbed a "city of neighborhoods", with 72 designated historic districts[95] traditionally occupied by distinct ethnic groups. Most notable today are three downtown areas along the port: the Inner Harbor, frequented by tourists due to its hotels, shops, and museums; Fells Point, once a favorite entertainment spot for sailors but now refurbished and gentrified (and featured in the movie Sleepless in Seattle); and Little Italy, located between the other two, where Baltimore's Italian-American community is based – and where former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi grew up. Further inland, Mount Vernon is the traditional center of cultural and artistic life of the city; it is home to a distinctive Washington Monument, set atop a hill in a 19th-century urban square, that predates the more well-known monument in Washington, D.C. by several decades. Baltimore also has a significant German American population,[96] and was the second largest port of immigration to the United States, behind New York. A Chinatown dating back to at least the 1880s, and having consisted of no more than 400 Chinese residents, still has a local Chinese-American association based there and has only one Chinese restaurant as of 2009.

Each year the Artscape takes place in the city in the Bolton Hill neighborhood, due to its proximity to Maryland Institute College of Art. Artscape styles itself as the "largest free arts festival in America".[97] Each May, the Maryland Film Festival takes place in Baltimore, using all five screens of the historic Charles Theatre as its anchor venue.

The nickname "Charm City" comes from a 1975 meeting of advertisers seeking to improve the city's reputation.[98][99]

Baltimore Harbor's restoration has made it "a city of boats", with several historic ships and other attractions on display and open for the public to visit. The USS Constellation, the last Civil War-era vessel afloat, is docked at the head of the Inner Harbor; the USS Torsk, a submarine that holds the Navy's record for dives (more than 10,000); and the Coast Guard cutter Taney, the last surviving U.S. warship that was in Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack on Dec 7, 1941, and which engaged Japanese Zero aircraft during the battle.[100]

Also docked is the lightship Chesapeake, which for decades marked the entrance to Chesapeake Bay; and the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, the oldest surviving screw-pile lighthouse on Chesapeake Bay, which once marked the mouth of the Patapsco River and the entrance to Baltimore. All of these attractions are owned and maintained by the Historic Ships in Baltimore organization. The Inner Harbor also is the home port of Pride of Baltimore II, the state of Maryland's "goodwill ambassador" ship, a reconstruction of a famous Baltimore Clipper ship.[100]

The Wire, was set and filmed in Baltimore. House of Cards, conversely, was set in Washington, DC but filmed in Baltimore.[101]

Local dialect

Main article: Baltimore dialect

One thing visitors quickly notice is that some locals refer to their city as "Balmer", dropping the "t". The traditional local white accent, particular to some working-class areas of the city, has long been noted and celebrated as "Baltimorese" or "Bawlmorese". While in other parts of the city, locals refer to their city as "Baldamore". As a member of the Mid-Atlantic English dialect group, Baltimore's dialect shares many characteristics with Philadelphia's, such as the addition of an "eh" sound before a long "o". Its influence distinguishes Baltimore, especially with words containing "oi" flattened into an "aw" sound.[102]

Baltimore native John Waters parodies the city and its dialect extensively in his films. Most of them are filmed and/or set in Baltimore, including the 1972 cult classic Pink Flamingos, as well as Hairspray and its Broadway musical remake.

Performing arts

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is an internationally renowned orchestra, founded in 1916 as a publicly funded municipal organization. The current Music Director is Marin Alsop, a protégé of Leonard Bernstein. Centerstage is the premier theater company in the city and a regionally well-respected group. The Lyric Opera House is the home of Lyric Opera Baltimore, which operates there as part of the Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center. The Baltimore Consort has been a leading early music ensemble for over twenty-five years. The France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, home of the restored Thomas W. Lamb-designed Hippodrome Theatre, has afforded Baltimore the opportunity to become a major regional player in the area of touring Broadway and other performing arts presentations.

Baltimore also boasts a wide array of professional (non-touring) and community theater groups. Aside from Center Stage, resident troupes in the city include Everyman Theatre, Single Carrot Theatre, and Baltimore Theatre Festival. Community theaters in the city include Fells Point Community Theatre and the Arena Players Inc., which is the nation's oldest continuously operating African American community theater.[103] In 2009, the Baltimore Rock Opera Society, an all-volunteer theatrical company, launched its first production.[104]

Baltimore is home to the Pride of Baltimore Chorus, a three-time international silver medalist women's chorus, affiliated with Sweet Adelines International.

The Maryland Film Festival, a five-day international film festival, takes place in downtown Baltimore each May.

Baltimore is the home of non-profit chamber music organization Vivre Musicale. VM won a 2011–2012 CMA/ASCAP award for Adventurous Programming.[105]

Baltimore is also home to the non-profit organization the Maryland State Boychoir which is stationed in the Mayfield neighborhood of northeastern Baltimore.

The Peabody Institute, located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, is the oldest conservatory of music in the United States.[106] Established in 1857, it is one of the most prestigious in the world,[106] along with Juilliard, Eastman, and the Curtis Institute. The city is also home to the Baltimore School for the Arts, a public high school in the Mount Vernon neighborhood of Baltimore. The institution is nationally recognized for its success in preparation for students entering music (vocal/instrumental), theatre (acting/theater production), dance, and visual arts.

LGBT culture

Baltimore is welcoming to the LGBT community with many gay-friendly accommodations, social and nightlife activities. The Mount Vernon historic neighborhood is the epicenter of gay culture in the city as the host of a mix of culture, dining, shopping and entertainment.[107]

Baltimore Pride has celebrated the diversity of the LGBT community in Maryland and throughout the greater Mid-Atlantic for nearly 40 years. In the decades since, Baltimore Pride has grown to become Maryland's largest LGBT event, providing an opportunity for the Greater Maryland community to learn more about the LGBT community and their families through exhibitions and events. The Pride Fest is attended by an estimated 30,000 people annually and takes place in the historical district Druid Hill Park. It is known as one of the premiere festivals in the city. The Parade and Block Party are held in Mount Vernon.[107]

The LGBT Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland (GLCCB) has published a newsletter, Gay Life (formerly known as Baltimore City Gay Paper) since 1979. The newsletter distributes 10,000-12,500 copies throughout the Mid-Atlantic region and offers coverage of local, national, and international news.[108]


Once a predominantly industrial town, with an economic base focused on steel processing, shipping, auto manufacturing, and transportation, the city experienced deindustrialization which cost residents tens of thousands of low-skill, high-wage jobs.[109] The city now relies on a low-wage service economy, which accounts for 90% of jobs in the city.[110][111]

Around the turn of the century, Baltimore, Maryland was the leading US manufacturer of rye whiskey and straw hats. It also led in refining of crude oil, brought to the city by pipeline from Pennsylvania.[112]

Baltimore's unemployment rate in July 2012 was 11%,[113] and the 2012 closure of a major steel plant at Sparrows Point is expected to have a further impact on employment and the local economy.[114] One quarter of Baltimore residents (and 37% of Baltimore children) live in poverty.[115]

The city is home to the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Other large companies in Baltimore include Under Armour,[116] Cordish Company,[117] Legg Mason, McCormick & Company, T. Rowe Price, and Royal Farms.[118] A sugar refinery owned by American Sugar Refining is one of Baltimore's cultural icons. Nonprofits based in Baltimore include Lutheran Services in America and Catholic Relief Services.


Baltimore's history and attractions have allowed the city to become a strong tourist destination on the East Coast. In 2012, the city saw 21.3 million visitors visit downtown Baltimore alone, spending $4.4 billion.[119] The Baltimore Visitor Center, which is operated by Visit Baltimore, is located on Light Street in the Inner Harbor. Much of the city's tourism centers around the Inner Harbor, with the National Aquarium being Maryland's top tourist destination.

Other popular tourist destinations throughout the city include Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Fort McHenry, the Mount Vernon and Fells Point neighborhoods, and museums such as the Walters Art Museum, Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards and the Baltimore Museum of Industry.


Further information: Ethnic groups in Baltimore
Historical population
Census Pop.
2012 estimate

At the 2010 Census, there were 620,961 people residing in Baltimore, a decrease of 4.6% since 2000. The 2012 Census estimate has the population of Baltimore at 621,342 as of July 2012, an increase of 1,100 residents over the previous year and the first increase in population since its peak in 1950.[120] Downtown Baltimore and its surrounding neighborhoods are seeing a resurgence of young professionals and immigrants, which is mirroring major cities all over. The increase, attributed to growing international migration and fewer people abandoning the city, is the second census estimate since Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced at her inauguration in December 2011 that her main goal is to increase the city's population by "10,000 families" within a decade.

According to the 2010 Census, 63.7% of the population was Black, 29.6% White, 0.4% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.3% Asian, 1.8% from some other race and 2.1% of two or more races. 4.2% of Baltimore's population was of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin (they may be of any race). Non-Hispanic Whites were 28% of the population in 2010,[121] compared to 80.6% in 1940.[122]

After New York City, Baltimore was the second city in the United States to reach a population of 100,000.[123][124] In the 1830, 1840, and 1850 US censuses, Baltimore was the second-largest city in population,[124][125] surpassed by Philadelphia in 1860.[126] It was among the top 10 cities in population in the United States in every census up to the 1980 census,[127] and after World War II had a population of nearly a million.

Although Baltimore's population has continued to decline since 1950, the number of families living downtown has increased significantly over the past 10 years, according to Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Inc. (Note: the population of Baltimore increased by 1,100 residents between July 2011 and July 2012 according to the latest estimate by the Census. This is the first increase since its peak in 1950.) Downtown Baltimore's core area experienced a population increase of 130% since 2000. The area in a one-mile radius of downtown between Pratt and Light streets grew 13.6% during that time as well. New construction and the conversion of obsolete commercial buildings into residences has been a primary factor for growth in the central city. The average household income in downtown increased 39.7% from $45,895 to $64,128.[128] Despite the increase in the number of families, Baltimore's downtown still lost about 10,000 total residents since the 2000 Census, a decline of about 6%.[129]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Baltimore's population lived in a total of 294,579 housing units in 2009. Age ranges were 22.4% under 18 years old, 11.8% at age 65 or older, and 65.8% from 18 to 64 years old. Baltimore's population was 53.4% female.[130] The median age is 35 years old.

A statistical abstract prepared by the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the median income for a household in the city during 2008 at $30,078, and the median income for a family at $48,216. The same abstract also listed a per capita income of $22,885 for the city in 2008, with 15.4% of families and 19.3% of the population below the poverty line.[131]

Housing in Baltimore is relatively inexpensive for large, coastal cities of its size. The median sale price for homes in Baltimore in 2012 was $95,000.[132] Despite the housing collapse, and along with the national trends, Baltimore residents still face slowly increasing rent (up 3% in the summer of 2010).[133]

The homeless population in Baltimore is steadily increasing; it exceeded 4,000 people in 2011. The increase in the number of young homeless people was particularly severe.[134]

Population by Race in Baltimore Maryland (2010)
Race Population  % of Total
Total 620,961 100
African American 395,781 63
White 183,830 29
Hispanic or Latino 25,960 4
Asian 14,548 2
Two or More Races 12,955 2
Other 11,303 1
American Indian 2,270 < 1%
Three or more races 1,402 < 1%
Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander 274 < 1%


As of 2010, 90.92% (526,705) of Baltimore residents age 5 and older spoke English at home as a primary language, while 3.74% (21,661) spoke Spanish, 0.77% (4,442) African languages, 0.70% (4,078) French, and Chinese was spoken as a main language by 0.56% (3,237) of the population over the age of five.[136]


Main article: Crime in Baltimore

Crime in Baltimore, while concentrated in areas high in poverty and drug activity, has been an issue for many years. The city reported 223 homicides in 2010. This has been part of a general trend in all violent crimes for the city, which have declined from 21,799 in 1993 to 9,316 in 2010. Even with stark population decline taken into account—Baltimore went from 732,968 residents in 1993 to 620,961 in 2010—the drop in violent crime was significant, falling from 3.0 incidents per 100 residents to 1.6 incidents per 100 residents.[137] Baltimore's level of violent crime is still much higher than the national average, however. In 2009, a total of 1,318,398 violent crimes were reported nationwide across the United States, equivalent to a rate of just 0.4 incidents per 100 people.[138]

In 2011, Baltimore police reported 196 homicides, the lowest number of slayings in the city since a count of 197 homicides in 1978 and far lower than the peak homicide count of 353 slayings in 1993. The drop is significant, but the homicide rate is nevertheless in the same range the city saw in the mid-1980s, when the city had another 130,000 residents. City leaders credit a sustained focus on repeat violent offenders and increased community engagement for the continued drop, reflecting a nationwide decline in crime.[139]


Baltimore is an independent city, and not part of any county. For most governmental purposes under Maryland law, Baltimore City is treated as a county-level entity. The United States Census Bureau uses counties as the basic unit for presentation of statistical information in the United States, and treats Baltimore as a county equivalent for those purposes.

Baltimore has been a Democratic stronghold for over 150 years, with Democrats dominating every level of government. In virtually all elections, the Democratic primary is the real contest.[140] The city hosted the first six Democratic National Conventions, from 1832 through 1852, and hosted the DNC again in 1860, 1872, and 1912.[141][142]


For a full list of mayors, see List of Baltimore Mayors.

Sheila Dixon became the first female mayor of Baltimore on January 17, 2007. As the former City Council President, she assumed the office of Mayor when former Mayor Martin O'Malley took office as Governor of Maryland.[143] On November 6, 2007, Dixon won the Baltimore mayoral election. Mayor Dixon's administration ended less than three years after her election, the result of a criminal investigation that began in 2006 while she was still City Council President. She was convicted on a single misdemeanor charge of embezzlement on December 1, 2009. A month later, Dixon made an Alford plea to a perjury charge and agreed to resign from office; Maryland, like most states, does not allow convicted felons to hold office.[144][145]

Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who was City Council President at that time, assumed the office of Mayor on February 4, 2010, when Dixon's resignation became effective.[146] She was elected to a full term in 2011, receiving 84% of the vote.[147]

Baltimore City Council

Grassroots pressure for reform, voiced as Question P, restructured the city council in November 2002, against the will of the mayor, the council president, and the majority of the council. A coalition of union and community groups, organized by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), backed the effort.[148]

The Baltimore City Council is now made up of 14 single-member districts and one elected at-large council president. Bernard C. "Jack" Young has been the council president since February 2010, when he was unanimously elected by the other council members to replace Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who had become mayor.[149] Edward Reisinger, the 10th district representative, is the council's current vice president.[150]

State government

Since the legislative redistricting in 2002, Baltimore has had six legislative districts located entirely within its boundaries, giving the city six seats in the 47-member Maryland Senate and 18 in the 141-member Maryland House of Delegates.[151][152] During the previous 10-year period, Baltimore had four legislative districts within the city limits, but four others overlapped the Baltimore County line.[153] As of January 2011, all of Baltimore's state senators and delegates were Democrats.[151] Approval of the next redistricting plan is expected to become effective in time for Maryland's 2012 congressional primary election on February 14, 2012.[154]

State agencies

Federal government

Three of the state's eight congressional districts include portions of Baltimore: the 2nd, represented by Dutch Ruppersberger; the 3rd, represented by John Sarbanes; and the 7th, represented by Elijah Cummings. All three are Democrats; a Republican has not represented a significant portion of Baltimore in Congress since John Boynton Philip Clayton Hill represented the 3rd District in 1927, and has not represented any of Baltimore since the Eastern Shore-based 1st District lost its share of Baltimore after the 2000 census; it was represented by Republican Wayne Gilchrest at the time.

Both of Maryland's senators, Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski, are from Baltimore, and both represented the 3rd District before being elected to the Senate. Mikulski represented the 3rd from 1977 to 1987, and was succeeded by Cardin, who held the seat until his election and inauguration to the Senate in 2007.[155]

The Postal Service's Baltimore Main Post Office is located at 900 East Fayette Street in the Jonestown area.[156]

Law enforcement

The Baltimore City Police Department, founded 1853, is the primary law enforcement agency serving the citizens of Baltimore. Campus security for the city's public schools is provided by the Baltimore City Public Schools Police, established in the 1970s.

The Maryland Transportation Authority Police is the primary law enforcement agency on the Fort McHenry Tunnel Thruway (Interstate 95), the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel Thruway (Interstate 895), which go under the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River, and Interstate 395, which has three ramp bridges crossing the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River which are under MdTA jurisdiction, the Baltimore International Airport, and have limited concurrent jurisdiction with the Baltimore City Police under a memorandum of understanding.

Law enforcement on the fleet of transit buses and transit rail systems serving Baltimore is the responsibility of the Maryland Transit Administration Police, which is part of the Maryland Transit Administration of the state Department of Transportation. The MTA Police also share jurisdiction authority with the Baltimore City Police, governed by a memorandum of understanding.[157]

As the enforcement arm of the Baltimore circuit and district court system, the Baltimore City Sheriff's Office, created by state constitutional amendment in 1844, is responsible for the security of city courthouses and property, service of court-ordered writs, protective and peace orders, warrants, tax levies, prisoner transportation and traffic enforcement. Deputy Sheriffs are sworn law enforcement officials, with full arrest authority granted by the constitution of Maryland, the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission and the Sheriff of the City of Baltimore.[158]

The United States Coast Guard also operates and maintains a presence on Baltimore and Maryland waterways. Sector Baltimore is responsible for commanding law enforcement and search & rescue units as well as aids to navigation.

Baltimore City Fire Department

Main article: Baltimore City Fire Department

The city of Baltimore is protected by the over 1,800 professional firefighters of the Baltimore City Fire Department (BCFD), founded in December 1858, and began operating the following year. Replacing several warring independent volunteer companies since the 1770s and the confusion resulting from a riot involving the "Know-Nothing" political party two years before, the establishment of a unified professional fire fighting force was a major advance in urban governance. The BCFD operates out of 37 fire stations, located throughout the city and has a long history and sets of traditions in its various houses and divisions.


Roads and highways

The Interstate highways serving Baltimore are I-70, I-83 (the Jones Falls Expressway), I-95 (the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway north of the city), I-395, I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway), I-795 (the Northwest Expressway), I-895 (the Harbor Tunnel Thruway), and I-97. The city's mainline Interstate highways—I-95, I-83, and I-70—do not directly connect to each other, and in the case of I-70 end at a park and ride lot just inside the city limits, because of freeway revolts in Baltimore. These revolts were led primarily by Barbara Mikulski, now a United States senator, which resulted in the abandonment of the original plan. There are two tunnels traversing Baltimore Harbor within the city limits: the four-bore Fort McHenry Tunnel (serving I-95) and the two-bore Harbor Tunnel (serving I-895). The Baltimore Beltway crosses south of Baltimore Harbor over the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The only U.S. Highways in the city are US 1, which bypasses downtown, and US 40, which crosses downtown from east to west. Both run along major surface streets; however, US 40 utilizes a small section of a freeway cancelled in the 1970s in the west side of the city originally intended for Interstate 170. State routes in the city also travel along surface streets, with the exception of Maryland Route 295, which carries the Baltimore–Washington Parkway.

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation (BCDOT) is responsible for several functions of the road transportation system in Baltimore, including repairing roads, sidewalks, and alleys; road signs; street lights; and managing the flow of transportation systems.[159] In addition, the agency is in charge of vehicle towing and traffic cameras.[160][161] BCDOT maintains all streets within the city of Baltimore. These includes all streets that are marked as state and U.S. highways as well as the portions of I-83 and I-70 within the city limits. The only highways within the city that are not maintained by BCDOT are I-95, I-395, I-695, and I-895; those four highways are maintained by the Maryland Transportation Authority.[162]

Transit systems

Public transit

Public transit in Baltimore is mostly provided by the Maryland Transit Administration (abbreviated "MTA Maryland") and Charm City Circulator. MTA Maryland operates a comprehensive bus network, including several express and commuter buses, a small light rail network connecting Hunt Valley in the north to BWI Airport and Cromwell (Glen Burnie) in the south, and a subway line between Owings Mills and Johns Hopkins Hospital.[163] A proposed rail line, known as the Red Line, which would link the Social Security Administration to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and perhaps the Canton and Dundalk communities, was under study as of 2007; a proposal to extend Baltimore's existing subway line to Morgan State University, known as the Green Line, is in the planning stages.[164]

The Charm City Circulator (CCC), a shuttle bus service operated by Veolia Transportation for the Baltimore Department of Transportation, began operating in the downtown area in January 2010. Funded partly by a 16 percent increase in the city's parking fees, the circulator provides free bus service seven days a week, picking up passengers every 15 minutes at designated stops during service hours.[165][166]

The CCC's first bus line, the Orange route, travels between Hollins Market and Harbor East. Its Purple route, launched June 7, 2010, operates between Penn Station and Federal Hill. The Green route runs between Johns Hopkins and City Hall.[166][167] The Charm City Circulator operates a fleet of diesel and hybrid vehicles built by DesignLine, Orion, and Van Hool.[165]

Intercity rail

Baltimore is a top destination for Amtrak along the Northeast Corridor. Baltimore's Penn Station is one of the busiest in the country. In FY 2008, it ranked 8th in the United States with a total ridership of 1,020,304.[168] Just outside the city, Baltimore/Washington International (BWI) Thurgood Marshall Airport Rail Station is another popular stop. Amtrak's Acela Express, Palmetto, Carolinian, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Vermonter, Crescent, and Northeast Regional trains are the scheduled passenger train services that stop in the city. Additionally, MARC commuter rail service connects the city's two main intercity rail stations, Camden Station and Penn Station, with Washington, D.C.'s Union Station as well as stops in between. On December 7, 2013 the Penn and Camden lines will begin weekend service.[169]


Baltimore is served by two airports, both operated by the Maryland Aviation Administration, which is part of the Maryland Department of Transportation.[170] Baltimore–Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, generally known as "BWI," which lies about 10 miles (16 km) to the south in neighboring Anne Arundel County. In terms of passenger traffic, BWI is the 24th busiest airport in the United States.[171] It is accessible by I-95 and the Baltimore–Washington Parkway via Interstate 195, the Baltimore Light Rail, and Amtrak and MARC Train at BWI Rail Station.

Baltimore is also served by Martin State Airport, a general aviation facility, to the northeast in Baltimore County. Martin State Airport is linked to downtown Baltimore by Maryland Route 150 (Eastern Avenue) and by MARC Train at its own station.

Pedestrians and bicycles

Baltimore has a comprehensive system of bicycle routes in the city. These routes are not numbered, but are typically denoted with green signs sporting a silhouette of a bicycle upon an outline of the city's border, and denote the distance to destinations, much like bicycle routes in the rest of the state. The roads carrying bicycle routes are also labelled with either bike lanes, sharrows, or Share the Road signs. Many of these routes pass through the downtown area. The network of bicycle lanes in the city continues to expand. Guilford Avenue, between downtown and University Boulevard, was also reconstructed as a bike boulevard in 2012.

Baltimore currently has three major trail systems within the city. The Gwynns Falls Trail runs from the Inner Harbor to the I-70 Park and Ride, passing through Gwynns Falls Park and possessing numerous branches. There are also many pedestrian hiking trails traversing the park. The Jones Falls Trail currently runs from the Inner Harbor to the Cylburn Arboretum; however, it is currently undergoing expansion. Long term plans call for it to extend to the Mount Washington Light Rail Stop, and to also incorporate a spur alongside Western Run. The two aforementioned trails carry sections of the East Coast Greenway through the city. There is also the Herring Run Trail, which runs from Harford Road east to its end beyond Sinclair Lane, utilizing Herring Run Park; long term plans also call for its extension to Morgan State University. There are long-term plans for more trails to be built or expanded, including the Stony Run Trail.

In 2011, the city also undertook a campaign to reconstruct many sidewalk ramps in the city, coinciding with mass resurfacing of the city's streets. A 2011 study by Walk Score ranked Baltimore the 14th most walkable of fifty largest U.S. cities.[172]

Port of Baltimore

The port was founded in 1706, preceding the founding of Baltimore. The Maryland colonial legislature made the area near Locust Point as the port of entry for the tobacco trade with England. Fells Point, the deepest point in the natural harbor, soon became the colony's main ship building center, later on becoming leader in the construction of clipper ships.[173]

After Baltimore's founding, mills were built behind the wharves. The California Gold Rush led to many orders for fast vessels; many overland pioneers also relied upon canned goods from Baltimore. After the Civil War, a coffee ship was designed here for trade with Brazil. At the end of the nineteenth century, European ship lines had terminals for immigrants. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad made the port a major transshipment point.[174]:17,75 Currently the port has major roll-on/roll-off facilities, as well as bulk facilities, especially steel handling.[175]

Water taxis also operate in the Inner Harbor. Governor Ehrlich participated in naming the port after Helen Delich Bentley during the 300th anniversary of the port.[176]

In 2007, Duke Realty Corporation began a new development near the Port of Baltimore, named the Chesapeake Commerce Center. This new industrial park is located on the site of a former General Motors plant. The total project comprises 184 acres (0.74 km2) in eastern Baltimore City, and the site will yield 2,800,000 square feet (260,000 m2) of warehouse/distribution and office space. Chesapeake Commerce Center has direct access to two major Interstate highways (I-95 and I-895) and is located adjacent to two of the major Port of Baltimore terminals. The Port of Baltimore is one of two seaports on the U.S. East Coast with a 50-foot (15 m) dredge to accommodate the largest shipping vessels.[177]


Colleges and universities

Baltimore is the home of numerous places of higher learning, both public and private. Among them are:



Primary and secondary schools

The city's public schools are managed by the Baltimore City Public School System and include schools that have been well-known locally, regionally, and nationally: Carver Vocational-Technical High School, the first African-American vocational high school and center that was established in the state of Maryland; Digital Harbor High School, the only public high school in Baltimore that specializes in information technology; Lake Clifton Eastern High School, which is the largest school campus in Baltimore City of physical size; the historic Frederick Douglass High School, which is the second oldest African-American high school in the United States;[178] Baltimore City College, the third oldest public high school in the country;[179] and Western High School, the oldest public all-girls school in the nation.[180] Baltimore City College (also known as "City") and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute (also known as "Poly") share the nation's second-oldest high school football rivalry.[181]


Main article: Media in Baltimore

Baltimore's main newspaper is The Baltimore Sun. It was sold by its Baltimore owners in 1986 to the Times Mirror Company,[182] which was bought by the Tribune Company in 2000.[183] The Baltimore News-American, another long-running paper that competed with the Sun, ceased publication in 1986.[184]

The city is home to the Baltimore Afro-American, an influential African American newspaper founded in 1892.[185][186]

In 2006, The Baltimore Examiner was launched to compete with The Sun. It was part of a national chain that includes The San Francisco Examiner and The Washington Examiner. In contrast to the paid subscription Sun, The Examiner was a free newspaper funded solely by advertisements. Unable to turn a profit and facing a deep recession, The Baltimore Examiner ceased publication on February 15, 2009.

Despite being located 40 miles northeast of Washington, D.C., Baltimore is a major media market in its own right, with all major English language television networks represented in the city. WJZ-TV is a CBS owned and operated station, and WBFF is the flagship of Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest station owner in the country.

Nielsen ranked Baltimore as the 26th-largest television market for the 2008–2009 viewing season and the 27th-largest for 2009–2010.[187] Arbitron's Fall 2010 rankings identified Baltimore as the 22nd largest radio market.[188]

Sports teams

Main article: Sports in Baltimore


Baltimore has a long and storied baseball history, including the birth of Babe Ruth in 1895. The original 19th century Baltimore Orioles were one of the most successful early franchises, featuring numerous hall of famers during its years from 1882 to 1899.

As one of the eight inaugural American League franchises, the Baltimore Orioles played in the AL during the 1901 and 1902 seasons. The team moved to New York City before the 1903 season and was renamed the New York Highlanders, which later became the New York Yankees.

Ruth played for the minor league Baltimore Orioles team, which was active from 1903 to 1914. After playing one season in 1915 as the Richmond Climbers, the team returned the following year to Baltimore, where it played as the Orioles until 1953.[189]

The team currently known as the Baltimore Orioles has represented Major League Baseball locally since 1954 when the St. Louis Browns moved to the city of Baltimore. The Orioles advanced to the World Series in 1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979 and 1983, winning three times (1966, 1970 and 1983), while making the playoffs all but one year (1972) from 1969 through 1974. In 1995, local player (and later Hall of Famer) Cal Ripken, Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's "unbreakable" streak of 2,130 consecutive games played, for which Ripken was named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine. Six former Orioles players, including Ripken (2007), and two of the team's managers have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Area fans, such as Wild Bill Hagy, are known for their enthusiasm. Hagy, a cab driver from Dundalk, gained notoriety leading chants from the upper deck of the Memorial Stadium during the 1970s and 1980s.


After moving to Baltimore in 1953, the former Dallas Texans (NFL) played as the Baltimore Colts until 1984. During this period, NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas set a record of 47 consecutive games with a touchdown pass surpassed only in 2012 by Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints. The Colts advanced to the NFL Championship twice (1958 & 1959) and Super Bowl twice (1969 & 1971), winning all except Super Bowl III in 1969. The team name previously belonged to an All-America Football Conference which played in Baltimore from 1947 to 1950, then folded after becoming an NFL franchise team in 1950. The team which took the name in 1953 left Baltimore for Indianapolis in 1984, where it became the Indianapolis Colts.
Further information: History of the Baltimore Colts and History of the Indianapolis Colts
The Baltimore Stallions was an expansion professional football team that joined the Canadian Football League in 1994. It remained in Baltimore for two seasons before relocating to Montreal after the 1995 season to become the Montreal Alouettes. While playing for Baltimore, the team posted the best two season starts of any CFL expansion team ever, advancing to the Grey Cup in both seasons. In its final season in Baltimore, the Stallions became the only U.S. based CFL team to win the Grey Cup, upsetting the heavily favored Calgary Stampeders.
Further information: List of Grey Cup champions

The NFL returned to Baltimore a year after the Stallions left, when the former Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore to become the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. Since then, the Ravens won a Super Bowl championship in 2000 and 2012, four AFC North division championships (2003, 2006, 2011 and 2012), and appeared in four AFC Championship Games (2000, 2008, 2011 and 2012).

Further information: History of the Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore has two women's American football teams: the Baltimore Burn (founded 2001) and the Baltimore Nighthawks (founded 2007). Both teams play at Art Modell Field.

The Baltimore Mariners, a franchise of the American Indoor Football Association, played at the 1st Mariner Arena from 2008 to 2010. After winning the AIFA championship to cap an undefeated season in 2010, the team folded over charges that owner Dwayne Wells purchased the franchise with embezzled funds.[190]

Other teams and events

Baltimore Bohemians, a USL PDL soccer franchise founded in 2011, finished second in the Mid-Atlantic division in 2013, clinching a playoff berth in their second season. The Bohemians also secured a U.S. Open Cup berth and led the entire 62-team PDL in scoring with 42 league goals.[191]

Baltimore Blast, a franchise of the Major Indoor Soccer League, has been playing at the 1st Mariner Arena since 1992. Originally known as Baltimore Spirit, the team changed its name in 1998. The current name was previously used by another indoor soccer team that played in Baltimore from 1980 to 1992. Since joining the MISL in 2001, the Baltimore Blast have won six league championships: 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2012.[192]

The Baltimore Blues are a semi-professional rugby league football club which began competition in the USA Rugby League in 2012.[193]

Other professional or semi-professional Baltimore teams include the Charm City Roller Girls, a member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association since 2005.

Preakness Stakes, the second race in the United States Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, is held every May at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore.

College lacrosse is a popular sport in the spring, as the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays men's lacrosse team has won 44 national championships, the most of any program in history. In addition, Loyola University won its first men's NCAA lacrosse championship in 2012.

The Baltimore Grand Prix debuted along the streets of the Inner Harbor section of the city's downtown on September 2–4, 2011. The event played host to the American Le Mans Series on Saturday and the IndyCar Series on Sunday. Support races from smaller series were also held, including Indy Lights.

Sister cities

Baltimore has ten sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International: [194][195]

See also

Baltimore portal


External links

  • City of Baltimore official website
  • Visit Baltimore – official Destination Marketing Organization
  • Baltimore City Maps, historic maps at the Sheridan Libraries.
Preceded by
Capitol of the United States of America
Succeeded by

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