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Baltimore Trivia: 30 Interesting Facts About Charm City

Trivia and Facts About Charm City

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After reading this list of interesting Baltimore facts, impress your friends with your knowledge of Charm City.

1. A City of Firsts

Eating snowballs in Baltimore during summertime.
Photo by ramsey everydaypants / flickr.
  • The first umbrella factory in America was established in Baltimore in 1828.
  • The first post office system in the United States was inaugurated in Baltimore in 1774.
  • The first railroad station in Baltimore was built in 1830.
  • The first dental school in the world was founded in Baltimore in 1840.
  • The first telegraph line in the world was established between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore in 1844.
  • Baltimore was the first city to implement 311 service as a non-emergency hotline.
  • The first civic monument dedicated to President George Washington, Baltimore's Washington Monument, is located in Mount Vernon.
  • The first successful manned balloon launch in the United States launched from Baltimore and was operated by 13-year-old Edward Warren in 1784.
  • The first professional sports organization in the United States, The Maryland Jockey Club, was formed in Baltimore in 1743.
  • America's first Catholic cathedral, the Baltimore Basilica of Assumption, is located in Baltimore.
  • Baltimore was the first United States city to illuminate its streets using hydrogen gas in 1816. Electricity replaced these lamps a considerable time ago.
  • The first bloodshed of the Civil War, a clash between pro-South civilians and Union troops in Baltimore, happened in 1861.
  • The first black-owned shipyard in the United States is now an African American heritage site, the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum.
  • Snowballs—grandfathers to slushies, snow cones, and shave ice—were invented in Baltimore during the American Industrial Revolution.
  • Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is the first and only United States airport to have a dedicated trail for hiking and biking.
  • 2. By the Numbers

    Photo by ojbryne, flickr
  • The 40-story Legg Mason Building is the tallest building in Baltimore.
  • The 1,200-foot Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore is the third longest continuous truss bridge in the nation.
  • Baltimore is a city of more than 220 neighborhoods.
  • 3. Historical Facts & Figures

  • Francis Scott Key wrote America's National Anthem while watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
  • During the 1800s, Baltimore served as the second greatest port of entry for United States immigrants.
  • The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 burned for 30 hours, destroying 1,5000 buildings and leveling entire neighborhoods. A large part of the reason the fire blazed out of control was due to a problem with mismatched hose couplings. After the fire, firefighting equipment was standardized across the United States.
  • The USCGC Taney, the last ship to survive Pearl Harbor afloat, is docked in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and is available for tours.
  • 4. Famous Names

    Baltimore native Michael Phelps, along with his teammates, celebrates winning gold.
    Bryan Allison, wikimedia commons
  • Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals, was born in Baltimore.
  • Baseball players Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken, Jr., Billy Ripken, Lefty Grove, Frank (Home Run) Baker, and Harold Baines were born in Baltimore.
  • Sideshow performer Johnny Eck, known as the amazing "Half Boy," is a Baltimore native. Catch a display about him at Ripley's Believe it or Not!
  • David T. Abercrombie, the founder of the Abercrombie & Fitch brand, was born in Baltimore in June 1867.
  • Edgar Allan Poe mysteriously passed away in Baltimore and is buried at Westminster Hall and Burial Grounds.
  • Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, was born in Baltimore in 1908.
  • Reginald F. Lewis, the first black owner of a billion dollar company, was born in Baltimore. The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History is named in his honor.
  • Billie Holiday, the jazz singer, was born in Baltimore. A monument in her honor stands on the corner of Lafayette and Pennsylvania Avenues.
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