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