Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Baltimore
BALTIMORE, in Maryland, one of the largest and most flourishing cities in the United States of North America, is situated on the north side of the Patapsco River or Bay, 14 miles above its entrance into the Chesapeake, 37 miles N.E. of Washington, and 100 S.W. of Philadelphia. Lat. 39° 17′ N., long. 76° 36′ W. The natural advantages of this position were long overlooked by the settlers in the vicinity of the Chesapeake; and it was only in 1729 that they directed their attention to the place, and laid out a plan of the town. At that time a part of it was under cultivation as a farm, but all the rest was a wilderness. For some years its growth was by no means rapid, as it had to contend with all the obstacles that could be thrown in its way by the jealousy of older rivals. From an authentic sketch of Baltimore made in the year 1752, it appears that it then contained about twenty-five houses, only four of which were built of brick, the rest being of a more primitive structure. In 1768 it became the county town; and in 1775, according to a census then taken, it contained 564 houses, and 5934 inhabitants. From this time it rose rapidly into importance; and in 1780 became a port of entry, when a custom-house was opened. Previous to this all vessels trading to and from the port had to be entered, cleared, and registered at Annapolis. In December 1796 it obtained an act of incorporation. By the census of 1870 Baltimore contained 267,854 inhabitants.
|1. Northern Central Railway Station.|| 7. Penitentiary.|
|2. Mount Claredo.|| 8. City Hull.|
|3. Camdendo.|| 9. Washington Monument.|
|4. St Mary's College.||10. Battle Monument.|
|5. Baltimore College.||11. Hospital.|
|6. Prison.||12. Lazaretto and Lighthouse.|
The city is pleasantly situated on slightly undulating ground, and extends about 4½ miles from E. to W., and 3½ from N. to S., covering an area of 10,000 acres. It is divided into two nearly equal parts by a small stream called Jones's Falls, crossed by a number of bridges. The division east of the falls is nominally subdivided into two parts—Fell's Point and Old Town. The former, the most easterly part of the town, is the principal resort of seamen, and is the place where the shipbuilding and manufactures are principally carried on. The Old Town lies to the N. and W. of this. The portion west of the Falls is likewise divided into two parts, the city proper and Spring Garden. The former is the centre of trade, and the residence of the more wealthy inhabitants; while the latter, which is the extreme south-western quarter, and the lowest and most unhealthy portion of the city, is inhabited by the poorer classes. Baltimore contains about 200 churches, and has three universities, several colleges, 122 public schools, a state normal school, a manual labour school, besides numerous private schools and academies, an academy of art and science, an infirmary, hospitals, asylums, dispensaries, &c., three theatres, an opera-house, a museum, and many fine public buildings. The most imposing building in the city is the new city hall, one of the finest structures of the kind in the country. It occupies an entire square of ground, an area of about 26,000 square feet, near the centre of the city, and contains the various municipal offices. The style of architecture is the Renaissance, of which it is a fine specimen. The entire outer facing of the walls, the portico, and all the ornamental work, are of white Maryland marble; the inner walls and floors are of brick, and are fire-proof. It is four stories high, surmounted by a Mansard roof of iron and slate, with a dome and tower of iron on a marble base, rising to the height of 240 feet. The interior is very finely finished. It was begun in 1867, and cost about $2,600,000. Another important public building is that of the Peabody Institute, founded by the late George Peabody, Esq., of London, and endowed by him to the amount of $1,400,000. It has provisions for a public library, a gallery of art, and a conservatory of music, also for lectures and musical performances. It was incorporated in 1857. One wing of the building, which is immediately contiguous to the Washington monument, is completed, and the remainder is in progress. The completed wing is faced and ornamented with white marble, in a simple but massive and imposing style, and contains the library of over 56,000 volumes (1875), and a hall for lectures, concerts, &c. The custom-house is a spacious building, 225 feet long, by 141 feet wide. The principal room is 53 feet square, and is lighted by a dome 115 feet above the street. On its four sides are colonnades, the columns of which are each a single block of fine Italian marble. Baltimore has several splendid monuments, which have acquired for it the name of “the Monumental City.” The largest of these, erected to the memory of Washington, stands on an eminence of 150 feet, and has, with its base, an altitude of 200 feet. It is of white marble; the base is 50 feet square, and 24 feet in height, surmounted by a Doric column 25 feet in diameter at the base, with a spiral staircase in its interior, and on the summit is a statue of Washington, 13 feet high. The “Battle Monument,” also of white marble, was erected by public subscription in 1815, to the memory of those who had fallen in defence of the city in the previous year. It is 52 feet high; the base is of Egyptian architecture; the column is in the form of a bundle of Roman fasces, upon the bands of which are inscribed the names of those whom it commemorates; and the whole is surmounted by a female figure, the emblematical genius of the city. The city is supplied with water from Lake Roland, an artificial lake about 8 miles north of the city, of a capacity of 500,000,000 gallons, and from three other reservoirs, with an aggregate storage capacity of about 580,000,000 gallons, the common source of supply being Jones's Falls. There are also numerous public springs and fountains throughout the town. Baltimore has a number of parks and public squares, chief of which is Druid Hill Park, a tract of 700 acres on the extreme north-west of the city, possessing more natural beauties than any other in the United States.
The manufactures and commerce of Baltimore are very extensive and flourishing. There is scarcely a branch of industry that is not prosecuted to some extent in the city or its vicinity. Among these are shipbuilding, iron and copper works, woollen and cotton manufactures, pottery, sugar-refining, petroleum-refining, distilling, saddlery, agricultural implement-making, cabinet-making, tanning, &c. In the vicinity of Baltimore is found the finest brick-clay in the world, of which more than 100,000,000 bricks are made annually. The Abbott Iron-works, in the eastern part of the city, have the largest rolling-mills in the United States. An industry peculiar to Baltimore is the packing of oysters in air-tight cans for shipment to all parts of the world. The oysters are taken in the Chesapeake Bay. Fruits and vegetables are also packed in the same way, the entire trade consuming from twenty to thirty million cans annually. This city is one of the greatest flour-markets in the Union, and has a large export trade in tobacco. There belonged to the port of Baltimore (30th November 1874) 834 vessels, registering 84,900 tons, of which 66 vessels (22,000 tons) were engaged in foreign, and the rest in the coasting trade. These figures show a considerable reduction from those of 1860, as a result of the war between the States, during which many Baltimore vessels were enrolled under foreign flags, and have so remained. There are twenty-six banks, with a capital (in 1874) of $14,000,000, and seven savings-banks; seventeen fire and marine and three life insurance companies, besides many agencies for other companies. The assessed value of taxable property of all kinds in Baltimore for the year 1870 was $207,181,550, and for the year 1875, $231,242,313, being an increase of $24,060,763. The harbour, which consists of three parts, is excellent. Its entrance, between Fort M‘Henry and the lazaretto, is about 600 yards wide, with 23 feet of water. This depth is continued with an increased width for a mile and a quarter, to near Fell's Point. The entrance to the second harbour is opposite Fell's Point, where the width is contracted to one-fourth of a mile, with a depth of 16 feet. Above this entrance it widens into an ellipse of a mile long, half a mile broad, and 15 feet deep. The third, or inner harbour, has a depth of 14 feet, and penetrates to near the centre of the city. Vessels of the largest class can lie at the wharves near Fell's Point, Locust Point, and Canton, and those of 500 tons can come into the inner harbour. The harbour is defended by Fort M‘Henry. The railroads of Baltimore are,—The Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore line, opened in 1837, length 98 miles; the Northern Central, to Sunbury in Pennsylvania, completed in 1858, length 138 miles; the Baltimore and Potomac to the Potomac River, opened in 1873, length 73 miles, with a branch to Washington (on this road there is a tunnel a mile and three-quarters in length); the Baltimore and Ohio, the main stem of which goes to Wheeling, a distance of 379 miles, opened through in 1853. It has the Parkersburg Division, 104 miles; the Central Ohio Division, to Columbus, 513 miles from Baltimore; and the Lake Erie Division to Chicago, opened in 1874, 878 miles. The city is also traversed by numerous lines of horse-railways for the convenience of local travel. In healthfulness Baltimore is the fourth city in the Union, its annual death-rate being .025. Its mean annual temperature is 56° Fahr.; the mean summer and winter temperatures 76° and 30° respectively.