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F
t. McHenry, 1855
— Cator Prints, Enoch Pratt Public Library


1800
   -15
 Baltimore shipyard produce 122 Baltimore Clippers of privateering.

1807 A medical school is founded, around which will develop the University of Maryland.

1808  Mother Elizabeth Anne Seton opens academy for young women.

1813 First steamboat, Chesapeake, appears in the bay.

1814 Battle of Baltimore

1816 Adjacent land is annexed and new streets are laid out, under the aegis of John Eager Howard, chief landowner.1817 First gas streetlight in the world is lit on Holliday Street

1828 Baltimore & Ohio Railroad is founded

1830 Population of 80,625 makes Baltimore the second largest American city (after New York).

1830 Peter Cooper and local investors open the first industrial park in America on the Canton plantation.


1832
 Ann McKim, first of Baltimore's Clipper ships, is launched.

1833 Resident writer Edgar Allan Poe receives his first public recognition by winning a $50 prize for "Ms. Found in a Bottle."

1838  Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery by train from Baltimore.






Enterprising crossroads, 1800-1861

Abroad, a potato famine in Ireland and a revolution on the continent prompted thousand to leave home. Louis Braille develops a new form of writing. Jane Austen publishes Pride and Prejudice, and Charles Darwin, On the Origin of the Species.

Baltimore became a nest of pirates in British eyes when shipping was raided for Baltimoreans' profit. Raiders were fast schooners called Baltimore Clippers.

Appropriately, the War of 1812 culminated in a British attack on Baltimore, September 12-13, 1814. Citizens with some outside help defeated the enemy. Thus Baltimore remained the only major American city never occupied by foreign forces. A Marylander, Francis Scott Key, witnessed the attack and celebrated victory in a poem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." Postwar Baltimoreans made the town the peppiest in the Union. Its clipper schooners threaded trade routes everywhere carrying cargoes of wheat and flour from the back country.

To reach farther and farther west, citizens evolved a railroad, the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O). Philip Thomas borrowed the idea from England, and Peter Cooper, investor and inventor, helped make it work. So did inventor Ross Winans and financiers Johns Hopkins and John Work Garrett.

Commerce and money may have been the sea on which Baltimore floated, but civilizing tides lifted it to notice everywhere. Edgar Allan Poe, for example, scion of a local family, achieved his first public recognition in Baltimore. Here he fou

And another resident, Mother Elizabeth Seton, began her founding of the American parochial school when she moved to Paca Street.

Other innovators were the artists in the Peale family. Rembrandt Peale not only painted, but also built the first museum building in the country. After being the first person anywhere to light a street with gas light, he formed the first company to light a city.

Civilizing influences came with notable architecture. Luckily, the city attracted three architects of genius who created landmarks: Benjamin Henry Latrobe's Cathedral, Godefroy's Unitarian Church and his Battle Monument. The classic restraint embodied in those works influence builders of rowhouses. They thus gave Baltimore its logo-refined and restrained style in red-brick rows with white-marble trim. Baltimore County quarries yielded the white marble.

The town needed civilizing. Slaves were declining in numbers (one slave who had learned to read and write in Baltimore, Frederick Douglass, went on to become a heroic statesman and reformer), but free blacks, a relatively large group, suffered discrimination. Violent rioting gave Baltimore the name of Mob Town. In 1812 a mob broke into jail to kill or maim men whose political opinions offended. Violence erupted again in 1835, when popular anger over a bank closing led to several sacked houses, including the mayor's.

 

 


Shivers, Frank R., Jr. Walking in Baltimore: An Intimate Guide to the Old City. pp. 1-17. © 1995 The Johns Hopkins University Press. Reproduced with permission of The Johns Hopkins University Press


© 2003. Baltimore City Historical Society.