Jul 1, 2019 at 8:00 AM by
Most everywhere you turn in Baltimore, you take in a piece of the city’s history. Indeed the city has nearly 70,000 properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and almost seventy National Register Historic Districts.
It’s also punctuated with all kinds of monuments. Already in 1827 during a visit to Baltimore by President John Quincy Adams, Baltimore acquired the moniker of The Monumental City. Battle Monument remains one of the best known of these commemorations. You can see this official emblem of the City of Baltimore on North Calvert Street between East Fayette and East Lexington Streets. It commemorates the Battle of Baltimore, which took place during the War of 1812. The resistance put forth by the Continental Navy against the English during that bombardment inspired Francis Scott Key to compose the poem that later served as the lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States of America. Baltimore, in fact, has more public monuments and statues than any other state in the U.S.
Founded in 1729 during the Colonial period, the Town of Baltimore–along with Jonestown and Fell’s Point–became three settlements that served as an important commercial hub in the years that followed. Remnants of this era exist today both in the architecture, the layout of certain areas and in street names such as King George, King, Queen, Caroline and others chosen to signify the loyalty for England.
One of the best ways to experience Baltimore’s history is with the Baltimore National Heritage Area (BNHA). This organization tells the history and explains the cultural traditions of Baltimore through a variety of products and programs, including guided walking tours. BNHA offers almost a half dozen tours that showcase the unique history of Baltimore and its structures. And yes, there’s even a Historic Fell’s Point Trail. Check them out online to find out more about the tours and their various programs.
Take one look at your Discovery Map and you see that water is a big part of the Baltimore experience. Situated on Patapsco River near where it empties out into the mighty Chesapeake Bay, much of the history of this Mid-Atlantic city has been created in and around water. How apt then to take a History Sail with American Sailing Tours to learn about Baltimore’s rich maritime history. With this morning tour, they lead you through the stories that traverse the seventeenth century, the American Revolution, the Industrial Age and up through modern day. From shipbuilding center to a major shipping port, Baltimore has long been a maritime leader. Take this tour to learn about Baltimore’s people, ships and commerce and in particular, their vital connection to the Chesapeake. Note that American Sailing Tours offer lots of other themed excursions of “Baltimore by water” as well.
Keeping with the maritime theme, history buffs will love Historic Ships in Baltimore. This company boasts one of the most impressive collections of military vessels in the world. Located within easy walking distance of each other, you can take in three ships and one submarine that reveal much of the naval history of Baltimore. You can even visit the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse that marked the entrance to the Patapsco River and Baltimore Harbor for over 130 years. All in all, this sounds like a full day affair!
Whether you choose to do the complete tour or a partial, be sure to check the Historic Ships in Baltimore calendar because they often have some really cool happenings. How about celebrating National Rum Day, for example, on the USS Constellation? That’s a two-hour event that includes historical demonstrations, rum history talks, celebratory cannon firings and, of course, rum cocktails. What a way to relive history!
Best of all, events with these ships occur year-round beginning with their annual New Year’s Eve Deck Party on the USS Constellation where you can sip champagne, watch the city’s fireworks display and ring in the new year without contending with the crowds. More cannon firings guaranteed.