Top Landmarks in Baltimore

With two unexpected products, tobacco and sugar, leading the way Baltimore became one of the most important cities in the early years of the United States of America. It’s Baltimore’s proximity to the ocean and convenient shipping routes that really put the city on the map, literally. In 1706 the Port of Baltimore at Locust Point was established for the tobacco trade while the town of Baltimore wasn’t even established until 23 years later. Then, as the colonies in the Caribbean produced and shipped sugar, Baltimore established itself as a convenient stop for the granary business.

But its probably the influence Baltimore had on the early foundation of the United States that is most noted with its refusal to pay British taxes and the signed agreement from local merchants declaring that they would not do business with Britain. Many wars were fought on Baltimore’s shores and it was from sea, watching one such battle that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

Today Baltimore is a much more peaceful community with a lot to offer residents and tourists alike. It’s quite possibly their landmarks that make them such a popular destination for people looking to learn more about this country and what makes it a leader in independence and freedom.

Edgar Allen Poe House

Known as a cad, a ladies man, a drunkard, and quite possibly the greatest American poet ever, Edgar Allen Poe once lived in this little house at 203 Amity Street. The home housed a collection of relatives who seem to have moved in an out of the house with much regularity. In 1835 it appeared that the ad-hoc family would be moving away and breaking apart as the struggle to remain in the home was just too great, at this point Edgar Allen Poe stepped in and invited his aunt and cousin to move in with him in Richmond. Though it’s quite impossible to know for sure, it’s assumed that more than a handful of Poe’s famous stories and poems were written in this home. It’s also unclear which room was Poe’s when he resided within as biographers have argued between two different locations on the premises, but no matter where he wrote it was definitely within these walls.

Washington Monument and Museum at Mount Vernon Place

Initially the Washington Monument and Museum at Mount Vernon Place was proposed in 1809 and the local residents were afraid the towering pillar would fall over and smash their tiny row house, so the monument to honor George Washington was built 100 feet above sea level in Howard’s Woods. It became the first monument dedicated to the “Father of our Country” and quickly established as a tourist destination, even earning the city of Baltimore the name “The Monumental City”. The monument was designed by architect Robert Mills and completed in 1829. It wasn’t until 1855 that the more famous Washington Monument in Washington D.C., another Mills’s creation, was completed. If you have the stamina, climb the 228 steps in Baltimore for the best view of the city, perfect photo op for a souvenir.

Star-Spangled Banner Flag House

The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House is an unusual experience because it’s all interactive. You and the family can learn all about the creator of the flag that so moved Francis Scott Key in 1812. The flag was sewn by Mary Pickersgill, who through recreations, recounts tales of living in the 19th century and invites guests to try their hand at these day to day activities as well. Mary was not simply a housewife who sewed up a flag one day, she actually ran a flag making business in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War and was quite an industrious woman during her day. The Star-Spangled Banner Flag House is more than just a visit to a place where a flag was constructed, it’s an adventure like no other that dips you back in time to see what real determination and American spirit is all about.

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

The Battle of Baltimore at the star-shaped Fort McHenry was what Francis Scott Key was staring at when he was inspired to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 1814. Today Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine still stands and welcomes visitors through its gates. Situated on the tip of a narrow peninsula, the Fort was built in 1776 to protect the harbor of Baltimore during the Revolutionary War. In 1793 it was widely accepted that although the Revolutionary War was over, the United States’s conflicts with Britain were not and the Fort was reinforced to provide the city with even greater protection, this continued and many expansions were added to the original Fort. Today the Fort serves as a museum, a shrine and a national monument.

Holocaust Memorial and Sculpture

Located in the heart of Baltimore, near the Inner Harbor, the Holocaust Memorial and Sculpture sits in memorial to the estimated six million Jews murdered by the Nazis from 1933 to 1945. Quite possibly one of the most gripping sculptures of its kind in this country, the Joseph Sheppard Holocaust Sculpture features emaciated bodies contorted in a ball of flame. The bottom of the sculpture contains the oft repeated quote from George Santayana, “Those who do not remember the past are destined to repeat it.” In addition a monolith was created to invoke the feeling of a rail car and a black metal fence represents the interment in concentration camps. A quote from Holocaust survivor and author Primo Levi is inscribed on the concrete.

Maryvale Castle

Built in the 1910’s, the Maryvale Castle was built for Dr. Walter F. Wickes as a loose replica of the Warwick Castle in Warwickshire England. The exterior of the Maryvale Castle is remarkable and unlike almost all architecture found in the rest of the United States, but the interior is just as stunning. The main rooms were designed to feature many aspects that were key to the Tudor period and furnishings were imported to retain the authentic look. From its beginnings the Maryvale Castle drew a lot of interest as it was known as the largest private residence in the region. Today the castle serves as a school for girls grades 6-12, but the grounds are also available for rental and the grounds do make the perfect backdrop for a fairytale wedding.