Hello bloggers! I think it is about time that I started this blog back up to give you all an update on my adventures. Obviously, the best place to start is to give you a little bit of an idea of Baltimore City, and the neighborhood I live in: Highlandtown!
Baltimore is home to Fort McHenry – you may remember this name from my last post as the currently park where I work. Fort McHenry is known for the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812 and for the “Star Spangled Banner”. Today, this is our national anthem. Back in 1814 (when the battle took place), it was a poem written by Francis Scott Key after he witnessed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy. I’ll go into more detail in a later post on the amazing history we present here at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.
Baltimore was founded on July 30, 1729 and was incorporated as the City of Baltimore in 1797. It became an independent city in 1851, meaning it separated from Baltimore County. With a population over 600,000, it is the largest independent city in the United States. There are only 41 independent cities in the U.S., and 38 of them are in Virginia alone! Baltimore has been named “the city of neighborhoods” with hundreds of identified districts throughout the city. Because Baltimore was a leading port of entry of immigrants early in its history each neighborhood has its own distinctive “flavor”.
Clinton and I have had a ton of fun embracing city life in the year and a half we have lived here so far. We live in Highlandtown, a neighborhood established in 1866 by immigrants primarily from Ireland, Germany, Poland, Italy, and various Latino countries. Today, Highlandtown is known for its contribution to arts as the largest Arts and Entertainment District in the state of Maryland, and for its diversity. The neighborhood was made part of Baltimore City in 1919. We are close to nearby neighborhoods Canton, Greek Town, Fells Point, and Patterson Park.
Patterson Park was a key defensive position for U.S. forces in the Battle of Baltimore. Hampstead Hill, the northwest corner of the property (and where the pagoda in the picture is located), was the location for a 3 mile wide earthwork created to stop the British advancement by foot. Defended by cannons and over 10,000 troops, the defense proved victorious. With the combination of defeat at both land and sea, the British retreated. They would continue on to New Orleans for the final major battle of the War of 1812. (SPOILER: We won that battle, too.)
Baltimore is also home to the Major League Baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles. As America’s Favorite Past-time, and since it is (kinda) within walking distance to our house, we have frequently found ourselves at Camden Yards. We’ve brought family and friends here when they visit, and even ran into a co-worker of mine one night by chance! The O’s have a back and forth season each year, but it really is a great time when you’re taken out to the ball game!
Baltimore is also close to many other National Parks and battlefields, such as Antietam, Harper’s Ferry, and Gettysburg. It’s only a short drive to a metro station for quick (and easy parking) access to Washington D.C. We were lucky the first year we moved here to see the cherry blossoms in D.C., and have been there frequently for various visits. As I continue updating this blog, I’ll be sure to add in pictures and information on these trips!
While this blog was academic in nature during my time obtaining my Masters Degree, you will see a change from now on. I’ll keep history focused so that you can continue to learn about Baltimore, Maryland, and the gorgeous places in the area! Follow me and keep up to date on my new adventures in the big city! I may not be able to update you on everything – but I’ll try! Until next time.