“I’ll take ‘U.S. Cities’ for $500 please, Alex.”
“All right, ‘U.S. Cities for $500′: This U.S. metropolis has been home to Edgar Allen Poe, Michael Phelps, the Sultan of Swat, Billie Holliday and the Star-Spangled Banner.”
“What is Baltimore, Maryland?”
Are you surprised?
Baltimore, Maryland is one of America’s oft-overlooked historical and cultural gems.
I recently had the opportunity to travel there for work and stayed a few extra days to explore what this fabulous city has to offer. I was incredibly impressed with the city’s history, diversity, generosity, and, well … charm.
So to kick-off our feature series on Baltimore, we offer you the following fun facts about America’s “Charm City:”
10.) Baltimore is an independent city and is not part of Baltimore County, which surrounds it. It has a population of more than 620,000.
9.) Baltimore is the hometown of a number of famous athletes, including baseball great, Babe Ruth, and Olympic champion swimmer, Michael Phelps.
8.) Speaking of sports, Baltimore is host to some great sports teams, including the Orioles (baseball) and the Ravens (football).
7.) During the 19th Century, Baltimore was the second-largest port city for incoming immigrants to America.
6.) Baltimore was the birthplace of the American railroad. In 1829, the B&O Railroad (Baltimore & Ohio) was built, serving as the country’s first commercial railroad and long-distance track, with the nation’s first passenger station as well. This advancement lay the foundation for American commercial and geographic expansion. Today, visitors can experience the evolution of America’s unique railway system at the B&O Railroad Museum, an affiliate of the Smithsonian.
5.) Before they were the Indianapolis Colts, they were the Baltimore Colts! Over 17 seasons, quarterback Johnny Unitas, quite possibly the “greatest there ever was,” helped the team become one of the most successful franchises in NFL history.
3.) The Star Spangled Banner (the flag, not the song) was sewn in Baltimore by Mary Young Pickersgill. Pieces of it are on display in Baltimore at the Star Spangled Banner National Historic Landmark, but the full flag is on display at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum in Washington, D.C.
2.) Baltimore is home to the first Roman Catholic church in America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
1.) Francis Scott Key penned the famous words to the “Star Spangled Banner,” now America’s National Anthem, as he watched the flag wave above Fort McHenry on the outskirts of Baltimore on September 13, 1814, during the War of 1812. The tune he selected was actually a British drinking song.
We hope you enjoyed this brief introduction to Baltimore. We look forward to introducing you to the myriad cultural and historical opportunities this spectacular east-coast city has to offer and showing why it’s the perfect quick getaway for time-crunched travelers.
Have you visited Baltimore? What were you surprised to learn about the city?
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