Ten Strange Baltimore Historical Markers

History isn’t relegated to the past, but exists around us every day, often lurking in plain sight. Known as the City of Monuments, Baltimore has a penchant for commemorating historical events and persons, ranging from the momentous to the obscure.

Here are some of the more unusual historical markers you can find around the city.

1: World’s First Dental College

First dental college, Baltimore
A marker on the north side of the 600 block of W. Baltimore Street notes that the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery was chartered by the General Assembly in 1840. But the original location of the dental school is marked with a plaque on the east side of the unit block of Hopkins Place, on an otherwise plain expanse of wall across the street from Royal Farms Arena. Location: 39°1’20.7″N 76°37’W

2: George Herman Ruth’s Tavern

George Ruth's tavern, Baltimore. Babe Ruth's father
High up on a wall on the east side of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, facing Eutaw Street, is a marker noting that George Herman Ruth, Babe Ruth’s father, operated a tavern in a residence that was located in what is now center field. Location: 39°17’N 76°37’14.4″W

3: The Ouija 7-11

Ouija 7-11
On the right side of the entrance of the 7-11 at 529 N. Charles is a marker noting that the Ouija board received its name at this very address in 1890 — supposedly communicated by the board itself. Ooooh, creepy. Location: 39°17’46.3″N 76°36’55.6″W

4: Repeal Monument

repeal
Just east of the old main entrance to Druid Hill Park, tucked in an overgrown knoll at the corner of Madison Ave. and Cloverdale Rd., sits a stone sculture that according to stories, perhaps apocryphal, is the country’s only memorial to the repeal of Prohibition. The artwork depicts a cherub on the left engaged in distillation while his cohorts are engrossed in the arts. This much is known: The tablet is part of a set made for the Old Post Office on Calvert Street, and one of two purchased by stoneworker William H. Parker when the post office was demolished in 1930. Parker donated the art to the Board of Park Commissioners in 1932, and it was installed when Prohibition was repealed the following year. Coincidence? You decide. Location: 39°18’54.7″N 76°38’26.6″W

5 & 6: Garry Moore

garrymoore3
When you consider the pantheon of luminaries who have called Baltimore home at one time or another over the years, who jumps to mind for meriting two historical markers? Did you think of genial television personality and game show host Garry Moore? Born Thomas Garrison Morfit, III, in Baltimore, Moore began his career at WBAL Radio in 1937. He was a perennial presence on television during the 50s and 60s, hosting shows including I’ve Got a Secret, To Tell the Truth, and the Garry Moore Show. One his residences in Bolton Hill, 221 W. Lafayette Ave., was also at some time the home of Curt Richter, the Johns Hopkins psychobiologist and geneticist who discovered the biological basis for circadian rhythms. Moore also lived at 1434 John Street, right around the corner. Location: 39°18’22.5″N 76°37’29.2″W, 39°18’29.8″N 76°37’26.2″W

7: The Deck of Cards Block

deck of cards
A plaque on the front of 2603 Wilkens Avenue notes the architectural significance of the block (featured in the image up top), namely that it is the longest contiguous row of homes in Baltimore. The longest residential block in the world? Maybe. Who knows? Location: 39°16’43.3″N 76°39’22.6″W

8: Gas Lighting and the Birth of Industrial Chemistry


High up on the wall of the BGE building on the east side of the 100 block of N. Liberty is a large marker commemorating the introduction of gas illumination by Rembrandt Peale and his pals. And also, by the way, the genesis of the entire fricking chemical industry. You’re welcome. Location: 39°17’28.7″N 76°37’W

9: The Death of Francis Scott Key

The death of Francis Scott Key
If like many Baltimoreans you’ve walked through Mount Vernon square around the Washington Monument countless times, you’ve likely passed by this marker on the north side of E. Mt. Vernon Place next to the United Methodist church. This is where Francis Scott Key died of pleurisy on Jan. 11, 1843, at the home of his daughter, Elizabeth Howard. Location: 39°17’52.2″N 76°36’54.3″W

10: Star-Spangled Artifact

Fort McHenry, 1812, Star Spangled Banner Speaking of Frances Scott Key, you know that part of his poem about bombs bursting in air? This is one of those bombs. You can find this on the sidewalk at 207 E. Redwood Street. According to the plaque, this bomb was fired by a British ship during the bombardment of Fort McHenry. It landed inside the fort, but did not detonate. Location: 39°17’19.9″N 76°36’43.2″W

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3 comments

  1. MikeM_inMD 11 months ago

    Number 4 is not about the repeal of prohibition or even about alcohol in any manner. It’s theme is science and arts. It appears to me that the four cherub are practicing chemistry, cartography (or some other geographic discipline), painting, and sculpting.

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  2. DAVID P MILLER 7 months ago

    What about the Toynbee/2001 markers?

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    1. Bruce 7 months ago

      Are any of those still around?

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