12 Baltimore Facts: How Well Do You Know Your City?

Welcome to Baltimore! This vibrant city is known as a hub of culture, history, and entertainment. From its charming neighborhoods and diverse attractions to its unique cuisine and vibrant nightlife, Baltimore has something for everyone. In this article, we’ll explore some of Baltimore’s most interesting facts and tidbits, and learn why this city is so beloved by its locals and visitors alike. So, let’s dive in and explore these fascinating Baltimore facts.

Baltimore skyline

1. The first public aquarium was built it Baltimore

The National Aquarium, considered to be the United States’ first public aquarium, is situated in Baltimore Inner Harbor; it boasts a population of over 20,000 fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and marine mammals.

2. America’s First Research University is located here

In 1876, Baltimore saw the establishment of the first research university, founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. Now, the university, research facilities, and hospital bearing his name are the largest private employers in the state.

3. The American Railroad was born in Baltimore

You can thank Baltimore for the B&O Railroad square from the popular game Monopoly. Established in 1829, it was the very first commercial railway in the U.S. and the first long-distance track. The B&O Railroad’s supplies and transportation enabled the expansion of the American nation to the West Coast. Today, the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore allows visitors to witness this history, as well as the railroad’s development and its technologies over the years.

4. The Baltimore Museum of Art boasts the most comprehensive Matisse collection in the world

The Baltimore Museum of Art houses the world’s largest collection of works by French artist Henri Matisse, which can be viewed for free alongside the rest of its offerings.

5. Baltimore is the birthplace of the six-pack

The groundbreaking Baltimore brewing company National Bohemian issued the first six-pack of beer in the 1940s, stemming from the very sensible idea that four beers would be too few and eight would be too many.

6. Baltimore is a city of many neighborhoods, each exhibiting its own unique style and character

The following are just a few of the most popular neighborhoods in the city. Located in the heart of Baltimore, Canton is one of the city’s most popular and vibrant neighborhoods. Federal Hill is known for its stunning views of the city skyline and harbor. This neighborhood is filled with locally owned restaurants, pubs, and shops. Fells Point is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Baltimore and is known for its historic charm. This waterfront area is filled with cobblestone streets, colonial homes, and some of the best seafood restaurants in town. Hampden is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood located in the north of Baltimore. This neighborhood has seen a huge resurgence in recent years and is now home to a variety of independent stores, galleries and restaurants. 

7. Baltimore was a major port city 

In 1800, Baltimore’s population was 50,000; however, by the end of the 19th century, this had grown to 200,000 largely due to the number of immigrants who had arrived in the city, making it the second highest destination for immigrants to America. This influx of people had a huge impact on the city, transforming it into a vibrant cultural center. In addition, the port city also developed into a major hub for trade and industry, propelling the city’s economy upwards. Because of this continued growth, Baltimore became one of the most bustling cities in the country. 

8. The “Star-Spangled Banner” was written in Baltimore Harbor following the Battle of Baltimore

Francis Scott Key, the composer, wrote the lyrics to the national anthem while witnessing the flag flying over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. Surprisingly, the melody was not originally intended to be patriotic; Key took it from a rather vulgar British drinking song.

9. Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore

Born in 1895, George Herman Ruth, the famous slugger and lefty pitcher, was a native of Baltimore. His skill was quickly recognized by the Boston Red Sox, who signed him from his town’s minor league team. At St. Mary’s reform school in Baltimore, Ruth’s powerful hits fostered his love of the game, though they sometimes caused damage to the school’s facilities.

10. We can thank Baltimore for advancements in communication 

In 1774, the first post office in the United States was inaugurated in the city, and ten years later in 1884, Baltimore made history again by establishing the first telegraph line in the country, connecting to Washington DC.

11. The first balloon flight in the US occurred in Baltimore

Baltimore was the site of the first manned balloon launch in the United States. Edward Warren, a 13-year-old, flew in the balloon, which had been provided by Peter Carnes, a tavern keeper and lawyer, in a wicker “chariot.” Carnes had wanted to be the one to ride in the basket, however, he was too heavy to do so. Warren’s balloon flight began a balloon craze that swept the country from the late 1700s to the early 1800s.

12. The Great Baltimore Fire burned down much of the city 

While Baltimore’s history stretches back to 1729, the city’s streets display a contrast between older and newer architecture, as many of the buildings date back only to the 20th century. This is due to a fire in 1904 that destroyed more than 1,500 buildings within 70 blocks. Despite this, Baltimore’s history can still be traced back to 1729.

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