MD -- Baltimore:
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- Wikipedia Description: Baltimore, Maryland
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Baltimore is an independent city and the largest city in the state of Maryland in the United States. As of 2006, the population of Baltimore City was 640,961. The city is a major U.S. seaport, situated closer to major Midwestern markets than any other major seaport on the East Coast. Once an industrial town with an economic base in manufacturing, Baltimore's economy has shifted primarily to a service sector-oriented, with the largest employer no longer Bethlehem Steel but The Johns Hopkins University and The Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The Baltimore Metropolitan Area, which includes the city's surrounding suburbs, has approximately 2.6 million residents. Baltimore is also part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area (CMSA) of approximately 8.1 million residents. Baltimore's metropolitan area is the 20th largest in the country.
The city is named after the founding proprietor of the Maryland Colony, Lord Baltimore in the Irish House of Lords. Baltimore himself took his title from a place named Baltimore in Ireland, which is an Anglicized form of the Irish language Baile an Tķ Mhoir. meaning "Town of the Big House". Baltimore in County Cork was the seat of Lord Baltimore.
Baltimore became the second leading port of entry for immigrants to the United States during the 1800s.
Because there is also a Baltimore County surrounding (but not including) the city, it is sometimes referred to as Baltimore City when a clear distinction is desired.
During the 17th century, various towns called "Baltimore" were founded as commercial ports at various locations on the upper Chesapeake Bay. The Maryland colonial General Assembly created the port (at Locust Point) in 1706 as a tobacco port of entry. The present city dates from July 30, 1729, and is named after Cęcilius Calvert, Lord Baltimore, who was the first Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland. Like many early U.S. cities, this name came from a place in Europe. Cęcilius Calvert was a son of George Calvert who was awarded the Barony of Baltimore in County Cork Ireland in 1625 by King James I of England. George Calvert hence became the first Lord Baltimore.
Baltimore grew swiftly in the mid- to late 18th century as a granary for sugar-producing colonies in the Caribbean. The profit from sugar encouraged the cultivation of cane and the importation of food. Baltimore's shorter distance from the Caribbean, compared to other large port cities such as New York City and Boston, reduced transportation time and minimized the spoilage of flour.
Baltimore played a key part in events leading to and including the American Revolution. City leaders such as Jonathan Plowman Jr. moved the city to join the resistance to British taxation. Baltimore joined other cities in protesting Boston's punishment by the British by banding together the merchants to sign agreements to not import from or export to Britain. Dr. John Stevenson and Jonathan Plowman Jr. made Baltimore a center for importation of indentured servants from England during the 1750s and 60's. Baltimore in 1773 was also the place where Customs officer Robert Moreton was chased out of town for trying to seize the ship Speedwell and its cargo. The story is that Mr. Moreton had ordered the captain to wait on offloading till after he came back. The merchants demanded their cargo and started off loading. When Mr. Moreton returned he declared the ship seized and went to Annapolis to file the paperwork. Upon his return the local merchants chased him and tarred and feathered two men who worked for him. Fearing for his life he first fled to Annapolis and later to Boston.
During the War of 1812, the British declared Baltimore a "nest of Pirates." The city's Fort McHenry came under attack by British forces near the harbor after the British had burned Washington, D.C. Known today as the Battle of Baltimore, American forces won by repulsing joint land and naval attacks.
In the years that followed, Baltimore's population grew explosively, due to increased commerce not only abroad but more importantly with points west in the interior of the United States. The construction of the federally funded National Road (a route now followed by U.S. Route 40) and the privately funded Baltimore & Ohio Railroad made Baltimore a major shipping and manufacturing center. As fortunes were made, the city's distinctive local culture started taking shape, and it started to develop a unique skyline peppered with churches and monuments. On an 1827 visit to the city, John Quincy Adams purportedly nicknamed it "Monument City"--a moniker that remained popular for well over a century.
Baltimore became an independent city in 1851, being separated from Baltimore County at that time.
Though it was a slave-holding state, Maryland did not secede but remained part of the Union during the Civil War. Slavery was outlawed in Maryland by the state Constitution of 1864. Secessionist sentiment led to the Baltimore riot of 1861, when Union soldiers marched through the city. After the riot, Union troops occupied Baltimore, and Maryland came under direct federal administration — in part, to prevent the state from seceding — until the end of the war in April 1865. This was considered a necessary move by the Union to prevent Washington, D.C., from being completely surrounded by seceded Confederate territory. The case Ex parte Merryman, written by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney (himself a Marylander), dealt with the habeas corpus rights of Marylanders jailed by the Abraham Lincoln Administration and strongly rebuked Lincoln for his actions.
The Great Baltimore Fire on February 7, 1904, destroyed over 1,500 buildings in 30 hours and forced most of the city to rebuild. Immediately afterward, Mayor Robert McLane was quoted in the Baltimore News-Post newspaper as saying, "To suppose that the spirit of our people will not rise to the occasion is to suppose that our people are not genuine Americans. We shall make the fire of 1904 a landmark not of decline but of progress." He then refused assistance, stating "As head of this municipality, I cannot help but feel gratified by the sympathy and the offers of practical assistance which have been tendered to us. To them I have in general terms replied, 'Baltimore will take care of its own, thank you.'" (McLane committed suicide on May 30.) Two years later, on September 10, 1906, the Baltimore American newspaper reported that the city had risen from the ashes and "one of the great disasters of modern time had been converted into a blessing."
Baltimore's population peaked at 949,708 in the 1950 Census, which ranked it as the sixth-largest city in the country, behind Detroit, and ahead of Cleveland. For the next five decades, the city's population declined while its suburbs grew dramatically, bottoming out in 2000 at 636,251. In the 21st century, the city's population has stabilized and is again rising, mostly due to revitalization efforts in many city neighborhoods. The mid-July 2006 Census estimate was 640,961.
Sparked by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in Memphis, Tennessee on Thursday, April 4, 1968, the Baltimore Riot of 1968 did not end until Friday, April 12, 1968. Coinciding with riots in other cities, the Baltimore riot yielded an estimated fourth of riot-related arrests nationwide and cost the city of Baltimore an estimated $8-$10 million. Maryland National Guard troops were stationed and 1,900 federal troops were ordered into the city. Lasting effects of the riot can be seen on the streets of North Avenue, Howard Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue where long stretches of the streets are barren of business. (A tie-in to this story is that Dr. King was scheduled to speak in Baltimore in March of 1968 but instead went to Memphis, Tennessee to join the sanitation worker strike.)
In recent years, efforts to redevelop the downtown area have led to a revitalization of the Inner Harbor. Up until the late 1970s, the harbor had been merely abandoned warehouses full of rats and rotting piers. In Baltimore's early days, the harbor was the landing destination for boats and ships bringing cargo such as bananas, sugar, cocoa, and the like from all over the world. The Baltimore Convention Center was opened in 1979 and was renovated and expanded in 1996. Harborplace, a modern urban retail and restaurant complex, was opened on the waterfront in 1980, followed by the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland's largest tourist destination, and another cultural venue, the Baltimore Museum of Industry in 1981. In 1992, the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball moved from Memorial Stadium to Oriole Park at Camden Yards downtown, and six years later the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League moved next door into PSINet Stadium (later renamed M&T Bank Stadium following PSINet's bankruptcy).
On October 2, 1996, Baltimore became the first city in the United States to adopt 311 as a non-emergency "hot line" telephone number, in order to reserve the use of 911 for genuine emergencies. The concept has been highly successful, and numerous other American municipalities have since implemented the practice.
In 2003, the Baltimore Development Corporation announced that three hotel projects were being reviewed. As of September 2006, the 756-room, $305 million Hilton hotel project is currently under construction west of the Baltimore Convention Center. The City of Baltimore hopes to have it finished and opened by August 2008. (See Baltimore Convention Center Hotel Project for more details regarding the convention center hotel.)
Also in 2003, on September 18, Baltimore was affected by Hurricane Isabel from flooding as a result of tidal surge, affecting primarily the Fells Point community and the Inner Harbor and surrounding low areas. Many places were flooded, including the sports center ESPN Zone, the Baltimore World Trade Center (which remained closed for approximately a month during cleanup efforts), and most of the Inner Harbor. Water levels rose some 20 feet (6 m) in areas, flooding underground parking garages and displacing thousands of cubic yards of trash and debris.
Beginning in the early part of the 21st century, Baltimore has undergone a major building spree in the downtown area, specifically in the Inner Harbor East district. The skyline has extended and will continue to do so well into the next decade. ARC Wheeler, a Philadelphia-based developer has been approved to build a new hotel/condominium complex that will be the city's new tallest building, dubbed "10 Inner Harbor," approved at 59 stories and 750 ft (230 m) tall. Other proposals for downtown skyscrapers are twin 65-story towers at sites on E. Saratoga Street and Guilford Avenue, an 800 ft (240 m)+ tower and complex located on the banks of the Patapsco River's middle branch area, and a 50-story condo and hotel tower at 300 E. Pratt St.
On January 17, 2007, Sheila Dixon became the first woman to hold the office of Mayor of Baltimore. Formerly the president of the Baltimore City Council, Dixon became mayor when former Mayor Martin O'Malley resigned to become Governor of Maryland. Dixon was elected to a full term in November of 2007.
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