Baltimore, Maryland

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"Baltimore" redirects here. For other uses, see Baltimore (disambiguation).
Baltimore skyline at night
Baltimore skyline at night
Baltimore, Maryland
Flag of Baltimore, Maryland
Seal of Baltimore, Maryland
Motto: The Greatest City in America (formerly The City That Reads; BELIEVE is not the official motto but rather a specific campaign)
Nickname: "Charm City" "Mob Town" B-more
Location of Baltimore,  Maryland
Location in Maryland
30 July 1729
County Independent city
Mayor Martin J. O'Malley (Dem)
 - Total
 - Water

349.9 km² (135.1 mi²)
29.2 km² (11.3 mi²) 12.24% 
 - City (2000)
 - Density
 - Metropolitan

Time zone Eastern (UTC –5)
WGS-84 (GPS)
 39.2865° N 76.6149° W
Official Website

Baltimore is an independent city located in the U.S. state of Maryland. As of 2005, the population is 636,251, up from 628,670 in 2002 and the population of the Baltimore-Washington Metroplex as of 2000 is 7.6 million, up from 6.7 million in 1990. It is the largest city in Maryland, named after the founding proprietor of the Maryland Colony, Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore. The city is a major part of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area and a major U.S. seaport.

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 present city dates from July 30, 1729 and is named after Cæcilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore who was the first Proprietary Governor of the Province of Maryland. Baltimore grew swiftly in the mid-late 18th century as the granary for sugar producing colonies in the Caribbean. The profit from sugar encouraged the maximum possible cultivation of cane and the importation of food. The relatively shorter distance between Baltimore and the Caribbean colonies allowed swift transport and minimized the spoilage of flour.

Battle Monument with Washington Monument in background
Battle Monument with Washington Monument in background

One of Baltimore's greatest moments occurred during the War of 1812 when 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 the decisive battles by repulsing a joint land and naval attack by the British forces. They fought to a stalemate at the Battle of North Point after killing the British commander General Ross. British reinforcements were not possible after the British Navy was repulsed by the defenders of the fort, and all forces then withdrew. It was the naval engagement that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the poem, "The Star-Spangled Banner," the lyrics to the United States national anthem. The battle was memorialized in the Battle Monument which is on the city seal.

Baltimore harbor in 1849 with the prominent Washington monument in the background North of the city
Baltimore harbor in 1849 with the prominent Washington monument in the background North of the city

Baltimore is also the site of the first architectural monument honoring George Washington, a 178 foot doric column erected in 1829 and designed by Robert Mills, who later designed the Washington Monument in Washington D.C.

Baltimore became an independent city in 1851, being detached from Baltimore County at that time.

During the Civil War, Maryland was officially part of the Union but kept slavery legal. Many, if not most, people in Baltimore at the time were sympathetic to the Confederacy. Pro-Southern 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. The case Ex parte Merryman, written by Supreme Court Justice Roger Taney, dealt with the habeus corpus rights of Marylanders jailed by the Abraham Lincoln Administration.

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 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.'" Two years later, on September 10, 1906, the Baltimore-American reported that the city had risen from the ashes and "One of the great disasters of modern time had been converted into a blessing."

Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, looking West from Pratt and Gay Streets
Great Baltimore Fire of 1904, looking West from Pratt and Gay Streets
Same view in 1906, 2 years after the fire
Same view in 1906, 2 years after the fire

Baltimore is the location of the Baltimore World Trade Center, the world's tallest equilateral five-sided building (the five-sided JPMorganChase Tower in Houston, Texas is taller, but has unequal sides).

Baltimore is also the location of Pimlico Race Course, the home of the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. The Preakness has been run since 1873.

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. In the 21st Century, the city's population has stabilized and is once again rising, mostly due to revitalization efforts in many city neighborhoods.

In 1955 Flag House Courts, a public housing project made up of 3 12-story buildings, was built. The buildings were eventually demolished in 2001.

Baltimore has become a prime city for filming movies and television. Many movies such as Hairspray, Ladder 49, Serial mom, Eraser, Enemy of the State, Cry-baby, scenes from 12 Monkeys, True Lies, and the film Hardball were filmed in Baltimore, in fact many scenes from the 1972 cult classic film Pink Flamingos were shot in the city's Waverly and Hampden neighborhoods (the film was made by John Waters, a Baltimore native). Additionally, television shows such as NBC's "Homicide: Life on the Street" and HBO's "The Wire" have also been filmed in the city.

In recent years, efforts to redevelop the downtown area have led to a revitalization of the Inner Harbor. In 1979 the Baltimore Convention Center was opened and was subsequently 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, 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 the newly renamed M&T Bank Stadium, formerly known as PSINet Stadium until PSINet went bankrupt.

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.

A 60-car train derailment occurred in a tunnel in Baltimore on July 18, 2001. The derailment sparked a chemical fire that raged for six days and virtually shut down the downtown area until the heat caused a water main to rupture, largely extinguishing the fire but also causing significant flooding in the streets above. Three weeks later, manhole covers flew into the air as underground explosions along West Pratt Street followed due to residual explosive chemicals from the fire left in the sewers.

In 2003, the Baltimore Development Corporation announced that three hotel projects were being reviewed. As of 2005, the 752-room, $305 million Hilton hotel project has received a 9-6 approval vote from the Baltimore City Council on August 15th. A second approval vote is scheduled for sometime in September 2005. The hotel is expected to be built near the Baltimore Convention Center. The City of Baltimore hopes to have it finished and opened by Spring 2008. (See Baltimore Convention Center Hotel Project for more details regarding the convention center hotel.)

Also in 2003, 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 in areas, flooding underground parking garages and displacing thousands of cubic yards of trash and debris.

Law and government

Baltimore is an independent city; in other words, not part of any county. For most governmental purposes under Maryland law, Baltimore City is treated as a "county"-level entity. Furthermore the United States Census Bureau uses counties as the basic unit for presentation of statistical information in the United States, and treats Baltimore as a county equivalent for those purposes.


The current Mayor of Baltimore is Martin O'Malley. A Democrat in a town that has been Democratic for a century and a half, O'Malley has maintained high approval ratings through both of his terms in office. For a full list of mayors that served the city, see: List of Baltimore Mayors

Baltimore City Council

Grassroots pressure for reform, voiced as Question P, restructured the City Council in November of 2002, against the will of the Mayor, the Council President, and the majority of the Council. A coalition of union and community groups, organized by ACORN, backed the effort.

The Baltimore City Council is now made up of 14 single member districts and one elected at-large Council President. Sheila Dixon is the current Council President. On November 2, 2004, Dixon won re-election in a two-way contest; Joan Floyd, a Green Party candidate, was the only challenger; the Republicans did not field a candidate.

Federal Government

Baltimore City falls within parts of three Congressional Districts. These are 2nd Congressional District (Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, Democrat), 3rd Congressional District (Rep. Ben Cardin, Democrat), 7th Congressional District (Rep. Elijah Cummings, Democrat).


According to crime statistics, there were 278 murders in Baltimore in 2004. Though this is significantly down from the record-high 353 murders in 1993, Mayor O'Malley had promised during his 1999 campaign and the first two years of his first term that he would bring murders down to 175 a year by 2002 — a goal that has yet to be met. The murder rate in Baltimore is nearly seven times the national rate, six times the rate of New York City, and three times the rate of Los Angeles.

While murders have been relatively static, other categories of crime in Baltimore have been declining. However, Baltimore still has much higher-than-average rates of aggravated assault, burglary, robbery, and theft. Though the crime situation in Baltimore is considered one of the worst in the nation, city officials are quick to point out that most violent crimes, particularly murders, are committed by people who know their victims and who are often associated with the illegal drug trade.

Statistics compiled by independent groups indicate that many young men in the city are under the supervision of the criminal justice system. While racial disparities in arrest and incarceration rates exist in Baltimore, both young white and black men in the city are arrested and incarcerated at relatively high rates.

In an infamous case, community activist Angela Dawson and her family were murdered by firebomb in their Baltimore home on October 16, 2002, in retaliation for Dawson's reporting of criminal activity.

In late 2004, Baltimore drug dealers shocked the city when they released an underground DVD entitled Stop Snitching, in which they threatened with violence any citizen of Baltimore who interfered with their business. A strange twist emerged after it was discovered that NBA star Carmelo Anthony, who plays for the Denver Nuggets and had lived in Baltimore as a boy, was unwittingly featured in the video while visiting his old neighborhood. A few months later, in early 2005, the Baltimore Police Department responded to Stop Snitching with a video entitled Keep Talking, in which they urged the public to continue to report illicit activity and announced the arrest of at least two participants in the making and filming of the original DVD.

Geography and climate


1888 German map of Baltimore
1888 German map of Baltimore

Baltimore is in the north central part of the state of Maryland, on the Patapsco River, not far from the Chesapeake Bay. It is on the western edge of the Atlantic Coastal Plain, with low hills rising in the western part of the city.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 238.5 km² (92.1 mi²). 209.3 km² (80.8 mi²) of it is land and 29.2 km² (11.3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 12.240% water.

The Baltimore Washington Metropolitan area Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is the 4th largest in the United States, with a population of 7.6 million.


The city has a humid subtropical climate, moderated by the warming influence of the bay and nearby ocean, with hot summers, cool winters, generally high humidity, and annual precipitation of around 44 inches a year. Summers bring high temperatures typically in the upper 80s to upper 90s Fahrenheit(It is not unheard of for temperatures to crack 100 though), with lows in the low to mid 70s. Winter can be varied, with Indian summers of 70 to 80-degree days leading to chilly days with highs in the upper 40s to low 50s. Winter lows tend to hover near or above freezing, with occasional dips into the 20s and high teens. It is almost never below 10 degrees in the city, although as one moves west of the city proper, away from the Chesapeake and higher in elevation, the climate becomes more continental and winter lows can dip down into the single digits.

The Appalachian Mountains protect Baltimore and its surrounding areas from much of the severe cold and wind that is experienced in the Great Lakes region.


Public transit in Baltimore City is provided by the Maryland Transit Administration. Baltimore City has many bus routes, and a light rail system and a subway line. Additionally, MARC commuter rail connects Washington, DC's Union Station with the city's two rail stations, Camden Station and Penn Station. The major highways serving the city are I-695 (the Baltimore Beltway), I-95, I-83 and I-70 (its eastern terminus is just beyond the city limits)With 4 underwater tunnels Ft Mchenry and Baltimore Harbor twin tunnels.



City of Baltimore
Population by year [1]

1790 - 13,503
1800 - 26,514
1810 - 46,555
1820 - 62,738
1830 - 80,620
1840 - 102,313
1850 - 169,054
1860 - 212,418
1870 - 267,354
1880 - 332,313
1890 - 434,439
1900 - 508,957
1910 - 558,485
1920 - 733,826
1930 - 804,874
1940 - 859,100
1950 - 949,708
1960 - 939,024
1970 - 905,759
1980 - 786,775
1990 - 736,014
2000 - 651,154

In the 1830, 1840, and 1850 censuses of the United States of America, Baltimore was the second largest city in population. It was among the top 10 cities in population in the U. S. in every census up to the 1980 census.

As of the census2 of 2000, there are 651,154 people, 257,996 households, and 147,057 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,111.5/km² (8,058.4/mi²). There are 300,477 housing units at an average density of 1,435.8/km² (3,718.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 31.63% White, 64.34% Black or African American, 0.32% Native American, 1.53% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.67% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. 1.70% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 257,996 households out of which 25.5% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.7% are married couples living together, 25.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 43.0% are non-families. 34.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.42 and the average family size is 3.16.

In the city the population is spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.2% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 87.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 82.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $30,078, and the median income for a family is $35,438. Males have a median income of $31,767 versus $26,832 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,978. 22.9% of the population and 18.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 30.6% of those under the age of 18 and 18.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

List of Baltimore neighborhoods


Colleges and universities



Public schools

The city's public schools are operated by the Baltimore City Public School System.





Museums and Attractions

Baltimore's Inner Harbor
Baltimore's Inner Harbor

Sports teams

Defunct (or moved) Sports Teams






Sister Cities

Baltimore has ten sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI): Cadiz (Spain), Gbarnga (Liberia), Alexandria (Egypt), Genoa (Italy), Kawasaki (Japan), Luxor (Egypt), Odessa (Ukraine), Pireaus (Greece), Rotterdam (Netherlands), and Xiamen (China).

See also

External links

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