We've brought a flag!
"We like it here in Baltimore Baltimore
There's so much love in Baltimore
Working hand in hand
To make this place a better land
Love is what you'll find
So stop and take the time
I've got Oriole Baseball on my mind"
(nicknamed "Charm City") is the largest city in the state of Maryland. It is located in the central area of the state along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore was founded in 1729 and became an independent city (separated from Baltimore County) in 1851. Information about the distinct neighborhoods of Baltimore City can be found at the Other Wiki
Historically, Baltimore is probably most notable for being the birthplace of the National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner". The titular flag in the song was flown over Fort McHenry during the siege of Baltimore during the War of 1812
. As depicted in the first stanza of the song (the part sung at the start of every major sporting event) the flag continued to fly over the fort, despite the siege, with only minor damage. Fort McHenry is also the first to fly the new flag when a state enters the union. The actual 15-star flag, however, is not kept here (it's in the Smithsonian Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.).
Fort McHenry also was famous (or infamous) for turning its cannons on the citizens of Baltimore during the Civil War, done to keep the city, a major trade port which served as an outpost of the slave trade, from defecting to the Confederation and thus surround Washington with hostiles. In fact, had it not been for this, the war could have turned out very differently. Incidentally, this put Baltimore and Maryland as a whole into an odd little identity crisis over whether it was a northern or southern state. This still persists to this day, and it's not uncommon to see memorials to the brave Maryland Troops on both sides of Civil War battlefields. In Gettysburg, there is even a case of a Union Maryland monument directly across the battle line from a Confederate Monument.
In sports, the Preakness Stakes, an American flat Thoroughbred horse race for three-year-olds (and the "second jewel" in the Triple Crown note
), is held on the third Saturday in May each year at Pimlico Race Course. Fans of the city's pro football team, the Ravens, have a long-standing rivalry with those of the Pittsburgh
Steelers. They aren't too fond of the Washington Redskins either. Also, don't mention the Indianapolis Colts if you value your teeth
. The franchise moved out of the city in the dead of night, leaving it with the distinct impression they had been stabbed in the back. note Cleveland
has a similar attitude towards the Ravens, since they were the original Cleveland Browns.
In baseball, Baltimore is home to the Orioles, who have a long-standing rivalry with the New York Yankees (who were actually the original
Orioles for two years before moving to Bronx in 1903), the New York Mets (Baltimore tends to hold deep grudges in sports; the dislike of the Mets is due to a "bad call" in the 1969 World Series), and the Washington Nationals, though both the Mets and Nats are rarely played against.
Since 1989, the Orioles have played in Orioles Park at Camden Yards, a refurbished train yard that turned into the first of the retro ballparks created in the 90s and 00s. The Orioles have also had an impressive list of who's who, being the first top-flight team Baltimore native Babe Ruth played on, and the exclusive team of Cal "Iron Man" Ripken Jr., who played the most consecutive games.
Artistically speaking, Baltimore is home of the Baltimore Rock Opera Society
, the Baltimore School for the Arts
, the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), and the Peabody Institute
Baltimore City is also the home of Johns Hopkins University
, Johns Hopkins Hospital
, the Domino Sugar refinery (known locally as "the sugar factory"), and the Inner Harbor, a tourist location of shops, restaurants, boat slips, and the National Aquarium. It is no longer the home of McCormick & Company, the spice maker, who moved out to Hunt Valley, a suburb of Baltimore. In fact, to celebrate the anniversary of their move, during 2007, McCormick was running ads in newspapers and magazines to tell people that if you still had a can of McCormick Spice that in the manufacturer's identity field, said "Made by McCormick & Co, Baltimore MD" instead of "Made by McCormick & Co., Hunt Valley, MD" your can of spice was over 20 years old.
Hunt Valley is also the home to the Sinclair Broadcast Group, owner of many TV stations in large markets. Also related to TV are the stations based on Television Hill in the NW side of town: WJZ-13, owned by CBS, and previously a Westinghouse station, before CBS bought them in the 90s; WBAL-11, flagship of Hearst Television and an NBC affiliate; and the flagships of Sinclair, WBFF Fox 45, and WNUV CW 54. TV Hill's famous candelabra tower can been seen from across the city.
WMAR-2, the ABC station (owned by Scripps) is the only station that isn't based on TV Hill. In May 2014, their studios were the subject of a major news story, when a man tried to force his way into the studios by ramming a stolen truck into the lobby
As a port city, Baltimore was kind of important during things like the colonization of America, the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Baltimore was also the second busiest port of entry on the East Coast in the 19th century. Because Maryland was founded as a religious sanctuary for Catholics in England, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore is the oldest in the United States and is a major stopping point for Popes when they visit the country. Pope John Paul II famously held mass in Camden Yards in his 1995 visit. Because of this, it's not uncommon for people from the Baltimore Area to be depicted as Catholics in media and having gone to Catholic School. Babe Ruth and Tom Clancy
both attended local Catholic Schools.
Culturally, Baltimore is known for two things: Crabs, which must
be covered in large quantities of Old Bay Seasoning, and must
be Maryland Blue Crab, none of that stuff you get in Florida. The other is the...unique accent of city natives. Be prepared to be called "Hon'" A LOT, and learn to say goodbye to hard consonant sounds and hello to drawn out vowels. ("Baltimore" is pronounced by natives as "Bawl'imer" (or "Balw-mer" or "Ball-tee-mo") more often than not, as examples.) Baltimore is also the birthplace of National Bohemian Beer, or "Natty Boh" as Baltimoreans call it.
Unfortunately for Baltimore, the city is most likely to appear in media because of its high crime rate. Both Homicide Life On The Street
and The Wire
focused on the high crime and corruption in the city and, by and large, did a good job portraying it. The annual murder rate typically goes above triple digits before June; this is factoring in that crime in the city is on a downturn. This has lead many people both in and out of the city calling it "Harm City" or "Bodymore, Murderland".
Baltimore is the only jurisdiction specifically established by the Constitution of Maryland (all other cities, towns and counties were established by ordinary legislation).
Notable Pop Culture Things From or Set in Baltimore
Live Action Television
- In From the Earth to the Moon the protagonists are members of the Baltimore-based social club "The Gun Club".
- Jane Porter and her family from the Tarzan series are well-to-do Baltimore natives.
- Stacy Keibler - Former Ravens Cheerleader, WWE "Manager"
- Ric Ocasek
- Tupac Shakur (attended the Baltimore School for the Arts; not a Baltimore native)
- Dru Hill (90's R&B group where Sisqo of "Thong Song" fame got his start. They're named after Druid Hill Park, which sounds like "Dru Hill" in the local accent).
Notable Pop Culture Things From or Set in Maryland in General
- NCIS occasionally sends the team into "Maryland". It's never actually Maryland.
- The X-Files would have you believe that parts of Maryland and Baltimore City look a lot like Vancouver.
- Tori Amos
- John Astin
- Josh Charles
- Charles S. Dutton
- "Mama" Cass Elliot
- Anna Faris
- Josh Fruhlinger, The Comics Curmudgeon blog
- John Gallagher (From Upper Marlboro, a suburb that is closer to DC, but Dying Fetus is generally thought of as a Baltimore band)
- John Glover
- Dashiell Hammet
- Francis Scott Key (the guy who brought you the US national anthem)
- Barry Levinson
- H. L. Mencken
- Jason Netherton (Same deal as Gallagher)
- Edward Norton
- Gina Schock (drummer for The Go-Go's)
- Dwight Schultz
- David Simon
- Jada Pinkett Smith
- John Waters
- Oprah Winfrey (Not a native of Maryland, but moved here early in her broadcast career and was a staple of the local news for decades)
- Frank Zappa, who once wrote a song called "What's New in Baltimore?"
- Sid Meier, creator (most famously) of Civilization and Sid Meiers Alpha Centauri, has lived in Hunt Valley (just north of Baltimore) for a long time, and his company, Firaxis Games, is based there.
Notable Pop Culture Things Where Baltimore or Maryland Subbed for Another Location
- Washington Metro: The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the bus and subway operator for Washington, DC, has a policy that they will not permit any filming of any movie in the subway system where violence occurs. If someone gets shot in film taking place a subway in Washington, DC, it will not be allowed to be filmed there. Typically the producer will travel 65 miles to downtown Baltimore, where the Maryland Transit Authority has no problem allowing a movie where someone is shot at to be filmed in the Baltimore subway system. The movie The Jackal (the one with Bruce Willis) has a scene involving a firefight in the subway, supposedly in Washington, but the subway fight was filmed in Baltimore.
- The American version of House of Cards, although set in DC, is largely filmed in Baltimore, thanks to the similar look-and-feel of the locations, and because of Maryland's tax credits.
Notable Pop Culture Things Associated with Baltimore or Maryland
- Otakon, an anime convention held in the Inner Harbor during the summer until it outgrew the venue and will be moving to Washington, DC.
- Edgar Allan Poe
- Cal "Iron Man" Ripken
- The Baltimore (now Indianapolis) Colts
- The Baltimore Ravens
- The Baltimore Orioles
- Michael Phelps aka The Baltimore shark.
- The middle-of-the-night move of the Baltimore Colts football team to Indianapolis. Decades later, some people still haven't gotten over it.
- The Beltway Snipers: John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, a pair of serial/spree killers active and captured in 2002.
- Yes, the Maryland state flag is rather complex. And it's the shiznit. Marylanders like it a little too much.