Wayne's Guide to Talks, Walks, and Tours of Baltimore
B&O Railroad Museum
Civil War Sesquicentennial
Black History
War of 1812 Bicentennial
Spring / Fall Courses
Enoch Pratt Free Library Programs
Baltimore City Historical Society
Maryland Historical Society
This Week in Baltimore's History


Can you name and locate this famous Baltimore landmark that will celebrate its 175th anniversary this July?  The answer is at the end of the page.


This website is an on-going list of walks, talks, and tours that relate to Baltimore history and architecture.  The site was created for the benefit of my students, friends, and colleagues who often inquire about upcoming events. I update the site every week.   My e-mail address is: wayne.schaumburg@gmail.com .  Please feel free to comment or make suggestions.


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Cockeysville Senior Center  -  Baltimore History Talk

Monday, August 11th at 10:30 a.m.  --  Baltimore historian and educator Wayne R. Schaumburg will present an illustrated program entitled "19th Century Baltimore:  A City of Immigrants." The talk will focus on the city's role as a major port of entry for immigration.  We will look at the wave of Irish and Germans who came before the Civil War as well as the Polish, Russians, Lithuanians, Bohemians, Austrians and others who made up the 610,000 who arrived here between 1868 and 1900. The program is free and open to the public.  Cockeysville Senior Center is located at 10535 York Road just north of Warren Road.  For more information, call 410-887-7694.



Pikesville Senior Center --  Baltimore History Talks

Baltimore historian and educator Wayne R. Schaumburg will present two illustrated programs in August.  Both are free and open to the public.  Pikesville Senior Center is located at 1301 Reisterstown Road.  For more information, call 410-887-1245.

  • Thursday, August 14th at 1 p.m.  --  History of Baltimore's Parks and Public Squares
  • Friday, August 29th at 1 p.m.  --  Baltimore's Historic Houses 





Irish Railroad Workers Museum  --  Walking Tour

On Saturday, August 16th, the Irish Railroad Workers Museum will host a tour of the Irish neighborhood nearby the B&O Railroad Museum.   Baltimore was a major port of entry for Irish survivors of the Great Hunger (also known as the Potato Famine). The Irish were welcomed with railroad work, free education, a thriving Irish parish and community life that included food markets, local pubs, and fraternal organizations that advocated for a free and independent Ireland. The tour departs from the B&O Railroad Museum parking lot at 10:30 a.m. and will be led by Tom Ward.  The tour is free and open to the public although donations to the museum are always welcome!  For more information, call 410-347-4747 or email     irishrailroadworkersmuseum@irishshrine.org.



Seven Oaks Senior Center  --  Baltimore History Talk

Thursday, August 21 at 12:30 p.m.  -  Baltimore historian and educator will present an illustrated talk on the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904.   Entitled "A Hot Time in the Old Town," the program will focus on the February 7th blaze that destroyed almost 90% of the central business district.  Over 140 acres burned; 1,526 buildings were destroyed; 2,500 companies were put out of business; 30,000 residents were  out of work; and damage was estimated at over $100 million. The program is free and open to the public. Seven Oaks Senior Center is located at 9210 Seven Courts Drive.  For more information, call 410-887-5192.




Baltimore City Historical Society Tour

Saturday July 26th, 10 a.m. --  Join BCHS for a tour of the Maryland Women's Heritage Center located at the corner of Liberty and West Lexington Streets. The tour is free and open to the public, but reservations are required.  Contact Joe Stewart at joestewart31947@comcast.net.  The Heritage Center tells the story of women's history in Maryland. 



Baltimore Heritage  --  Sunday Walking Tours 

  • Looking Up Downtown Baltimore Walking Tour:  Gargoyles and Grand Landmarks --  First Sunday of the month through November, 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., departing from the Farmer's Market  In a little over an hour and walking a little less than a mile, we take you on a tour through the highlights of downtown Baltimore's history and architecture.


  • Looking Up Downtown Baltimore Walking Tour: Historic Jonestown and the Shot Tower  -- Third Sunday of the month through November, 9:30 to 10:45 a.m., departing from the Farmer's Market  $   Enjoy a fun walk past Historic Jonestown’s unique landmarks from the Phoenix Shot Tower (tallest structure in the U.S. until 1846) to an early commercial block on Gay Street (including one of only a handful of surviving examples of cast-iron architecture). After looking up at some great buildings, we'll climb the winding steps inside the Shot Tower so you can look back down at historic downtown Baltimore from above.   

For more information and reservations, contact Baltimore Heritage at 410-332-9992.




Maryland Humanities Council  -  Literary Walking Tours of Mt. Vernon

Third Saturdays from April through September   --  Follow in the footsteps of Baltimore's literary luminaries and discover the elegant brownstone mansions and cultural institutions built by Baltimore's successful 19th century merchants and industrialists.  Participants will learn how a neighborhood of scholars, artists, authors, newspapermen, philanthropists, and social reformers offered rich opportunities to discuss and debate issues of the day as well as open new literary avenues.  The 90-minute walking tours are free and open to the public, but reservations are required.  The tours depart at 11 a.m. from the Enoch Pratt Central Library located at 400 Cathedral Street.  For more information, call 410-685-0095.  (Tour dates are July 19, August 16, September 29)




Patterson Park Pagoda

Sundays through October from noon to 6 p.m.  --  Completed in 1890 by Charles Latrobe, the Observatory, better known as "the Pagoda," is the best known landmark in Patterson Park.  Located on the west side of the park near the intersection of Patterson Park Avenue and Pratt Street, the octagonal Victorian structure has a spiral staircase that leads to three levels each providing great views of the city.  Operated, maintained, and staffed by the Friends of Patterson Park, the Pagoda is free and open to the public.




Tudor Hall Tours

Tours of historic Tudor Hall, home of the Booth family in Harford County will take place on selected Sundays through November. $ Tours begin at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. on each date. In addition, there are several special talks that are part of some of the 2 p.m. tours.  Tudor Hall is located at 17 Tudor Lane of of Maryland Route 22 between Bel Air and the campus of Harford Community College.  For more information, call 443-619-0008 or email SpiritsofTudorHall@gmail.com .  The tour dates are:  July 27;  August 10 and 24;  September 14 and 28;  October 12 and 26; November 9.



War of 1812 Bicentennial

Beginning in June, 2012, Baltimore and Maryland will celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Events will culminate in September, 2014 with the celebration of Baltimore's defense against the 1814 British attack. To learn more about Baltimore and the War of 1812, visit www.starspangled200.org. For information about upcoming bicentenial events, visit www.starspangled200.com.

Other links to explore:

  • Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail
  • Baltimore National Heritage Area
  • Eastern Shore 1812 Consortium
  • Fort McHenry
  • Star-Spangled Banner Flag House
  • Maryland Historical Society 
  • www.upperbay1812.com - Covers the upper Chesapeake Bay region in the war; includes timeline, notable people, sites of interest, and bicentennial events
  • www.1812music.org - created by Dr. David Hildebrand and the colonial Music Institute; includes music from the period of the war
  • www.starspangledtrail.net - excellent site that ties in with the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail 


Maryland Historical Society - War of 1812 Exhibit -Through June, 2015  Entitled In Full Glory Reflected: Maryland During the War of 1812, this exhibit retells the dramatic story of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake region through displays, a gallery devoted to the defenders of Baltimore, and more than 100 artifacts including the original Star-Spangled Banner manuscript. The Maryland Historical Society is located at 201 West Monument Street just west of Park Avenue. For more information, call 410-685-3750.




 Star-Spangled Banner Flag House -- New Exhibit

"Family of Flagmakers:  The Women Who Created the Star-Spangled Banner" is the newest exhibit for the Museum.   $   Family of Flagmakers tells the story of Mary Pickersgill, the woman who created the Star-Spangled Banner, her family and her household. It is the first exhibit in history to focus on this exceptional woman's life and her incredible achievement: the creation of the flag that inspired our American National Anthem. The exhibit invites visitors to experience different aspects of Mary's life and the events surrounding the creation of the famous flag. It will feature many one-of-a-kind objects from the Flag House collection: the original receipt for the Star-Spangled Banner, on display for the first time in decades; the Lightner drum, carried by drummer boy Henry Lightner, who sounded the alarm when the British attacked Fort McHenry; and original fragments of the Star-Spangled Banner, cut from the awe-inspiring 30 x 42 foot flag.  The Flag House is located at 844 East Pratt Street.  For more information, call 410-837-1793.





Star Spangled Spectacular  -  September 2014

Listed below is the schedule of events that will take place from September 6th-16th to celebrate the bicentennial of the British attack on Baltimore and the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner. For more information on any of the events, contact the individual venue.


  • Sept. 6, Saturday, 10 am–6 pm, Sept.7, Sunday, 9 am–5 pm, Battle of North Point Commemoration, Fort Howard, free www.DundalkHistory.org
  • Sept.8, Monday, 7 pm fireworks & concert at Sparrows Point High School, free 

  • Sept. 9, Tuesday, 10 am – 2 pm The "Living Flag" at Fort McHenry, free

  • Sept. 10, Wednesday 11 am-5 pm Tall ships & naval vessels arrive, passing Fort McHenry to the Inner Harbor.  Ships will be open for tours from September 11th-15th, noon to 5 p.m. The ships will be located at the Inner Harbor, Fell's Point, and Locust Point

  • SEPT. 11 Thursday 9:30 – 11 am, Commemoration of both 9/11 and Defenders Day at Clifton Mansion in Clifton Park, featuring the U.S. Navy Leap Frog sky divers.  Clifton is the only remaining home of a War of 1812 officer in Baltimore, cavalry Captain Henry Thompson.

  • Sept. 11 Thursday, 10 am -1 pm, March of the Defenders:  500 Maryland National Guardsmen march from Patterson Park to  Battle Acre park on Old North Point Rd, free

  • Sept.11 Thursday, 11 am-noon, Memorial Service at Fort McHenry for those who lost their lives in the Battle of Baltimore as well as "9/11" in 2001. 

  • Sept.11 Thursday, 1-4 pm Blue Angels Air Show practice, free
  • Sept.13 Saturday 8 am to 6 pm and Sept.14 Sunday 8 am to 3 pm -- Living history encampment at Fort McHenry $ 
  • Sept.13 Saturday 6-930 pm Defenders Day ceremonies at Fort McHenry followed by fireworks, free

  •  Sept.13 Saturday and Sept.14 Sunday,  2-4 pm Blue Angels Air Show, free

  • Sept. 13, Saturday, 7 p.m. Star Spangled Spectacular Concert  $  at Pier Six Pavilion (nationally telecast), followed at 9:30 by fireworks, free.
  • Sept.14 Sunday, 9 am “By Dawn’s Early Light”:  Flag Raising at Fort McHenry with the governor, free

  • Sept.14 Sunday, 10 am- 8:30 pm, Hampstead Hill Festival, Patterson Park, free

  • Sept.14 Sunday, 5 pm Concert “Singing on Key”, Old St. Paul’s Church, 233 N. Charles St. at Saratoga St., free 
  • Sept.15, Monday, 11 am – 6 pm, Tours of tall ships and naval vessels,  free

  • Sept. 16, Tuesday, 10 - 1 am, Tall ships and naval vessels depart Inner Harbor past Fort McHenry




  War of 1812:   Interpretive Resources 

                           Interactive Websites


Both  Key Cam and War of 1812 Interactive Battlefield Maps were designed to promote, educate, and inform a wide audience about Francis Scott Key, significant War of 1812 battles in the Chesapeake region and the upcoming 200th anniversary of the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

 KeyCam.com, has four web cams that are fixed on Fort McHenry in Baltimore and is designed to give the same view that 200 years ago inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to what would later become our National Anthem.

The War of 1812 Interactive Battlefield Maps, www.1812battles.com, feature cutting-edge maps that through animation highlight four significant battles of the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake: the Battle of St. Leonard Creek, the Battle of Bladensburg, the Battle of North Point and the Battle of Baltimore. Each map provides an historical context of the battle, along with images, artwork, and video highlighting the history of each battle. Users can experience the battles in the Chesapeake Bay landscape as it was during the War of 1812 or toggle to the modern landscape of 2014.



 Civil War Sesquicentennial

  • B&O Railroad Museum - Civil War Exhibit - $ The War Came By Train is a four year exhibit celebrating the role of the B&O Railroad in the Civil War. It will include the largest collection of Civil War railroad equipment in the world along with significant military and personal artifacts that will change annually. The "1864" segment includes the Battle of Monocacy and the Johnson-Gilmor Raid.  For more information, call 410-752-2490. The B&O Museum is located at 901 W. Pratt Street.
  • Maryland Historical Society: Civil War Exhibit - Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War commemorates the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War. $ The largest Civil War exhibit in the museum's 167-year history will tell the story of the conflict in three parts: the romantic war, the real war, and the long reunion. The Maryland Historical Society is located at 201 W. Monument Street just west of Park Avenue. For more information, call 410-685-3750 or visit www.mdhs.org.
  • Baltimore Civil War Museum - Located in the old President Street Station that was built in the 1850s, the museum tells the story of Baltimore's role in the Civil War. The museum is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is located at 601 South President Street. For more information, call 443-220-0290.





S. S. John W. Brown Cruises 

Saturday, September 6th and Saturday, October 4th  $  -- Experience World War II afloat as you spend an exciting day in 1944 and experience a sea and air adventure aboard this restored Liberty ship. Plenty of food, era-relevant entertainers, and an air show with vintage World War II aircraft await you.  Tour museum spaces, crew quarters, bridge, flying bridge, chart room, radio room, mess rooms, troop berthing areas, stern gun deck and much more. 

One of only two surviving fully operational Liberty ships in the United States, S.S. John W. Brown was built in Baltimore where 385 of these ships were produced during the war.  For more information and reservations, call 410-558-0164 or email john.w.brown@usa.net.




Green Mount Cemetery Walking Tours

The next set of walking tours through historic Green Mount Cemetery will take place on Saturday, September 27th, October 11th, 25th , and November 1st - $ - Opened in 1839 as the city's first urban-rural cemetery, Green Mount is the final resting place of Johns Hopkins, Enoch Pratt, William and Henry Walters, Mary Elizabeth Garrett, Theodore McKeldin, John Wilkes Booth, Betsy Patterson, Walter Lord, and other famous Marylanders. Tours begin at 9:30 a.m. from the main gate located at Greenmount Avenue and East Oliver Street, and are led by Baltimore historian Wayne R. Schaumburg. Reservations are required. For more information on the tours, call 410-256-2180 or email wayne.schaumburg@gmail.com.




New Books on Baltimore History and Architecture for 2014


David Shackelford, A Journey From Roads to Rails:  The Baltimore and Frederick Turnpike, the B&O Railroad, and Ellicott Mills, Maryland, 1800-1860 (See Fred Rasmussen's article in the Baltimore Sun from Friday, January 24th)


Geoffrey Footner, A Bungled Affair, Britain's War on the United States, the Final Years 1814-1815


Carol Berkin, Wondrous Beauty, Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte


E. Fuller Torrey,  The Martyrdom of Abolitionist Charles Torrey  (See the article by Mary Carol McCauley in The Sun from Sunday, February 23rd)


Richard Striner and Melissa Blair, Washington and Baltimore Art Deco:  A Design History of Neighboring Cities


Lucas and Julie Schabletsky, Archeology of the War of 1812 (due out in June, 2014)


David Shackelford, The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad in Maryland


Bill Barry, The 1877 Railroad Strike in Baltimore


Ross Kimmel and Michael Musick, I'm Busy Drawing Pictures: The Civil War Art and Letters of Private John Jacob Omenhausser, CSA  (This Confederate soldier from Baltimore was imprisoned at Point Lookout)


Marc Leepson, What So Proudly We Hailed:  Francis Scott Key, A Life (See the article by Mary Carole MacCauley in the Sun from July 27th)





This Week in Baltimore's History:


July 24th:  1868:  The Black Friday Flood:  A 12-hour rain storm led to massive flooding along the Jones Falls as flood-waters reached a height of 20 feet.  South of Eager Street, the tidal wave of water washed away all but one bridge over the Falls.  Flooding was so extensive that water engulfed the Calvert Street Station (present-day site of the Sun newspaper on Calvert Street), the Holliday Street Theater (present-day War Memorial Plaza), and the Maryland Institute at Market Place.  The storm claimed 50 lives, damaged 2,000 houses, and threw some 4,000 people out of work. 

July 25th:  1873:  A major fire broke out on Clay Street near the downtown business district.  The wind-blown flames burned for ten hours, destroyed 113 buildings, and caused $750,000 in damage.  The burned area was bordered by Park Avenue,  Liberty, Mulberry, and Saratoga Streets.  Central Presbyterian Church (located today at York Road and Stevenson Lane) at Liberty and Saratoga Streets was totally destroyed  while First English Lutheran Church (located today at Charles and 39th Streets) and its parish house on Lexington Street were heavily damaged.  Although St. Alphonsus Catholic Church was spared by the blaze, its orphanage and parish school were lost.  Known as the "Clay Street Fire," it was the city's worst blaze prior to the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904.


----------:  1964:  Contracts were signed for the building of the Morris Mechanic Theater and the new Hilton Hotel as part of the Charles Center Project.


----------:  1974:  Johnny Unitas announced his retirement from the NFL.  Unitas, 41 years old, played 17 seasons with the Baltimore Colts and one with the San Diego Chargers.  He said, "I hate to quit playing football.  The mind is willing, but your body wears out."


----------:  2000:  Before a sell-out crowd of 47,874 at Camden Yards, the New York Yankees beat the Orioles 19-1.  It is the worst defeat for the Orioles at Camden Yards


July 26th:  1873:  The Baltimore Hebrew Congregation abolished separate seating for men and women.   

July 27th:  1863:  As part of his job to recruit a black regiment in Baltimore for the  U.S.C.T., Colonel William Birney liberated several slave jails in the city.  In all, Maryland furnished 8,700 African Americans who served in the 4th, 9th, 19th, 30th, and 39thRegiments including Christian Fleetwood who would win the Congressional Medal of Honor.  


July 28th:  1817:  The First Mechanical Volunteers (organized by the Mechanical Company, the city's first volunteer fire company, 1763) erected a monument to Aquilla Randall, one of its members who was killed at the Battle of North Point on September 12, 1814. The monument still stands today on Old North Point Road. The Randall obelisk was one of three monuments seen by President John Quincy Adams on his 1827 visit to Baltimore during which he toasted Baltimore as "the monumental city." 

July 29th:  1776:  The Declaration of Independence was read and proclaimed at the city courthouse (located at Calvert and Fayette Streets, where the Battle Monument stands today) to a joyous crowd of Baltimoreans accompanied by salvos of artillery.


-------------:  2007:  Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken, Jr. was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in front of a crowd of more than 75,000 people.  At the invitation of Ripken, Orioles' umpire attendant Ernie Tyler broke his streak of 3,819 games to attend the ceremony as a guest!


-------------:  2010:  Buck Showalter took over as manager of the Baltimore Orioles.  He finished the season with a winning record.  

July 30th:  1729:  Baltimore Town was founded on the northwest branch of the Patapsco River.  Seven commissioners were appointed by the colonial government in Annapolis to purchase 60 acres of land (known as Cole's Harbor) from the Carroll family and have it surveyed into one-acre lots.


July 31st:  1864:  Martin  J. Spaulding was consecrated Archbishop of Baltimore.  He would serve until February, 1872.


------------:  1952:  The Edmondson Village Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library opened for business.  It is located at Edmondson and Athol Avenues just east of the shopping center.


------------:  1983:  Brooks Robinson, Juan Marashal, George Kell (who played briefly for the Orioles) and Walter Alston were inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.     



             Website updated on 7/24/2014




Photo Answer:   Known as "Baltimore's Valhalla," Green Mount is one of the city's most historic cemeteries and will celebrate its 175th anniversary on July 13th.  Opened in 1839, it was Baltimore's first urban-rural cemetery, that is, a cemetery with a park-like setting located close to the countryside.  Organized by a group of seven Baltimore gentlemen led by tobacco merchant Samuel Walker, they purchased 65 acres of merchant Robert Oliver's country estate named "Green Mount."  At it's dedication on July 13, 1839, keynote speaker John Pendleton Kennedy praised the new site by saying that "Death was part of nature and Green Mount would provide a place for man to repose in the quiet simple beauty of the natural countryside."

Within five years Green Mount saw over 600 burials and soon became Baltimore's cemetery of choice.  Today, over 67,000 people are buried here (see the photo below).  Its distinctive Tudor Gothic gatehouse was designed by Robert Carey Long, Jr. in 1840, and is located at Greenmount Avenue and East Oliver Street. Other architects would leave their mark on the cemetery s well.  The walkways were laid out by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Jr. and designed to conform to the existing topography.  Niernsee and Neilson designed the Gothic revival chapel (see the photo below) while Buckler and Fenhagen erected the Masoleum in 1929.
Today Green Mount is the final resting place of Johns Hopkins, Enoch Pratt, William and Henry Walters,  Mary Elizabeth Garrett, Arunah S. Abell (see the photo below),  William Henry Rinehart, Harriet Lane Johnston, Theodore McKeldin, Betsy Patterson, John Wilkes Booth, A. Aubrey Bodine, Walter Lord, Confederate General Joseph Johnston and many other famous Marylanders.