and a long afternoon of the Queen City of the Patapsco, 1904-1960
two world wars, the Holocaust, and the atomic bomb make people very familiar with
tragedy. Leaders of culture are excited by a Paris exhibit of paintings by Les
Fauves (the Wild Beasts, including Matisse). George Orwell published Animal Farm.
Big Fire [of 1904] cleared out much of the city's downtown architecture. Although
repairing the damage brought little improvement to ancient street patterns, businessmen
rebuilt offices rapidly Baltimore continued to be the sinful seaport where H.L.
Mencken said you could get "earfuls and eyefuls of instruction in a hundred
giddy arcane, none of them taught in school."
spun a cobweb connecting towns around the bay. In summer, Baltimoreans voyaged
to Chesapeake resorts on both shores. So polluted was the Inner Harbor in 1912
that the water stained white hulls of ships a foul yellow. Officials of the Pennsylvania
Railroad ordered their steamboats repainted a deep Pennsylvania Railroad red.
advent of automobiles perhaps enlarged the romance attached to horses.
Contests at Pimlico Race Track supported innumerable bookmakers. The Preaches,
inaugurated in the 1870s, became the second race of the Triple Crown. The horsy
set gradually gave up its winter townhouses to live in the valley miles to the
city outside of Boston, Cleveland Amory said, set such store by family pride as
old-time Baltimoreans did. One of them Wallis Warfield, later Duchess of
Windsor, believed her own pedigree certainly as fine as that of Lady Elizabeth
Bowes-Lyon, who became queen instead of the Baltimorean after King Edward VIII's
abdication in 1936.
females also found a place, although a more tenuous one than that of girls who
came out at the Bachelor's Cotillion. Women of high caliber, such as M. Carey
Thomas, Gertrude Stein, the Cone sisters, and Edith Hamilton, managed
to achieve a good deal despite living in Baltimore.
for literary males, four or five grew up around Union Square. H.L. Mencken
became, some say, the conscience of intellectual America in the 1920s. Dashiell
Hammett made his mark as founder of the hard-boiled school of detective fiction.
Russell Baker, who lived and worked in Baltimore as a young man, later
earned a reputation as humorist and memoirist.
York's Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s set a standard Baltimore tried to match.
Black entertainers with local roots-Eubie Blake, Billie Holliday, Cab Calloway--among
them made national reputations. Pennsylvania Avenue theaters and clubs attracted
white patrons as well as black in to the 1940s
suburbs followed streetcar lines and spread into surrounding counties after cars
became cheap. But Baltimoreans entered the motor age with characteristic reluctance,
and so they built only one expressway before 1970. Citizen pressure later forced
bureaucrats to tunnel interstate I-95 under the harbor instead of knifing right
through the heart of the old city.
two world wars, settled Baltimoreans noted the arrival of thousands of newcomers,
many of them from rural areas. Housing war workers posed serious challenges, and
many old neighborhoods, badly overcrowded, declined.