Fun facts to know and tell about Baltimore
After Ellis Island, Baltimore’s Fell’s Point neighborhood served as the second-largest point of entry for immigrants to the U.S. Photo courtesy of Visit Baltimore
Whether you’re a lifelong Baltimorean or a recent transplant, chances are you don’t know everything about your hometown.
How many of these fun facts did you already know?
- Fort McHenry is the birthplace of the American national anthem, written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, when the Fort was defending the Baltimore harbor.
- Baltimore is home to the USS Constellation, the last Civil War vessel afloat. Built in 1854, the Constellation is the last all-sail warship built by the US Navy.
- Baltimore’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the first cathedral in the United States. Built in the early 19th century, it has been restored and receives thousands of visitors every year.
- Baltimore was the site of the first regular railroad passenger service in the U.S., beginning on May 22, 1830. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum has been called one of the most significant collections of railroad treasures in the world, and has the largest collection of 19th-century locomotives in the U.S.
- Yes, Washington, D.C. has the world-famous Washington Monument, but Baltimore is home to the *first* monument dedicated to the first president of the United States. You can visit it at 699 N. Charles St. and Mount Vernon Place. (Climb the monument’s 227 marble steps for a great view of the city.)
- The Baltimore Museum of Art holds the world’s largest collection of Matisse paintings in the world.
- The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum was the country’s first wax museum of African American history.
- The waterfront neighborhood of Fell’s Point was the second largest point of immigration to the U.S. after New York’s Ellis Island.
- Many historic African Americans have called Baltimore home, including Thurgood Marshall, Frederick Douglass, Isaac Myers, Billie Holiday and Cab Calloway.
- Baseball legend Babe Ruth was born in Baltimore.
- Baltimore’s World Trade Center at the Inner Harbor is the world’s tallest five-sided building. (Take the elevator to the 27th floor for a panoramic view of the city.)
- The first umbrella factory in the United States was established in Baltimore in 1828.
- The first United States post office system was inaugurated in Baltimore in 1774.
- The first dental school in the world was founded in Baltimore in 1840.
- The first telegraph line in the world was established between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore in 1844.
- Baltimore was home to the first black-owned shipyard in the United States, the Chesapeake Marine Railway and Dry Dock Company. Formed and operated by a group of black community leaders, including Isaac Myers, the former shipyard is now the home of the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum, located at 1417 Thames St. at the Inner Harbor.
- Snowballs (known elsewhere as snow cones), Baltimore’s favorite summer treat, were invented in Baltimore during the Industrial Revolution.
- The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 burned for 30 hours, during which it destroyed 1,500 buildings and leveled entire neighborhoods. One of the reasons cited for the widespread destruction was mismatched hose couplings that impeded firefighting efforts. As a result of the Great Baltimore Fire, firefighting equipment was standardized across the United States.
- Baltimore is home to more than 220 neighborhoods.
- Baltimore has been known by many nicknames through the years, including Charm City, the City that Reads, the Monumental City, and the City that Believes.
- Baltimore has more statues and monuments per capita than any other city in the U.S.
- Baltimore City is an independent city (meaning it’s not part of any county). As such, it is the largest independent city in the U.S.