Baltimore’s impressive history dates back way before it was founded in 1729. Inhabited by the Native American tribe of the Paleo since the 10th millennium BC, the European colonization would kick in at around 1600 and change the area and face of America forever. Following the civil war period, Baltimore expanded and became a major economical east-coast hub and the second largest seaport in the US during the 20th and 21st century. Since the 1968 riots the city spirals out of control, accumulating abandoned downtown retail, warehouse and manufacturing buildings and run-down neighborhoods as a direct consequence of a weakening economy. Today Baltimore is mostly known and infamous for it’s ghettos and gangs, drug trafficking and crime rate which is among the highest in the US.
That ain’t right because this city has so much more to offer. Though my visit was a rather short one with excursions planned to take place mostly on foot, I got quite lucky with my very nice and knowledgeable host who drove me around through some of the hundreds of identified districts (… therefore dubbed “the city of neighborhoods”). The open Jeep tour showed a different angle, the bigger picture so to say and produced some nice random shots while I got a glimpse of what’s going on around town. Architectural and typographical marvels from various periods and cool folks are found everywhere, making you realize what it means if a government neglects an entire city. And that with D.C. just a few miles away! Residents include Edgar Allan Poe, Edith Hamilton, Frederick Douglass, and H. L. Mencken; jazz musicians James “Eubie” Blake, Billie Holiday; filmmaker John Waters; and baseball player Babe Ruth. [Part II]