Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Bird’s Eye View of Baltimore, Circa 1911-1912

I was looking for a turn of the century (the last one) map of Baltimore and stumbled across a map I’d never seen. It’s not actually a map, rather a bird’s eye view of the city, several years after the Great Baltimore Fire in 1904, highlighting what had been accomplished in a scant seven years.

The view comes from somewhere high above South Baltimore, and stretches all the way up past the mills on the Jones Falls in Hampden and Woodberry. The map is phenomenally detailed, with many buildings being clearly identifiable, even 100+ years later. 1912 capture

You can easily see the Washington Monument, image

the Johns Hopkins medical campus, imagethe Camden Yards warehouses, image

Davidge Hall and the Bromo Tower, image

and so much more. I am pretty certain we could probably pinpoint the MedChi 1909 Building, but I haven’t been able to locate it yet.

Of course, I can’t leave well enough alone, so I applied my mad Photoshop skills to it while listening to the convention speeches, and colourized the map, mostly with brick red, copper and forest green and some pale blue, although we all know perfectly well that the Harbour and the Jones Falls never looked like that. I think that the colour gives the piece a lot of depth. 1912 capture colour

Although it’s not quite to scale, it’s a pretty amazing piece of work, originally done in pencil by Mr. Edward Spofford in the fall of 1911. There’s not a lot of information about this piece, like who comissioned it, and how it was sketched.

You can download a huge file of the map from the Library of Congress, here. It’s such fun to sit and search the image and see what you can recognize.

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