Baltimore Historic Sites
Baltimore Historic Sites are substantial for a medium-sized metro area. They are in large part, based on old money philanthropy when Baltimore was the 5th or 6th largest city in the nation. Its art museums are first rate and its performing arts venues and schools are renown.
Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Building
DESCRIPTION: Isaac Myers was an 18th century Black businessman who employed Frederick Douglass at this site to load and unload ship cargo. Building is slowly being restored by the state of Maryland as part of its living classrooms initiative. The site is located at the edge of Fells Point leading inter the Inner Harbor.
ADDRESS: 1417 Thames Street, Baltimore, MD MAP
Old Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School
DESCRIPTION: IT WAS Founded in 1925 to serve African Americans in East Baltimore. Although a fine public school in other ways, from the 1960 through 1990s, the school earned a reputation for having some of the elite basketball teams and players in the nation. Several players have gone to the NBA. New Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School at US Route 40 was home to Baltimore’s greatest basketball player, Skip Wise, who led the school through two undefeated seasons and #1 nationwide rankings.
ADDRESS: 1400 Orleans Street, Baltimore, MD MAP
DESCRIPTION: Built in the 1910s, this is reportedly the first office building constructed for African-American professionals and businesspersons in Baltimore.
ADDRESS: 21 East Saratoga Street, Baltimore, MD MAP
Thurgood Marshall Residence
DESCRIPTION: The esteemed Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, grew up here. It is not open to the public.
ADDRESS: 1632 Division Street, Baltimore, MD MAP
Parks Sausage Company
DESCRIPTION: Founded by Henry Parks, it became the first black-owned company listed on the stock exchange. Many people on the East Coast are familiar with the company’s jingle “More Parks Sausages, Mom. Please”. At one time, Parks Sausage was the largest Black manufacturing company in America. The company now operates under a different owner.
ADDRESS: present site of Orioles Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD MAP
Joshua Johnson Historic Marker
DESCRIPTION: The most famous 19th century Black portrait artist had a studio at this site
ADDRESS: Charles Street at Baltimore Street MAP
DESCRIPTION: In 1896, Sarah A Murphy, Mary E. Bright, Martha Murphy, Frances Murphy, Mary E Cooper, Novella Rayne and Maggie Ridley founded Baltimore’s first YWCA for Colored women on Biddle Street. As the success of the institution grew, it moved to Druid Hill Avenue. Perhaps the best symbol of the group’s achievement is when growth caused it to move to this location in 1945. After the institution was merged into the general YWCA at 128 West Franklin Street, the building was converted into a condominium (closed to public).
ADDRESS: 1912-16 Madison Avenue, Baltimore, MD MAP
Orchard Street Church
DESCRIPTION: A former enslaved person, Truman Pratt founded this church in 1825. As evidenced by its mile-long secret tunnel, the church was a key stop on the Underground Railroad path to freedom in Canada. Tours are by appointment. No longer an active place of worship, historic site houses the Baltimore Urban League chapter and living history events by Renaissance Productions and Tours.
ADDRESS: 512 Orchard Street, Baltimore, MD MAP
PHONE: Urban League 410-523-8150
Royal Theater Historic Marker
DESCRIPTION: The 1,350 seat theater opened 1921 as the Douglass Theater and was billed as “the finest colored theater in America owned and controlled by colored people.” Although it closed due to financial difficulties 4 years later, it quickly reopened under white ownership as the Royal Theater to serve the same audience. With integration in the 1960s came regretful changes to income demographics in the area. This ultimately led to the theater’s closing. Rather than being restored as part of the Pennsylvania Avenue redevelopment, it was unwittingly demolished in 1971. An unremarkable plaque is all that remains until a memorial park is constructed.
ADDRESS: 1329 Pennsylvania Avenue, Baltimore, MD MAP
Old Frederick Douglass High School
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1867 as the first Colored Primary school in Maryland and the first below the Mason-Dixon Line. In 1889 it also received high school status, enabling it to serve grades 5-12; it remained the only high school for Colored People in the state until 1918. For most of the 20th Century, Douglass High School was known for excellence in black teaching. Due to segregation preventing them from working in their chosen professions, many teachers had advanced and technical degrees.
ADDRESS: Baker, Carey, Cumberland and Calhoun Streets, Baltimore, MD MAP
DESCRIPTION: Harriet Tubman used this Underground Railroad station to transport enslaved people to freedom. The façade of this historic railroad station has been restored as part of the Orioles Park at Camden Yards Complex. Note that Baltimore’s famous Negro Leagues baseball player, Negro Leagues Baseball star Leon Day, is honored nearby at the Eutaw Street entrance of the baseball park.
ADDRESS: 333 West Camden Street, Baltimore, MD MAP
Mount Auburn Cemetery
DESCRIPTION: Baltimore’s oldest Black Cemetery contains a Who’s Who of people who escaped slavery, doctors, lawyers, businesspersons. It was established and operated by free persons of color.
ADDRESS: 2630 Waterview Avenue, Baltimore, MD MAP
Desegregated Tennis Court Marker
DESCRIPTION: Location of the 1st public protest against Baltimore’s segregated tennis courts in 1948. The marker lists 24 brave people who were arrested for protesting by playing on the court. Ultimately, the tennis courts were integrated.
ADDRESS: Grove Road in Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD MAP
NAACP National Headquarters
The National headquarters is located in a pleasant campus-like setting in Northwest Baltimore.
ADDRESS: 4805 Mount Hope Drive, Baltimore, MD
Greater Baltimore Urban League
More than an Urban League office, it is located in an Underground Railroad Station
ADDRESS: 512 Orchard Street, Baltimore, MD
Henry Highland Garnett Park
DESCRIPTION: Named in honor of an abolitionist known to more fiery than even Frederick Douglass. Garnett delivered some of his most impassioned speeches here in this small corner park in the mid-1800s.
ADDRESS: Druid Hill Ave at Lafayette Avenue, Baltimore, MD MAP
Leon Day Park
DESCRIPTION: In 1997, this park was upgraded and rededicated to West Baltimore native, Negro Leagues baseball star and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, Leon Day (1916-1995). The park is also a nod to the Baltimore Elite Giants and the Baltimore Black Sox of the Negro Leagues, since Day played for both. Day was an outstanding right handed pitcher and hitter. His speed made him a fearsome base stealer as well. Day holds the strikeout record for the Negro National League and is named as one of the all-time best Negro Leagues pitchers. This first rate park features a lighted baseball field with bleachers. A basketball court, softball diamond, football field, toddler playground, picnic area, and half mile long exercise loop.
ADDRESS: 1200 North Franklintown Road, Baltimore, MD MAP
Benjamin Banneker Historical Park
DESCRIPTION: After selling a small portion of his land to a nephew, Greenbury Morten, Banneker sold most of 138 acres to his life-long friends, the Ellicott Brothers, though a legal clause permitted him to live there until his death. Banneker had no immediate family to pass the land onto. State funding has reassembled most of his land into a wonderful park and museum frequently used for family reunions.
ADDRESS: 300 Oella Avenue, Oella, MD MAP
Arbutus Memorial Park
DESCRIPTION: On plantation land once owned by the Summer Francis, it is now the second oldest Black cemetery in greater Baltimore. Leon Day, Chick Webb, and other well known figures too numerous to mention.
ADDRESS: 1101 Sulphur Springs Road at Shelbourne Road, Arbutus, MD MAP
Hampton National Historic Park
DESCRIPTION: Now managed by the National Park Service, this land was first purchased from Lord Baltimore’s daughter by Charles Ridgely in 1745. At one time his estate consisted of 11,000 acres and was tended by 300 enslaved people who helped make him wealthy. They built one of the finest examples of 18th century Georgian style mansions on the land. Though Ridgely freed some upon his death, most of his enslaved persons remained in bondage until the end of the Civil War. Ridgely’s heirs continued as socialites on the property until 1979. Slave quarters, a smokehouse, orangery, orchards, and barn accompany the mansion for a glimpse back at those times.
ADMISSION: free to walk the grounds; small fee for mansion tour
DAYS & HOURS: daily 9a-5p
ADDRESS: 535 Hampton Lane, Hampton, MD MAP