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5 Historical Facts You Didn't Know About Baltimore

"The Old Line State," Maryland marks the border between North and South and is one of the most unique, and overlooked, states in the nation. One thing that makes Maryland so unique is its ancient and storied metropolis of Baltimore City. Established as a catholic city in a catholic colony in 1729, Baltimore has been a city of sea-captains and ghosts, of national anthems and national sports heroes, of screen legends and legendary writers and the list goes on. Here are a few facts you probably never knew about Baltimore, however.

Baltimore Is Birthplace To The Six-Pack

In the 1940s, groundbreaking Baltimore brewing company National Bohemian issued the first six-pack of beer under the very sensible idea that four beers would be too few and eight would be too many. National Bohemian, or "Natty Boh'" as Marylanders call it, has quite a rich history in the Baltimore area before it was acquired by the Pabst Brewing Company through a series of buyouts and mergers. Despite being jostled around the corporate world, Natty Boh remained a Baltimore icon and returned to its Baltimore roots, becoming the official beer of the Baltimore Orioles in the mid-'60's. Since then, it has been re-introduced as a beer on draft in Baltimore, and 90 percent of the sales are still made in its home town.

The First Manned Balloon In The U.S. Was In Baltimore  

In 1784, flight was for the birds and just a fickle dream for men. However, one Baltimore lawyer and tavern keeper, Peter Carnes, had the genius and ambition to live the dream. Unfortunately, he was too heavy for the balloon he had built. Surrounded by a paying audience expecting a show, Carnes was literally at his ropes end. Fortunately for Carnes, a brave 13-year-old boy, Edward Warren, stepped up to volunteer to take the first manned flight in the U.S. Warren's successful flight led to a balloon craze across the nation in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

Baltimore Is The Birthplace Of The American Railroad

Baltimore residents may be well familiar with the B&O Railroad, whose history and tracks pervade and embrace the city. But not so many may be aware that the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which began its construction in 1829, was the first commercial railroad in the United States as well as the first long-distance track. If it had not been for this bit of East-Coast pioneering, the West would never have been won.

With the supplies and transportation it afforded, the B&O Railroad laid the tracks (so to speak) for the expansion of the American nation all the way to the West Coast. Anyone interested in seeing the history involved in this expansion as well as the development of the railroad and its technologies over the years may do so by visiting the B&O Railroad Museum, located right here in Baltimore.

Related:  Best Family-Friendly Museum Exhibits In Baltimore

Baltimore Was Subjected To Forced Occupation In The Civil War

Maryland is technically a Southern state. During the Civil War, this put it in an extremely awkward position, as it remained so far north. When successions began to occur, Maryland didn't originally pick sides. However, because of its geographic location and because of its heavy reliance on slavery for sugar manufacturing, The Union decided it wasn't going to take chances.

A unit of Union troops came knocking at the door of Baltimore city and hostilities broke out, leading to the first bloodshed of the Civil War. The Union continuously occupied Baltimore for the duration of the war, which led to a chain of effects: Baltimore could not sell its sugar to Southern states, the slave trade began to flag, slaves were emancipated and Baltimore became an ideal location for emancipated slaves to settle. Consequently, Baltimore became a virtually African American city.

Johns Hopkins Hospital Was Built On An Old Insane Asylum

Johns Hopkins is one of the most important parts of Baltimore, as well as being one of the top universities in the nation. In the late 19th century wealthy philanthropist and banker Johns Hopkins was looking for a place to found his hospital and medical school. Originally, he was considering building the campus on his massive Clifton estate. However, Hopkins was a man who was always out for a bargain, and an abandoned mental hospital ended up being quite a bargain indeed. With a price that was right, Hopkins made the deal and also made Baltimore history by founding what is arguably the most important institution in Maryland.

Related: Best Museum Tours In Baltimore

Joel Furches is a freelance writer and researcher for The Examiner and Logos Software, and also manages his own catalog of writing on Hub Pages. Joel is on the board of directors for Ratio Christi. He has a bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Education.

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