Categories
Photography

Green Mount Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland

Green Mount Cemetery, at 1501 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, was dedicated in 1839 and contains the remains of approximately 65,000 former residents. While not as large as other rural cemeteries, Green Mount’s Gothic Revival structures and funerary art and sculpture are a sight to behold. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Elijah Jefferson Bond (1847-1921)

Elijah Jefferson Bond (1847-1921) was a lawyer and inventor who patented a “spirit board”, or ouija board, in 1890. He served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War, and was a co-founder of the Kennard Novelty Company, which produced ouija boards for the growing Spiritualist movement. Bond married a Maryland woman named Mary Peters, and the couple had one child. They were buried in an unmarked grave until 2007, when an admirer located it and raised funds for this unique headstone.

Lawrason Riggs (1814-1884)

The bronze figure of a woman wrapped in a thin, flowing gown mourns over the graves of Lawrason Riggs (1814-1884) and Mary Turpin Bright Riggs (1837-1919) and their family. Mary, the daughter of Sen. Jesse D. Bright, was Lawrason’s third wife. Their Art Nouveau-style sculpture, titled “Memory” and installed in 1911, was designed by Hans Schuler, a graduate of the Rinehart School of Sculpture.

Categories
Photography

Delicate Touch

This beautiful bronze neoclassical relief of a woman laying flowers in Green Mount Cemetery, 1501 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, is dedicated to lawyer Harry Norman Baetjer (1882-1969) and his wife, Katherine Bailey Bruce Baetjer (1881-1923). The couple had four children, including 2Lt Edwin George Baetjer, II. Edwin was killed in action aboard a B-29 when it crashed in China after a bombing raid over Anshan in what was then the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo.

Katherine Bailey Bruce Baetjer (1881-1923)
Categories
Photography

The Great Despair

This intimidating bronze figure in Green Mount Cemetery, 1501 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland is dedicated to John George Baetjer (1843-1915) and Mary Anna Koppelman Baetjer (1846-1920) and their family. Designed by Hans Schuler, a graduate of the Rinehart School of Sculpture, the seated woman is simply titled “Meditation”. J. George Baetjer, a lifelong Baltimore resident, was a successful dry goods merchant.

John George Baetjer (1843-1915)
Categories
Historic America

Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, Maryland

Tour the claustrophobic tenement where the famous author fell in love with his future wife and published his second book.

Edgar Allan Poe is among my favorite authors, but his life wasn’t without controversy. As a young man, Poe enlisted in the U.S. Army and served several years before applying to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Before going to West Point (and subsequently getting booted out), he stayed at the home of his widowed aunt Maria Clemm, where he met her ten-year-old daughter Virginia Eliza Clemm.

Their narrow red brick duplex stood at No. 3 Amity Street in Baltimore Maryland. Today, it is the Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum. Poe lived in this house with the Clemms for approximately one year before attending West Point. Besides his aunt and her daughter, Maria’s ailing mother and possibly her 14-year-old son Henry also lived there (Henry died at a young age at an unknown date).

Touring the small rooms and claustrophobic passages to the second floor and the attic, I can’t imagine what it was like with four people living there without electricity, air conditioning, or plumbing. Despite these conditions, Poe managed to publish Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems in 1829.

Categories
Roadside America

National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore, Maryland

This eclectic museum brings the African American experience to life, but some sections are definitely not suitable for children.

As a fan of both history and wax museums, I was thrilled to discover this museum in Baltimore’s struggling northeastern neighborhood of Oliver. The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum features over 150 life-sized wax figures representing a range of personalities from African American history, as well as a few ancient ones as well.

The museum’s depiction of ancient history is, for lack of a better word, imaginative. In the entryway, a large figure of a dark-skinned Hannibal the Great sits on a war elephant. Hannibal, a Carthaginian leader who fought the Romans circa 218 BC, was ethnically Phoenician, not from Sub-Saharan Africa. Likewise, the museum depicts Egyptian pharaohs as black when they were actually Middle Eastern in origin. Some even had red hair.

Perhaps the most controversial exhibits have to do with the Atlantic slave trade, lynching, and racism. It’s estimated 12 to 12.8 million Africans were forcibly transported across the Atlantic over a span of 400 years under horrible conditions. The wax exhibit leaves nothing to the imagination.