This online gallery provides a look at historic Baltimore postcards - Baltimore


Feb. 27, 2018 12:59 pm

This online gallery provides a look at historic Baltimore postcards

A portion of a collection from the Baltimore City Archives provides a look at the city's past.

Electric Park, as shown in 1906.

(Photo courtesy Baltimore City Archives)

There’s a new place to get a look at Baltimore landmarks through history.

The Baltimore City Archives recently made part of its collection of Baltimore postcards available through an online gallery. 

Curated by Kathleen Morrison, the gallery shows landmarks as they used to appear, such as the conservatory in Druid Hill circa 1930 and Penn Station from 1940, pre-Man Woman Statue. Others are no longer there, such as a 1964 depiction of “Babe Ruth Stadium” aka Memorial Stadium, where the Orioles played before Camden Yards. The appearance of an amusement park called Electric Park from 1906 was a jumping-off point for lots of recent Googling on this reporter’s part.

See the gallery

Many postcards were printed in Germany before World War I, with companies printing photos taken by local companies, who would also then handle distribution. Later, the printing itself spread to the U.S. and Great Britain. Baltimore-based companies including I. & M. Ottenheimer and M. Levin published postcards of local landmarks.

“These postcards come from the Jim Bready Collection, which numbers roughly 3,600 postcards, of which one quarter is Baltimore, one half is Maryland, and the last quarter other states and countries. The collection actually belongs to the state per se, but it resides here,” Morrison wrote via email.

Like they are today, the postcards were often a product of tourism.

“They were cheap souvenirs, you could likely find some with color, and they were small and easy to pack if you were keeping them for yourself. Almost all the postcards in the collection are location based, meaning that’s what Mr. Bready liked to collect,” Morrison wrote.


While many of the postcards are blank, they still contain valuable connections to the past. When looking through the collection, Morrison was initially drawn to a postcard depicting a carousel.

“As a toddler, I lived in Washington D.C., and I loved the merry-go-round on the National Mall,” she wrote to us via email. “Well, it turns out it’s from Gywnn Oak Park, and that carousel is the same one that Sharon Langley rode on in August of 1963, marking the end of the whites-only policy of the park.”

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    The merry-go-round that Sharon Langley rode on August 28, 1963, at Baltimore’s Gwynn Oak Amusement Park on it first day without its previous whites-only admission policy had first come to the park, brand new, in 1947, built by the Allan Herschel Company, one of the main U.S. manufacturers of carousels. That amusement park had owned other merry-go-rounds before getting this one in 1947. If the merry-go-round postcard in the collection was printed before 1947, it would have shown one of the earlier carousels, but if printed later, then it would likely be the one Sharon Langley rode. The story of the merry-go-round that Sharon Langley rode is told in the book “Round and Round Together: Taking a Merry-Go-Round Ride into the Civil Rights Movement.” Gwynn Oak Amusement Park closed permanently in 1972 as a result of hurricane damage. The merry-go-round that Sharon Langley rode in 1963 moved to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in 1981, replacing an earlier, smaller merry-go-round that had been on the National Mall since 1967. For more information:


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