Bits and Pieces of Neat Bits of Baltimore's Past - Baltimore GhostsPretty Fair for a Square
Photos by Adam Paul
These entire city blocks would form the basis of what would be known as the number of "squares" in both East and West Baltimore. With their Victorian styling, and appointments of statuary, fountains, and lazy shade trees, they were the ideal oasis in the days before air conditioning and the X-Box.
So how have the squares fared over the past century plus? It varies. Some, such as Lafayette and Union greatly retain a number of their vintage trappings and remain among the nicest of the squares. Others, like Johnston and Madison survive, but lack any real trace of their original landscaping. City Springs and Jackson in East Baltimore are today lost under redevelopment. And Perkins today, looks better than it has in decades, though carrying only a hint of its originalty.
Researching the squares' oft turbulent histories of survival is not always easy, but a retelling of what can be discerned about them follows below...
It's hard to pick any ONE square to start with, and hard to pick a favorite, but if pressed, one can certainly see the merits in Union Square in Southwest Baltimore (SoWeBo). Bordered by Hollins, Stricker, Lombard, and Gilmor Streets, Union Square, perhaps more than any other square, offers the most authentic glimpse of the flavor of the squares in their early days.
With shady winding trails, and a functional fountain, Union Square, dating to at least 1850, packs a lot of interest into a single city block. It offers a charm that no modern park can ever hope to replicate, in particular thanks to the stately Italianate homes that front its North, East, and South sides. Today, the square still offers a pleasant respite to its community, as it has for over a century and a half.
See the full article with details about other Baltimore Squares including Lafayette Square, Harlem Park, Franklin Square (the city's oldest from 1845), Perkins Square, Collington Square, Johnston Square, and Madison Square: Bits and Pieces of Neat Bits of Baltimore's Past - Baltimore Ghosts
BONUS: At the end of the article, there's a link to a secret, hidden square in West Baltimore: Locke Square - plus the lost location of Lincoln Square. That article can be found at: West Baltimore's Secret Square
Excerpted from MonumentalCity.Net