My husband and I spent this past long weekend in Baltimore. The final resting place for Edgar Allen Poe, it was fitting that we visit his grave on his birthday. Fun and often overlooked fact: did you know that the Baltimore NFL team, the Ravens, are a reference to the classic writer? I love that the local American League team, the Orioles, is a team with a bird mascot and by extension, it also reminds me of Edgar Allan Poe. In Baltimore, sports intertwine with culture.
Baltimore is underrated, especially in comparison to its 95 corridor neighbor, Washington DC. While the city has building stock from the 1800s, much in my favorite architectural style of Second Empire which is exemplified by mansard roofs and just enough ornamentation, Baltimore is also home to phenomenal midcentury modern architecture in the Brutalist style. Often overlooked are the city’s cultural institutions: the Walters Art Museam, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Industrial History, American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum, among many others.
Staying at a historic hotel was a nonnegotiable; consequently I researched accommodations via Historic Hotels of America which is how I found the Lord Baltimore Hotel. At the time of its construction in 1928, it was the largest hotel built in the state of Maryland and kept claim to that title for about fifty years thereafter; initial rates were three dollars per night for a single room and thirteen to seventeen dollars per night for a suite. Originally the building had 700 keys which eventually were renovated down to 440 keys, effectively nearly doubling the room size.
Tragically, the completion date of the Lord Baltimore Hotel in the year of 1928 coincided with The Great Depression. These days, guests of the hotel report a red ball rolling around the nineteenth floor. Hotel lore says that this ball was owned by one of the littlest guests, Molly. During the depression, Molly reportedly stayed at the hotel with her mother and father. Likely unbeknownst to the child, the trio had a dismal economic outlook and as such, leaped off of the nineteenth floor to their deaths as many other guests in precarious financial positions did. If the Plaza has Eloise, the Lord Baltimore Hotel has Molly.
The last morning of our stay, I picked up freshly baked croissants and coffee at one of the resident eateries, LB Bakery. The gentlemen putting together my order insisted on giving me a drink holder and securing my coffee cups with the beverage plugs, “just in case I run into Molly,” to which I replied that I was disappointed that I had not even met her yet.
As my husband was packing up our car, the gentleman managing the valet told me about his history with the hotel. The lobby and the lower levels of the hotel are home to retail and commercial uses. In the latter quarter of the twentieth century, musical acts toured through the venue at the lower level of the Lord Baltimore Hotel and he had seen many a musical act in the hotel including girl-power divas Chaka Khan and Tina Turner. His enthusiasm for Baltimore and more specifically, the hotel, was evident.
Baltimore has heart and it beats through the Lord Baltimore Hotel.
Sincerest thanks to the Lord Baltimore Hotel for sponsoring my stay.