Historic Views of Baltimore 1752-1857

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A segment of the "Historic Views of Baltimore 1752-1857" mural by Bob Hieronimus, 1976. Located in the War Memorial Building Baltimore, Maryland (101 North Gay Street on the corner of Lexington and Gay Streets).

The Bicentennial Mural was designed and executed in 1976 by Baltimore artist Bob Hieronimus. He was assisted by Jennifer Gibbs, Kim Davenport, Renee Gordon, Bonnie Yanks and Giovanni Pescetto The mural encompasses a panoramic history of the early Baltimore Harbor and spans the years between 1752 and 1857. As John Adams said about our charming city and state in 1777: “I have never been more pleased with any of our American states than with Maryland. Baltimore is a very pretty town.”

The mural consists of three panels, each measuring four feet by eight feet. In all, the work is 24 feet long and four feet high. Artistic freedom was taken in the inclusion of “extras” -- that is, certain Twentieth and Sixteenth Century persons may be found in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century surroundings. When examining the mural from left to right (click here), one will find many symbols of special meaning to Baltimore.

FIRST PANEL

First Panel

Two time periods are included here: 1830 (see lower left foliage) and 1752 (which dominates the central portion). During 1752, Baltimore’s population numbered about 100 (although some say 300), and the town was composed of 25 houses, two taverns, and one church -- Old St. Paul’s.

Yellow Submarine. In the lower left portion of the panel appears a Yellow Submarine, which serves as a reminder of the U.S.S. “Torsk” and the “Argonaut” (1897), both submarines with ties to the Baltimore Harbor. Yellow is the color of Mercury, the symbol of commerce, trade, and the mind. “Sub-marine” (i.e., “under water”) symbolizes the emotions. Yellow Submarine, therefore, is a symbol of the mind in control of the emotions.

George Calvert. George Calvert (1580-1632) appears in an 1830 setting. He was the first Lord Baltimore.

In the 1752 harbor we find the “Ark” and the “Dove”, which carried the first colonists to Maryland. “Ark” and “Dove” landed with their nearly 250 passengers at St. Clement’s Island on March 25, 1634.

Maryland Indians. To the far right of the first panel we find a circle of American Indians performing a religious dance. The relationship between the Indians and the first settlers was a peaceful one. Leonard Calvert, the colony’s first governor, insisted on bartering goods (axes, hatchets, hoes and cloth) for land. His proved to be a wise decision, and it is one of the reasons for the appearance of the Buddha above the circle of Indians. The Buddha is “the enlightened one” and also suggests the religious liberty that the Maryland colony was noted for.

 

SECOND PANEL

Panel 2

Baltimore 1839 and 1828. The central panel features two historical views of early Baltimore connected by a rainbow. Many landmarks can be found in these views including the Roman Catholic Cathedral, the Washington Monument, and the Phoenix Shot Tower.

Gabriel. In the sky above the 1839 view of Baltimore appears the angel Gabriel, bringer of good tidings and a sense of joy. Gabriel rules the water.

Washington Crossing the Inner Harbor. The central panel is dominated by George Washington crossing the Inner Harbor. This is an allusion to the short period during which Baltimore served as the country’s capital. Baltimore was the seat of Congress from December 20, 1776, to February 27, 1777. During this time, Congress bestowed “extraordinary powers” upon General Washington. Also in December, 1776, Washington made his historic crossing of the Delaware and waged a victorious campaign at Trenton.

Benjamin Banneker (1731-1806). The most famous black of the Revolutionary War era sits beneath the American flag found in Washington’s boat. Banneker was the author of an almanac, he made the first clock in America, and he was chosen by Thomas Jefferson to help plan the city of Washington, D.C.

Winan. Behind Washington is a cigar-shaped craft called the “Winan”. It was propelled by one of the first steam engines, and it was launched at Locust Point in 1858.

Rainbow. Above Washington appears the rainbow, which symbolizes the motto E Pluribus Unum, “out of many, one.”

Scorpio. In its highest aspect as the eagle-phoenix clutching the serpent, Scorpio appears above the rainbow as a symbol of rebirth and regeneration. Baltimore’s astrological birth chart shows Scorpio rising, reflecting the fact that the city itself is being reborn, especially as evidenced by its Inner Harbor redevelopment projects.

Dove. The dove below the rainbow symbolizes both internal and external peace.

More about this mural: The Bicentennial Mural was designed and executed in 1976 by Baltimore artist Bob Hieronimus. He was assisted by Jennifer Gibbs, Kim Davenport, Renee Gordon, Bonnie Yanks and Giovanni Pescetto The mural encompasses a panoramic history of the early Baltimore Harbor and spans the years between 1752 and 1857. As John Adams said about our charming city and state in 1777: “I have never been more pleased with any of our American states than with Maryland. Baltimore is a very pretty town.”

 

THIRD PANEL

Panel 3

The final panel contains scenes of Baltimore in 1828, 1839, 1857, and 1830. View 1828 shows the tower of St. Paul’s, the cathedral, and Washington Monument. It embraces the waterfront from Light to Gay Street.

Argonaut. The yellow craft “Argonaut” is docked off Gay Street. In December 1897, the “Argonaut” was the first submarine with a combustion engine to make a successful cruise in deep water.

Reverse of the Great Seal. Above and to the right of the “Argonaut” are symbols found on the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. The eye in the triangle is the eye of Providence and spiritual vision. The pyramid is a sacred temple which may have been used for astronomical calculations. The designer of the Great Seal’s reverse was William Barton, who assisted in the capture of a British privateer and brought it to Baltimore.

Congress Hall. Below the pyramid is Congress Hall, which housed the Continental Congress during its aforementioned stay in Baltimore in the winter of 1776-77.

Constellation. Below Congress Hall is the U.S. Frigate “Constellation”, the first ship of the U.S. Navy.

Cecil Calvert. Opposite the “Constellation”, in an 1830 setting, we find Cecil Calvert (1606-1675) and his grandson. Cecil Calvert was the second Lord Baltimore and the man actually responsible for organizing the colony of Maryland.

Sea Serpent. The sea serpent in the far right of the third panel symbolizes wisdom (dragon) and the Loch Ness monster.

More about this mural: The Bicentennial Mural was designed and executed in 1976 by Baltimore artist Bob Hieronimus. He was assisted by Jennifer Gibbs, Kim Davenport, Renee Gordon, Bonnie Yanks and Giovanni Pescetto The mural encompasses a panoramic history of the early Baltimore Harbor and spans the years between 1752 and 1857. As John Adams said about our charming city and state in 1777: “I have never been more pleased with any of our American states than with Maryland. Baltimore is a very pretty town.”

 

The mural consists of three panels, each measuring four feet by eight feet. In all, the work is 24 feet long and four feet high. Artistic freedom was taken in the inclusion of “extras” -- that is, certain Twentieth and Sixteenth Century persons may be found in Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century surroundings. When examining the mural from left to right, one will find many symbols of special meaning to Baltimore.

History View Montage of all 3 pics side by side

 

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