This Century-Old Newsletter About Baltimore Is Hilarious

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The Atlantic’s City Lab has turned up an amazing (and amusing)  piece of Baltimore history: the 1914 program for the centennial commemoration of the War of 1812.

The bragging starts early on — in paragraph one, in fact:

Baltimore, as far as the memory of man runneth, has always been big. … Baltimore has been bountifully endowed by nature, and nature is being assisted by those most skilled in civic development.

It gets more hyperbolic from there, praising Baltimore’s sanitary sewers; its magnitude of great drains; and its fire department, “officially declared by experts to be one of the most thorough in the United States.” You know, experts. Ready for more unfounded claims? Try this one:

With the combination—nature, vigilance, and science—enlisted on the side of health, pestilence and epidemic are unknown…This is all the more gratifying when it is recalled that Baltimore is an immigrant port.

It goes on; read the whole, braggy thing here.

Interesting, though, how a hundred years later Baltimore is still consumed with news of the Panama Canal and immigrants at our doorstep. But our drain system and fire department aren’t looking quite so praiseworthy as they apparently were 100 years ago.



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