A cultural and educational center, Baltimore is the seat of The Johns Hopkins Univ. with its famous medical center, the Univ. of Baltimore, Morgan State Univ., Loyola College in Maryland, the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Coppin State Univ., and the Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore, with schools of medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, nursing, law, and social work. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has had its headquarters in the city since 1986. Also there are the Peabody Conservatory of Music, the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Maryland Academy of Sciences, the Walters Art Gallery, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Enoch Pratt Free Library and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra are well known. Since the 1970s filmmakers including John Waters and Barry Levinson have made Baltimore scenes widely familiar, as has novelist Anne Tyler.
The city's historical sites include Flag House; the first Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States (1806–21; designed by B. H. Latrobe); the Edgar Allan Poe House (c.1830); Westminster Churchyard, where Poe is buried; Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (see National Parks and Monuments, table); the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum; and numerous colonial homes. The U.S.S. Constellation, the first U.S. navy ship (1797) and a national historic shrine, as well as other historic ships, are docked at Baltimore's Harborplace.
Other landmarks are the historic square Mt. Vernon Place, which contains the Washington Monument (1815–42; designed by Robert Mills); Druid Hill Park, with a zoo and a natural history museum; and Pimlico Race Course, site of the Preakness, held annually since 1873. Many of the city's famous streets of redbrick row houses with scrubbed white steps still exist, although recent populaton loss has led to much demolition. H. L. Mencken, Babe Ruth, and Billie Holiday were born in Baltimore. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is nearby.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.