Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories | WYPR

Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories

Friday 7:46 am and 9:38 am

Gilbert Sandler was one of Baltimore's most-read and well-known local historians. For more than thirty years, through his articles in the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Jewish Times, National Public Radio and his books and lectures, he showed Baltimoreans, through anecdote and memory, who they are, where they have been and, perhaps, where they are going. He was educated in Baltimore's public schools and graduated from Baltimore City College; in World War II, he served in the United States Navy as a ship-board navigator in the Pacific. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and received a master's from Johns Hopkins.

WYPR was pleased to present Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories for almost 17 years. Baltimore Stories will air every Friday for the foreseeable future, and with this online archive, the show can continue to delight listeners for many years to come. 

Archive prior to December 2014.

When Congressman Tommy D'Alesandro, Jr. married Nancy Lombardi, Little Italy - where they were both born and raised - became one vast, day long party of wining and dining.  A little too much of it caused Tommy and Nancy to change their honeymoon plans!  

In 1946, Hochschild Kohn's department store decided to install automated elevators - dismissing the operators, management thought, forever.  But when the automatic elevators were installed and the operators dismissed, the management was in for a very big surprise. 

On the day of the Baltimore riots, police stopped all incoming vehicles at the city line and turned them back - save one.  This is the story of that one. 


Harborplace today is among the busiest tourist attractions in the world - but it almost wasn't.  Baltimoreans let it happen by a very slim majority.  

History was made in a pumpkin patch in Carroll County when microfilm was found inside one of the pumpkins.  The discovery changed the course of history! 

The Last Ride Of The Old No. 8

Feb 28, 2014

The last streetcar to run in Baltimore was the No. 8 .  But by the time the car's run had been completed, so had the riders' dismantling of it!   

Outrage On The Streets Of Baltimore!

Feb 17, 2014

The city fathers had in mind locating the new civic center in Druid Hill Park.  The didn't get it, but they got more than they bargained for! 

The B&O Mt. Royal Station provided rocking chairs for its patrons and when the rocking chairs mysteriously disappeared, Baltimoreans got furious. 

Remembering The Ol' Penn Hotel Gang In Towson

Jan 31, 2014

The country and the world would be a lot different if what happened in the old Penn Hotel had not.  Hear the story if "what if"...

Biggest Crab Ever!!

Jan 24, 2014

Learn why the biggest crab ever caught in Maryland waters goes into the record book with an asterick and an explanation!

When Maryland's movie censors had the power to declare a movie indecent, it did - with a movie

called "The Moon is Blue".  Hear how the decision backfired.

A Ditty For "Our Land Of Pleasant Living"

Jan 10, 2014

When Baltimoreans sorely needed an uplifting song to sing - one that would bring them together - along came Mr. Boh, singing, "National Beer, National Beer..."  

Pure McKeldin!

Jan 3, 2014

The moment in history when Maryland;s Governor McKeldin announces to General Eisenhower that he (McKeldin) is "thinking of running for President myself"!

The story of a taxi cab abandoned on the Guilford Avenue El - two stories up.  But then again, it was

New Year's Eve in Baltimore...  

The undefeated City College football team went to the Orange Bowl to play undefeated Miami Heat and got beat - but not by Miami High.

Moonlighters taking the moonlight excursions down The Bay got more moon than they figured on! 

Stay Classy, Baltimore!

Dec 6, 2013

The Oriole cafeterias were made for fine dining, with slow dinner music accompanying - until the patrons made a choice - fast food over slow music! 

Wait For The Train To Pass Then Take Centerstage

Nov 29, 2013

The Baltimore theater that a train ran through—and the timing of its whistles challenged the actors to leave their scripts and adopt their lines to the whistles.

The story of how the traditional annual Hochschild Kohn "Thanksgiving Toytown Parade" was one vacuum cleaner away from not being a tradition at all!

The Time Baltimore Was Cursed By A Diamond?

Nov 21, 2013

The story of the one and only time that Baltimore fell under the curse of the world-famous and cursed Hope Diamond!

Marconi's Last Lobster Cardinale - RIP

Nov 21, 2013

The last of the grand names in Baltimore Restaurants closes, but not before a farewell to both the restaurant and its most famous dish!

Kermit the Frog came to Baltimore to advertise for EssKay meats—and wound up advertising, too, the City of Baltimore.

Every Friday was Bank Day in Baltimore City’s elementary schools. Students opened accounts and saved in them -- with some surprising results!

During WWII civilian aircraft spotters, searching the skies for enemy planes, thought they saw some. They were in for a huge surprise!

Born in China, Jimmy Wu became owner-operator of a very successful Chinese restaurant—and whose fortune cookie actually predicted it!

The craze was all over Baltimore, and when the city held a hula-hoop contest among its children, the City Comptroller himself thought he could have won it.

The Mechanic Theater Remembered

Nov 21, 2013

The story of the life and times of the Mechanic Theater—it opened then it closed, then it re-opened—and then closed again--this last time, forever.

The DayTelevision Came To Baltimore

Nov 21, 2013

The first telecast from Baltimore was of a race at Pimlico—but more than a horse won on that historic day.

The Blue Bottle That Weighed Twenty Tons

Nov 21, 2013

How the famous Bromo Seltzer bottle came down from atop its tower—and how your grandfather wound up driving it.

Maria of Little Italy runs Chicago’s feared mobster Al Capone out of Baltimore—through the kitchen.