Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories | WYPR

Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories

Gil tells us why you don't hear "Baltimore, Our Baltimore" ring out at Orioles games, or anywhere, really. 

The Lyric Theater on the night of May 27, 1982 was historic. The Baltimore Symphony patrons were there to say goodbye—the Symphony’s concert this night was scheduled to be its last in the Lyric. Succeeding concerts would be at the newly opened Meyerhoff. But the goodbye proved to be far more poignant than any had expected…

 

On the Saturday night of July 7, 1937, crowds are making their way along the Light Street below Pratt to Pier 5, there to board the moonlight excursion boat, the Bay Belle. The boat would go down as far as Fort McHenry and then turn around and come back to Pier 5, an hour or so later.

It’s an easy and comfortable ride for Baltimoreans to get from Highlandtown on the east side of the harbor to Locust Point on the west. But up through the late 1940s ferry boats carried hundreds daily, from one side of the harbor to the other. And during WWII shipyard workers aboard created the first, last, and oldest establishment floating crap game in Baltimore.

Out on Dulaney Valley Road at Dance Mill Road, a yellow school bus turns into a narrow road. In minutes, the school children-- as thousands did before and after —disembark. They have come this day in 1955 to Cloverland Farms—to see cows milked! But in 1981 the milking barn closed---leaving subsequent generations of children believing, this story goes, that maybe chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Clockwork (5-31-19)

May 31, 2019

On July 7, 2007, Baltimoreans whose habit it was to look up nine stories to the top of the Bromo Seltzer tower to check the time on one of its four clocks --  facing east,  west, north, south—were bewildered. The clocks were out of sync, one with the other, and showing different times. The story--when Baltimoreans didn’t know the time of day!

Haussner's (5-24-19)

May 24, 2019

On the afternoon of December 18, 1999, watched anxiously in auctioneering house in Timonium, as the auctioneer rattled off the artifacts for sale from the once and famous and now defunct Haussner's restaurant - weeks earlier a reigning queen at Eastern Avenue and Conkling streets. In the end, the memories of thousands of lunches and dinners and of millions of dollars of artwork and 73 years of Baltimore times winds up in a ball of twine - on display in an antique shop on Fells Point.

On the afternoon of May 18, 2013 at the Preakness at Pimlico, a horse named Mylute came in third. She was ridden by Rosie Nepravnik—the only female jockey in this race. How a woman jockey got be right in there with all the male jockeys, in what was historically, an all-male society, is a Baltimore story. 

Betsy (5-10-19)

May 10, 2019

In October of 1955, Reuter’s Moscow newswire was crackling: A painter of genius had just been discovered in America. The artist-subject, a Baltimorean, had been soaring to fame and recognition world-wide; for the originality of her paintings. When the word came out revealing at long last who she was, this same admiring audience was stunned. Who was she?

In 1938, Baltimoreans crowded Dundalk Ave. and welcomed the American hero and aviator, Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan. Baltimore Mayor, Howard W. Jackson, staged the event to promote the city and, in particular, Baltimore's hot steamed crabs.

A fashion show breaks out in the middle of the annual Easter Parade on Pennsylvania Avenue in the mid 1950's.

Up until the late 1950s there was, every year going back nobody really knows how far, an Easter Parade on Charles Street. It started at the Washington Monument, and ended on 33rd Street, and 1959 turned out to be the last year for it. The story of the decline and fall.

Eli Hanover (4-5-19)

Apr 5, 2019

Eli Hanover was a grizzled, ex-boxer who ran a gym over the Jewel Box Night Club down on the old and now infamous Block in East Baltimore. He had a dream: to train the boxers who would make Baltimore America’s center for boxing. Fighttown Baltimore, he called the dream. But it never happened. The dream died with the dreamer. 

Joe Howard (3-22-19)

Mar 22, 2019

On December 2, 1968, in the Baltimore City Courthouse, Joseph Howard, the very first African-American ever to be elected to a 15-year-term as a judge serving on the Supreme Bench of Baltimore, was being sworn in. But before the afternoon was over, the newly appointed judge would have an experience that as a Judge he did not expect.

On the afternoon of July 11, 1953, the Chairman of the Maryland Board of Movie Censors emerged from the viewing room, the fifth floor of the Equitable Building on Calvert Street, and made an announcement that shook the town: the Board would not allow the movie “The Moon Is Blue” to be shown. What happened next was historic.

Danny's (03-08-19)

Mar 8, 2019

Motorists driving north on Charles during March of 1989 were delighted to see, off to their right, high on the two story building at Biddle, a sign, “The Run Is On!” That sign appearing in late March every year was cheering: a favorite Baltimore dish was again available at Danny’s Restaurant—boneless shad and shad roe. But Danny’s is closed, there is no longer public notice that it’s shad season in Baltimore.

At precisely five minutes to 5:00 on December 31, 1959 at Walters’ Public Bath House No. 2 at 900 Washington Boulevard, a man was taking the very last shower in the very last public bath house in Baltimore. It was 5:00 exactly when he shut down his shower he shut down, too, the era of public baths in Baltimore.

Ethel Ennis, the Baltimore vocalist with the buttery-soft voice, was born in Baltimore but enjoyed international renown performing in London and Paris and cities around the world—and received many tempting invites to live in any one of them. Yet she chose to come home to live and work in Baltimore. She explained, “You don’t have to move up by moving on. You can bloom where you were planted.” And so she did.

Gil tells us about a time before WWII when strawberries were grown and picked by Baltimoreans.

On the night of January 16, 1967, the sidewalk under the marquee of the Mechanic Theatre at Charles and Baltimore streets was the scene of bright lights and cameras flashing and celebrities working the crowd. The occasion was the Grand Opening of the Mechanic—which would close after three years, stay dark for two years and reopen nine years later in n 1976. It closed for the last time in 2004—after 37 years, As they say in show biz, not a bad run.

On the evening of August 10, 1908, Baltimore entrepreneur and socialite Isaac Emerson was having dinner in the then very fashionable Belvedere Hotel. It was a very hot and humid night and so Mr. Emerson felt inclined to take off his coat. Whereupon the maitre de rushed to his table and admonished him on the impropriety of taking off one’s coat in the Belvedere dining room. Emerson got furious, and walked out, murmuring that he would build his own hotel. And he did.

Gil tells us about Louie Goldstein, who spent more than a decade advocating for his beloved Calvert County to be the home of a third Bay Bridge span.

On today's Baltimore Stories, Gil tells us about a transportation option that allowed riders to take in the "charms of Charm City" from a high perch.

Gil on the (Minor League) Orioles' play-by-play announcer Bill Dyer and his so-called "lucky chair."

Gil tells us about the last voyage of the Howard W. Jackson ferry boat.

Gil Sandler, the legendary Baltimore folklorist who wrote for local newspapers and WYPR, draped the city in stories that will last forever. 

From former Governor Donald Schaefer to Al Capone to Leona Gage (the young woman from Glen Burnie who won "Miss America," only to have her crown ripped away!)...Gil gathered our local history and shared it with humor, beauty, wisdom, and utter charm.

Here, his three WYPR producers: Lisa Morgan, Luke Spicknall and Mary Rose Madden share a collaborative remembrance...one we hope would make Gil proud. 

December 6, 1943--The audience at The Hippodrome waited to see the Benny Goodman band with drummer Gene Krupa take the stage. But it wasn't Krupa behind the kit. Gil tells us how a Baltimore boy stood in for the famous drummer, without anyone knowing. 

To hear a famous Benny Goodman tune, click here

Gil tells us how the seasoning staple began. 

Number, Please!

Nov 30, 2018

Gil recalls a time in Baltimore before 10 digit phone numbers, when "Idlewild" and "Tuxedo" helped the telephone operator find who you were looking for.

Tulkoffs

Nov 23, 2018

On a morning in 1932, a woman customer walks into Tulkoff fruit and vegetable store at 1018 East Lombard Street. She could not know it and neither can Harry Tulkoff, the stores' woebegone owner, but she would soon open a spectacular chapter in the history of Baltimore and the world. 

Gil tells us more. 

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