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Cures Malaria: 1903

Cures Malaria: 1903

Maryland circa 1903. "Baltimore from Federal Hill." Along with a word from our sponsor. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.


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Churches still standing

Toward the left, you can see the tall pointed steeple of Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, completed in 1872 and the twin spires with onion shaped domes of the Basillica of the Assumption, completed in 1821. Both buildings are still standing and in use today.

Mosquito killer

Cures Malaria by killing the mosquitoes. The smoke, that is.

The white liver pills caused smoke to come out that killed mosquitoes?

Wow. I'll bet it was deadly to more than mosquitoes!

Now we know

That may be where they invented fish oil pills.

Two things supposedly good for your health packed in one.

I'll have the fish, fillet or steak, and you may keep the pills. Thank you.

Knabe Hall

Nice to see Knabe Hall there. My first piano teacher (after I resumed lessons as an adult) had a Knabe concert grand that was built in the 1890s, and that was a beautiful instrument, on a par with Steinway.

Tom O'Neill's bequest

Thomas O’Neill was indeed the person who made the Cathedral a reality but it was through a bequest, because when the church was dedicated in 1959, he had been dead for 50 years. I was fortunate enough to have been on the Cathedral’s 50th anniversary planning committee (I designed the anniversary logo), and one of the many things I researched was O’Neill’s story. At the age of 33, he went into a brief partnership to establish his own dry goods store at Charles and Lexington Streets, eventually buying out his partner and expanding his business to four adjoining buildings and nearly 500 employees, with branches in Dublin (he was an Irish immigrant), London, and Paris.

On February 7, 1904, as the Baltimore fire roared towards O’Neill’s store with flames licking the south wall, the wind shifted and sent the holocaust eastward and his store escaped becoming one of the 1,300-plus buildings destroyed in a 75-block arc. Fire officials wanted to blow up his store to create a fire break if the winds changed, but he refused and, the legend goes, raced off to a Carmelite convent to enlist the nuns’ prayers (his sister was, well, a Sister there).

Whether that story is true or not, his gratitude was real and his will contained this bequest: “All the balance of my estate (including, after the death of my said sisters and brothers, the sum so as aforesaid put aside by my trustees to pay the annuities above mentioned)…as a nucleus for, and for the erecting of, a Cathedral Church in the City of Baltimore”. Also he gave his employees the opportunity to become stockholders and joint owners of his business, with each worker who had two or more years of service gaining a sizable bonus.

O'Neill was a trustee of St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys in Baltimore. One of its students, who entered the school in 1902 at age seven, spent 12 years there learning, among other things, how to play baseball. His name was George Herman Ruth, later known as "Babe".

Cures by Killing

Cures Malaria by killing the mosquitoes. The smoke, that is. Then again, the fish may eat the mosquitoes before they can cause more malaria in the first place, thus reducing the need for the "White Pills".

Skeletal Construction

The skeleton of a building, to the left of City Hall and faded into the background, appears to be The Belvedere Hotel, built in 1903 and still standing today.

Refrigerated boxcars

The boxcar on the train ferry with "Fruit" and "Ventilated" on its side caught my attention. The answer to early refrigeration in transporting perishable goods was a long time coming. Here is what Wikipedia said: "In 1878 Swift hired engineer Andrew Chase to design a ventilated car that was well insulated, and positioned the ice in a compartment at the top of the car, allowing the chilled air to flow naturally downward. Chase's design proved to be a practical solution." Of course, Swift & Co went on to become very successful. Although I see it is now owned by a Brazilian company.

Burned Up

Much of what is seen here was burned in the Baltimore Fire of 1904. Directly above the "White Pills" sign is a tall white building, which I believe to be the Continental Trust Building. It became so hot in there during the fire, gratings in the elevator shafts melted. To its left is a Victorian office building with a mansard roof. This would be the Baltimore and Ohio RR offices, built in the 1870's and totally gutted in the '04 fire. The prominent mansard roof down the street to the left is Barnum's City Hotel, also lost in the fire. Both of these structures faced Baltimore Street, still a major east-west street.

Along the waterfront are two Bay steamers of the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Rwy tied up at their freight terminal. Most of these waterfront warehouses, many dating to the early days of the Republic, were burned out.

At far left margin is the painted sign of O'Neill's Department Store. At the height of the fire, Mr. O'Neill is supposed to have prayed for the Lord to spare his store, and if He would, O'Neill would build Him a new Cathedral. The store survived, and true to his word, Mr. O'Neill built the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in the northern suburbs of town.

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