One last road trip for Schaefer

From Faidley's at Lexington Market to the Washington Monument, from Camden Yards to the Inner Harbor, a motorcade will ferry the body of William Donald Schaefer on a two-hour farewell trip Monday afternoon through the hometown that he loved and led.

"This is a tour for the governor, and it's a tour for the people to pay their respects and say thank you," said Ron Kreitner, an aide to Schaefer during both his time as Baltimore mayor and Maryland governor.

The 14-mile journey will start at 3 p.m. at Schaefer's childhood home at 620 Edgewood St. in West Baltimore, where he lived with his mother during most of his time as mayor, and conclude at City Hall, where he will lie in state until funeral services and burial on Wednesday.

In between, Kreitner and other associates mapped an itinerary that includes some of his favorite haunts as well as his proudest achievements. As with any road trip involving Schaefer — as mayor, he was known to hop out of his car and pick up trash — there may be surprises along the way, Kreitner hinted.

"Who knows what might happen?" said Kreitner, a former director of planning for the state, noting that the motorcade will stop at such sites as the National Aquarium, where Schaefer made a national splash by jumping into the seal pool as promised when the attraction failed to open on schedule. "There are some creative people at the Aquarium."

Expect some drama at Harborplace: Kreitner said the Pride of Baltimore II will fire its cannon as the motorcade pays a visit to the Schaefer statue, just south of the Light Street Pavilion.

Already, parts of town were readying for Schaefer's final journey.

Clear Channel Outdoor is putting up six digital billboards honoring Schaefer. Each has a photo of the former governor and mayor and says, "Thank you William Donald Schaefer." The spots include Interstate 95 north of the Fort McHenry Tunnel, Russell Street near the sports stadiums, Hanover Street and Caton Avenue.

In Little Italy, where Schaefer often dined and attended spaghetti-dinner festivals, a banner is up at the neighborhood's entrance at Pratt and President streets, bearing a picture of Schaefer on one side and his favored African violets on the other and, in between, the message, "Little Italy thanks you, Mayor Schaefer."

The motorcade will stop at Gia's Cafe, which was previously Iggy's Sandwich King, the place where Schaefer and his cronies always had breakfast on Election Day. There, former Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro III, former state Sen. John Pica and Father Sal of St. Leo's will join restaurateurs, church groups and others greeting the motorcade, said Frank Babusci, a longtime City Hall employee.

Babusci, now a state agency official, said Schaefer may be associated with big downtown initiatives like Harborplace, but in his heart he was "a neighborhood guy" who always looked out for Little Italy and other communities.

Downtown "was the economic engine, but the glue of the city was the neighborhoods," Babusci said. "He made the neighborhoods proud of themselves. They were out there cleaning steps, cleaning windows, making planters out of tires."

Kreitner said time limited the number of places that the motorcade could hit, particularly during the afternoon rush hour. "I know we're just touching the surface of what he did in Baltimore. You could do this for a week, and you'd still be leaving out people and projects associated with him," he said. "You can't go through a neighborhood in Baltimore and not think of something he did."

Kreitner said there are some brief, planned events along the route — bells at Lexington Market and churches such as Zion Lutheran near City Hall are expected to toll, Bishop Denis J. Madden will offer a blessing at the Basilica of the Assumption, and team mascots and representatives will greet the motorcade at Camden Yards.

If the motorcade can't travel to every neighborhood, it will at least offer a vista of several of them when it goes up to Federal Hill Park, where community, parks and housing representatives will be waiting.

Schaefer's associates aren't sure what to expect in the way of crowds along the route, or at the public viewings of the casket at the State House in Annapolis from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, and City Hall from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, or at funeral services at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Old St. Paul's Church downtown.

"I am frankly overwhelmed by the outpouring of people who want to be a part of what we're doing," Kreitner said. "I think the florists in town are experiencing a real demand for African violets, which he cultivated at City Hall and the State House."

He and other Schaefer intimates are bracing themselves for what promises to be an intense three days as residents take the opportunity to bid farewell to their former mayor and governor.

"There are going to be some very emotional touches," said Mark Wasserman, Schaefer's former chief of staff. "It's going to be very powerful."

Schafer spent much of his professional life sending "action memos" to his staff, but he gave no detailed instructions for services and instead left this final task to them.

"We know what to do," Wasserman said.

Monday's motorcade of about 10 vehicles will make brief stops or pass these locations between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.: Schaefer's childhood home at 620 Edgewood, Western Cemetery, Lexington Market, Washington Monument, Baltimore School for the Arts, Basilica of the Assumption, Hippodrome Theatre, Camden Yards, Federal Hill Park, Schaefer statue at Harborplace, National Aquarium, Little Italy, Fells Point Plaza, Lloyd Street Synagogue and Jewish Museum on Lombard Street, Healthcare for the Homeless at 421 Fallsway, City Hall.

These streets will be closed to accommodate the motorcade:

Saratoga Street between Gay and Holliday Streets, 3 p.m.–6 p.m.

Lexington Street between Guilford Avenue and Gay Street, 4 p.m.–6 p.m.

Holliday Street from Saratoga to Lexington streets, 4 p.m.–6 p.m.


Funeral information

Details for public services for William Donald Schaefer:

Schaefer will lie in state at the State House in Annapolis on Monday. The public is invited from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. His body will then be taken past several Baltimore sites that are part of his legacy, including Camden Yards, M&T Bank Stadium and the Inner Harbor.

The former mayor's body will be brought to Baltimore's City Hall to lie in state in the rotunda. The public is invited to pay their respects from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Funeral services will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Old St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 233 N. Charles St. in downtown Baltimore. Schaefer will be entombed at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium after the funeral.

Source: Maryland Governor's Office