Aquariums, theaters and city songs


LETTERS, or you never know who, or what, is out there:

Our Glimpses about Baltimore's first aquarium, which opened in Druid Hill Park June 1, 1938, and closed five years later, prompted a letter from Haven Kolb:

"As a young member of the Natural History Society of Maryland, I was acquainted with a number of persons active in establishing that aquarium, among them Fred Saffran, whom you quote." Kolb sent along a program from that opening day 53 years ago. Of particular note in the text: "You may join the aquarium by the payment of a dollar."

Our story about Baltimore's long-gone palatial theaters stirrethe memory of Lavinia Whitehurst Taylor. She wrote: "I am the great niece of Charles Whitehurst. He built the Century and the Valencia, too. My father, William Whitehurst, managed the Whitehurst enterprises, which included the New Theater on Lexington Street and the Parkway at Charles and North avenues. In your article you did not mention the Whitehurst name. I would have been very pleased had you done so."

We do so -- and, as a former habitue of the Century, the Valencia, the New and the Parkway, we do so with fond affection.

Finally, in a recent column, we traced the history of the attempput Baltimore in words and music that would set America to singing about us. That got Baltimore artist and teacher Bennard B. Perlman going back in his memory until he found a song about Baltimore that he wrote. "It popped into my head during the summer of 1947," Perlman wrote, "when as a 19-year-old about to enter my junior year at Carnegie Tech that fall, I was on a trip through Arizona. One thinks of his native city when farthest away from it. The words were jotted down en route and then the music written by a friend when I returned to Baltimore . . .

Here's Perlman's effort:

I found my belle in Baltimore,

She had good looks and plenty more.

She was my host this beautiful toast

From Baltimore.

I met my Mary in Maryland,

And everything about her was simply grand.

She was swell, this Baltimore belle

From Maryland.

Perlman's letter continued: "That fall I went back to my art studies (with classmate Andy Warhol) and concentrated on composing painting rather than on musical offerings."

To which a city gives eternal thanks.

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