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1993 brought many changes to Baltimore landscape


These last few days of 1993 provide a time for taking stock of some changes in the Baltimore landscape during the past 12 months. Here's are a few impressions of a city that seems to change before your eyes:

The white-and-black Sun taxicabs were repainted orange-and-black as the Sun firm came under control of the Yellow Cab Company. Some people say the cabs look like they are painted in Baltimore Orioles colors. Others call them the Halloween cabs. Sun cabs had been a Baltimore fixture since 1930.

Through the summer and fall, Druid Hill Park's quaint Victorian gazebos were repainted and renewed. The old Chinese Pavilion, at Fulton Avenue and Auchentoroly Terrace, was moved to a new site within the park just to the west of the reservoir.

The collection of the B&O; Railroad Museum was much enlarged. A whole train, from engine to caboose, was added to the rTC museum grounds at Pratt and Poppleton streets thanks to a gift from CSX Inc.

Another railroading institution, the former B&O; Budd self-propelled passenger cars, were retired after 40 years of hauling Baltimore-Washington commuters. The cars were long a familiar sight at Camden Station. When introduced in the 1950s, they were designed to replace steam locomotive service.

The Charles Theater, Charles near Lanvale streets, posted a "That's All Folks" sign to proclaim its closing as an art film house. The Harvey House, another Charles Street dining landmark, closed too, ending many years of operation by the Baumel family. Morton's, a fancy food and wine shop, at Eager and Morton streets, also stated its intention to close at that location within a few weeks.

HarborView, the city's newest Inner Harbor apartment tower, opened with much fanfare. The promenade around the harbor was also extended at President Street.

One of the city's best known classic business landmarks, the 1885 home of the Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust Company, closed at Calvert and Redwood streets.

Highlandtown got the word that its 1923 Woolworth's store in the heart of the Eastern Avenue shopping district would be no more. The news spread through the neighborhood quickly as many elderly residents who gathered at its classic lunch counter will have to find another spot for coffee and friendly conversation.

A far different restaurant, M. Gettier, made its debut in Fells Point on Broadway. Its many satisfied customers are calling it a superior addition to the local restaurant scene. Just to the north on Broadway, St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church got its fire-damaged stained-glass windows back after a lengthy trip for restoration in Munich.

Advocates of Cylburn Arboretum protested the city's plans to encourage a developer to build houses on a piece of property adjoining the wildlife preserve on Greenspring Avenue in Northwest Baltimore.

The Institute of Notre Dame, the girls' high school at Ashland Avenue and Aisquith Street, got a new gymnasium.

The All Star Game brought people back into Camden Station, a downtown landmark that may be filled permanently with baseball history as an adjunct to the Babe Ruth Museum.

The British production of "The Madness of George III" came to Baltimore in a critically praised production. The cast did not take home such happy memories of its host town, however, after several actors were hit by stones as they tried to walk from Fells Point to downtown.

The Central Light Rail Line's southern stations opened in Linthicum, Ferndale and Glen Burnie. The village of Ferndale's stop is especially attractive, with a kiosk and bronze plaque marking the community's history.

Renewal in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood in West Baltimore continued. The city also embarked on a large scale renovation of public housing.

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