Either way, Union Square really does rival Bolton Hill and Fell's Point for the title of Baltimore's "most beautiful neighborhood." This fact has not been lost on Hollywood, which filmed the 1997 adaptation of Washington Square (based on the Henry James Novel) at Union Square itself. His extensive writings are memorialized on the fountain in the middle of Union Square, but he remains best known for his coverage of the Scopes Monkey Trial (he himself came up with that name) and his inclusion in the play Inherit the Wind.
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West Baltimore is a huge section of the city notorious for violent and other drug-related crime, but also for its unique culture, endless streets of old Baltimore rowhouses with their marble stoops, and sprawling parklands.
Google "West Baltimore," and the bulk of the hits that show up for several pages of search results are regarding crime.
This is how the world sees West Baltimore, and, while yes, there is an awful amount of violent crime here, this is not fair and not even close to the whole picture of real-life in an urban area rich with culture and history.
While African-American history in Baltimore begins in East Baltimore, it moved to the west at the turn of the twentieth century and stayed there.
The wild popularity of the area—a product of interest in the local arts and shopping, plus the difficulties for black Baltimoreans to find housing in the white neighborhoods throughout the city—led to overcrowding and a slow exodus of the black middle and upper class.
The riots of 1968 sealed the neighborhoods fate, and it never recovered.Today there are several remaining monuments and new memorials to what once was, including the Arch Social Club, the Monument to the Royal Theatre, the Avenue Market, the Billie Holiday Statue (a local, along with Cab Calloway), and more.To put it in symbolic terms, Frederick Douglass was raised in East Baltimore, Thurgood Marshall in West Baltimore.African-American culture found its heart along Pennsylvania and North Avenues, earning its place as one of the East Coast's "Black Broadways," on the music and entertainment circuit between D. Neighborhood identities are strong throughout Baltimore, and West Baltimore has a profoundly large number of distinct neighborhoods.Good luck getting to know them all, but it's possible to go over a number of the most interesting ones for visitors: Union Square/Hollins Market, affectionately known as Sowebo (Southwest Baltimore), may well house the most beautiful of the many tree lined streets of West Baltimore rowhouses.Maybe this is because of the buildings and fountain around the square and the covered market itself, or even more likely it's because this is a wealthier area and the lovely architecture has seen better upkeep. Mencken, the Sage of Baltimore, whose acerbic but hilarious wit was unmatched and unstoppable in his times.