Yesterday I returned from a long weekend in Baltimore for that city’s commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Pratt Street Riot, the April 19, 1861 confrontation that cost the lives of Luther Ladd, Addison Whitney, Sumner Needham and Charles Taylor. The centerpiece of the Baltimore celebration was a parade of Civil War reenactors that traced the route followed by the soldiers from Lowell 150 years ago (more on the parade in a future post). I also attended a rededication of the President Street Station (shown above) which featured the mayor of Baltimore and other dignitaries. A handout at that event shared the following about the President Street Station:
Built in 1850, President Street Station in Baltimore, Maryland, is a former train station. It is the oldest surviving big city railroad terminal in the United States. Built by the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad (PW&B), the station was an important rail transportation link during the Civil War. Opened on February 18, 1850, the station was the Baltimore terminus for the PW&B. In addition to the brick head house, the original station also had a long barrel-vaulted train shed over the tracks. A track ran along Pratt Street to connect PW&B trains arriving from Philadelphia with Baltimore and Ohio (B&O) trains at Camden Station t Washington, D.C. The station was involved in the Baltimore riot of 1861, when Massachusetts troops bound for Washington, D.C., were marching to the B&O’s Camden Station 10 blocks west and were attacked by an angry mob of Southern sympathizers. Several people were killed during the melee. President Street Station was replaced in 1873 by Pennsylvania Station, but continued to have some passenger train usage until 1911. It was later used as a freight station and then as a warehouse. The train shed was destroyed by fire, and by 1970, only the present head house was left.
The destination of the Massachusetts troops in Baltimore on April 19 was the Camden Station (shown below) which has a familiar name today because of its neighbor, Camden Yards ballpark, the home of the Baltimore Orioles. Camden Station is now the Baltimore sports museum although it did have a Civil War exhibit this week. There is a Camden train station but it’s only a platform with automated ticket machines.