Pennsylvania Avenue

Baltimore, Maryland

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To have been here in the early to mid-20th century! Unfortunately, much of Pennsylvania Avenue’s glorious past has disappeared under urban ills. Today, the incredible cultural history that took place here is tough to spot—but not impossible. At one time, Pennsylvania Avenue was African American Baltimore’s cultural mecca, supporting half a dozen flourishing clubs and hosting the biggest names in entertainment of the day, names that resonate through the decades. The sheer number of African American luminaries to shine in clubs up and down Pennsylvania Avenue made it one of the premier arts destinations in the United States. And in a deeply segregated town, one of the wonderful by-products of so much creativity was a mixed crowd of patrons breaking the social taboos of the time in search of great entertainment. The city’s black elite congregated here, and Pennsylvania Avenue was home to many lawyers and doctors. The area also birthed and hosted many important figures of the civil rights movement. It takes a bit of squinting to see it now, but this under-heralded stretch of the Westside deserves a new look. Note: much of the information herein comes from the Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail website: pennsylvaniaavenuebaltimore.com.

Pennsylvania Avenue Professional Review and Guide

"To have been here in the early to mid-20th century! Unfortunately, much of Pennsylvania Avenue’s glorious past has disappeared under urban ills. Today, the incredible cultural history that took place here is tough to spot—but not impossible. At one time, Pennsylvania Avenue was African American Baltimore’s cultural mecca, supporting half a dozen flourishing clubs and hosting the biggest names in entertainment of the day, names that resonate through the decades. The sheer number of African American luminaries to shine in clubs up and down Pennsylvania Avenue made it one of the premier arts destinations in the United States. And in a deeply segregated town, one of the wonderful by-products of so much creativity was a mixed crowd of patrons breaking the social taboos of the time in search of great entertainment. The city’s black elite congregated here, and Pennsylvania Avenue was home to many lawyers and doctors. The area also birthed and hosted many important figures of the civil rights movement. It takes a bit of squinting to see it now, but this under-heralded stretch of the Westside deserves a new look. Note: much of the information herein comes from the Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail website: pennsylvaniaavenuebaltimore.com."

Activity Type: Walking
Nearby City: Baltimore
Distance: 1.1
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Easy
Season: Year-round

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Jun 2018