‘A Park Bench and A Bogus Policeman’

Like today, thieves of yesteryear had some pretty creative ways of getting what they wanted. Take, for instance, the man who impersonated a park police officer for some easy cash in February 1897 Baltimore. It happened when Harry Crooks — the son of a police officer — was sitting on a park bench in Druid... Continue Reading →

No Understudies, No Show

Sometimes the show mustn’t go on, as was the case at the Lyric in January 1904 Baltimore. The production of The Ninety and Nine had been taking place there and enjoyed by large audiences. But it seems that a cold that swept through the cast halted further performances. “There are about 30 in the cast,... Continue Reading →

Bakery Robbers Take All

Three robbers added insult to injury when they robbed Isaac Silber’s bakery in 1932 Baltimore. “Isaac Silber doesn’t mind so much that three young men robbed his till last night, but he wishes they’d hand the cash register back so he could find out how much the robbery cost him,” The Baltimore Sun reported on... Continue Reading →

Cowhide Justice in Baltimore

In 1898 Baltimore, hotelkeeper J.L. Boswell had a unique way of settling a debt with a man who wouldn’t pay. Boswell caused a scene on the corner of Lexington and Calvert streets, according to The Baltimore Sun, after a conversation with a man who owed him money took a turn. “The men were seen to... Continue Reading →

Curious Crowd Follows Police Carrying Human ‘Limbs’

In January 1903, a pair of police officers in Baltimore drew a morbid crowd of followers as they carried arms and legs through the streets to the police station. Patrolman Kaufman carried two legs under his arm while Patrolman Batzer carried a tin bucket with a hand and arm sticking out of it. “Supposing that... Continue Reading →

1912 Baltimore: ‘He Drove A Wagon of Fire’

In August 1912, Frank O’Rourke was driving a Salvation Army wagon filled with old newspapers on Ostend Street in Baltimore when he heard people shouting “Fire!” He didn’t think much of it. And he didn’t pay much mind when “[s]ome one ran to the corner and turned in the alarm.” Little did he know what... Continue Reading →

A Clever Thief

In 1850 Baltimore, a clever thief figured out a way to gain entrance to a home. It happened one evening in November when “a lad, of rather respectable appearance, rang for entrance” at Mr. Courtney’s home on Saratoga Street in Baltimore and claimed that a “mischievous person had thrown his cap in the second story,... Continue Reading →

A Sewing Surprise

In 1911, Miss Edna Bachtel of Chewsville (Washington County) received quite a fright while sewing at home. "...[S]he was horrified upon glancing down to see a large snake rolled about one of the legs of the [sewing] machine," according to an article in The News. "She jumped backward screaming, and the noise startled the snake,... Continue Reading →

Labor Day, 1910

Another Labor Day is upon us, marking the unofficial end to summer. In September 1900, The Baltimore Sun ran a piece on the value of Labor Day. Obviously, times have changed, but much of the sentiment still holds true today: "We are essentially a working people -- every week day in the year, with a... Continue Reading →

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