The “Baltimore Pennsylvania Railroad Station” (as it was officially known at its opening in 1911) celebrated 100 years of heritage and style on Wednesday, September 14th. It was a pleasure to see this magnificent building be the object of so much attention for its enduring grandeur and beauty.
Before it was dedicated in 1911, Baltimore’s central train station had been considered a “poor cousin” of its neighbors in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. The opening of what is now known as Penn Station changed all that, and put it in a league (well, almost) with New York City's Pennsylvania Station, which had opened just one year before.
We scanned a copy (see below) of the official printed program to share a first look at the way things were in the Penn Station area way back when. Note how the station was built on the banks of the Jones Falls River and you might find yourself wishing that tributary didn’t have to be paved over to accommodate cars in later years. Take a look at the beautiful gardens that stretched from the station to Guilford Avenue and you might find yourself wondering what it would have taken to have left those gardens undisturbed for future generations.
Odd as it may sound, those of us in the public transportation industry like to think of ourselves as environmentalists, in our own way. While cars are great for getting to places we don’t go to, they’re exponentially more expensive both personally and in their cost to our environment.