Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Traveling Tuesday: Baltimore in the 1970s

Traveling Tuesday: Baltimore in the 1970s

Pixabay/David Mark
The history of Baltimore begins nearly three hundred years ago, its residents living through economic booms and busts, social and political upheaval, fire, and war. My upcoming contemporary novella, Dial S for Second Chances, takes place in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. The premise is that two high school sweethearts reconnect on their 45th reunion planning committee.

Despite being born there, I was only there until just before starting kindergarten when the first of many moves occurred because of my father’s job. As a result, I had to do quite a bit of research into Charm City’s history, specifically in the 1970s to get a feel for what my characters experienced while in high school.

Throughout its history, Baltimore has reinvented itself on numerous occasions. Having congratulated
Courtesy: MD Military
Historical Society
themselves on a successful and mostly peaceful integration of the school system, unrest rumbled beneath the surface to erupt in the April 1968 riots. More than 10,000 national guard troops came to the city between April 6 and 14 until the situation was finally brought under control. Interestingly, Governor Spiro Agnew’s handling of the event brought him to the attention of Richard Nixon who asked Agnew to be his presidential running mate.

Studies indicate that many white residents left the city and businesses began to move their operations to the suburbs. This served as a wake-up call to Maryland officials who created committees to study the problem and suggest solutions. Urban renewal quickly moved to the forefront of activities.

In 1969, Fells Point became a National Register historic district, and Federal Hill followed in 1970. Interstate-95 was rerouted south of Locust Point and plans began for a bridge connecting Local Point to Lazaretto Point. Ultimately, the bridge concept was replaced with the Fort McHenry Tunnel in order to preserve Fort McHenry. In 1975, the Inner Harbor Renewal Plan saw houses in the Otterbein neighborhood sold to “homesteaders” for one dollar. These homesteaders were required to restore the houses and live in them for at least five years. Homesteading and historic preservation spread to other neighborhoods.

Courtesy: MD
State Archives
At the harbor itself, many of the buildings were demolished and new infrastructures of piers, bulkheads, roads, utilities, and parks were created. A new brick pedestrian promenade was constructed around the harbor’s edge. The city’s largest insurance company, United States Fidelity and Guarantee Company, consolidated its downtown offices and constructed a new 40-story headquarters that was completed in 1973. That same year, the State of Maryland built its World Trade Center, a pentagonal concrete-and-glass building designed by I.M. Pei.

Mayor (and later Governor of MD) Donald Schaefer actively sought film and television production, part of a larger strategy to add arts and culture that would attract tourists, corporate dollars, and “upwardly mobile” residents. He even managed to create an award known as The Don that celebrated filmmaking in Baltimore, and a gala was held in 1978 that included such luminaries as Alan Alda, Al Pacino, John Waters, and Barry Levinson.


Dial S for Second Chances

Can years of hurt and misunderstanding be transformed into a second chance at love?

Jade Williams agrees to be on the high school reunion committee because the-one-that-got-away is out of the country and won’t be home in time to attend the festivities. Now, he’s not only home, but joined the committee. Is it too late to back out or can she set aside forty-five years of regret and pretend she isn’t to blame for her broken heart?

One of the downsides of being rich means fielding requests for money and favors. But when an old high school buddy contacts Derek Milligan to be on the reunion committee as just one of the gang, no strings attached, he can’t resist. At the first meeting, he’s dismayed to find himself sitting next to his former high school sweetheart. He should be angry. Instead, he’s attracted. Can he risk his heart a second time?

Reunion festivities include calling into to WDES’s program No Errin’ for Love with fake relationship problems. When both use their real situation, the stakes are raised higher than either imagined.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/417Z9jf

No comments:

Post a Comment