Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories | WYPR

Gil Sandler's Baltimore Stories

Friday 7:46 am and 9:38 am

Gilbert Sandler is one of Baltimore's most-read and well-known local historians. For more than thirty years, through his articles in the Baltimore Sun, the Baltimore Jewish Times, National Public Radio and his books and lectures, he has shown Baltimoreans, through anecdote and memory, who they are, where they have been and, perhaps, where they are going. He was educated in Baltimore's public schools and graduated from Baltimore City College; in World War II, he served in the United States Navy as a ship-board navigator in the Pacific. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has a master's from Johns Hopkins.

Archive prior to December 2014.

Cat Rodeo

Aug 3, 2017
M&R Glasgow/flickr

On the evening of July 12, 1929, a small crowd was gathered at the entrance where Howard and Biddle streets and Linden Avenue meet. They stood staring at unexpected “Closed” signs on the door to the Market.— “due to a problem with mice.” And so began the Great Baltimore Cat Round Up. The scheme, to turn cats loose to do what cats do to mice, turned out to be an embarrassing failure. The Market management blamed the cats.

Dolly Flap

Jul 28, 2017

On the evening of January 6, 1967, the scene outside the Mechanic Theater at Baltimore and Charles streets was a busy one! It was opening night and the show was no less than the smash Broadway hit, "Hello, Dolly." Hollywood starlet Betty Grable was slated to play the part, although in the world of show biz, Carroll Channing owned the part. Behind the scenes, war broke out! So who played Dolly opening night of the Mechanic? Here's the story. 

Schaefer Reenactment

Jul 21, 2017
daveynin/flickr

In 2001 on the 20th anniversary of the Grand Opening of the National Aquarium and of Mayor Schaefer's promise at the time: "If that aquarium isn't finished by August 8, I will personally jump into the seal pool." The aquarium did not open on time and the mayor did jump in the seal pool, but the 20th anniversary of the event ran into unexpected problem. 

Jimmy Wu's Fortune

Jul 14, 2017

James Fong Wu came to Baltimore from Canton, China, as a boy. Out of high school he found wok in a Chinese restaurant and soon became a partner, and then, owner. The name of the restaurant was the New China Inn but because of Jimmy Wu's personal popularity it became "Jimmy Wu's." At his retirement dinner well-wishers recognized his many accomplishments--including one that surprised them. 

Gil tells us why you don't hear "Baltimore, Our Baltimore" ring out at Orioles games, or anywhere, really. 

Symphony Farewell

Jun 30, 2017
Shiva Shenoy

The Lyric Theater on the night of May 27, 1982 was historic. The Baltimore Symphony patrons were there to say goodbye—the Symphony’s concert this night was scheduled to be its last in the Lyric. Succeeding concerts would be at the newly opened Meyerhoff. But the goodbye proved to be far more poignant than any had expected…

On the Saturday night of July 7, 1937, crowds are making their way along the Light Street below Pratt to Pier 5, there to board the moonlight excursion boat, the Bay Belle. The boat would go down as far as Fort McHenry and then turn around and come back to Pier 5, an hour or so later.

But on its way past the Hull street wharf in Locust Point the boat would pass a gang of six or seven-year-old boys frolicking on the pier, watching the Bay Belle slip by. They had their own way of greeting the passengers on the boat, and this is the story of that special way.

This episode aired in July 2015. 

It’s easy and comfortable ride for Baltimoreans to get from Highlandtown on the east side of the harbor to Locust Point on the west. But up through the late 1940s ferry boats carried hundreds daily, from one side of the harbor to the other. And during WWII shipyard workers aboard created the first, last, and oldest establishment floating crap game in Baltimore. 

William Warby/flickr

Out on Dulaney Valley Road at Dance Mill Road, a yellow school bus turns into a narrow road. In minutes, the school children-- as thousands did before and after —disembark. They have come this day in 1955 to Cloverland Farms—to see cows milked! But in 1981 the milking barn closed---leaving subsequent generations of children believing, this story goes, that maybe chocolate milk comes from brown cows.

Clockwork

Jun 2, 2017
bromoseltzertower.com

On July 7, 2007, Baltimoreans whose habit it was to look up nine stories to the top of the Bromo Seltzer tower to check the time on one of its four clocks --  facing east,  west, north, south—were bewildered. The clocks were out of sync, one with the other, and showing different times. The story--when Baltimoreans didn’t know the time of day!

Pages