Tucked away in a little grassy strip near a busy highway is what appears to be a queen on her throne. Although the territory she reigns over is small (and mainly used by pet owners from the surrounding neighborhood to relieve their dogs), her stately demeanor is unwavering.

I first stumbled upon the statue on a hot, late summer walk around Reservoir Hill. Immediately, I was confused. Surely, this fine piece of sculpture did not mean to end up in such an inconsequential spot! After moving back some overgrown grass, I noticed a dark plaque on the base. It read: ”St. Paul Street Bridge; J. H. Tegmeyer; City Commissioner; C. H. Latrobe; Engineer; 1880.” While I might be the best with names and directions, I was 99% sure I had never heard of the St. Paul Street Bridge.

Photograph from the 1930s showing the terraced garden on Mt. Royal Avenue in the foreground, and the St. Paul Street Bridge along the horizon. The railroad tracks that go under the bridge lead to a train station that can be seen to the right of the bridge. (photograph: James W. Foster / Enoch Pratt Free Library: State Library Resource Center)

After doing some research, it turns out that there had been a lovely bridge on St. Paul Street overlooking the Jones Falls Valley waterway until the 1960s. This sculpture, called Lady Baltimore, was carved by Herman D. A. Henning as part of the decoration for the bridge. The statue, along with three other identical ones, once adorned the bridge’s entrance and exit. 

However, in the mid-twentieth century, the bridge was demolished to create a modern expressway for cars (known as the JFX today). Some of the statues remained in the city, while one was gifted to the town of Baltimore, Ireland. In 1979, this lady quietly appeared as the centerpiece in a tiny park flanking the very expressway that caused its removal.

Undated photograph of the Reservoir Hill statue in its present day location. (photograph: Henry A. Naylor Jr. and Caroline Naylor / Enoch Pratt Free Library: State Library Resource Center)

The description accompanying the photograph above writes:

This is one of four statues said to represent Lady Bal­timore which guarded the entrance to the St. Paul St. bridge until 1960, when the bridge was rebuilt and the statues stored. In 1974, one of the four was sent as a gift of the city to Baltimore, Ireland, and the remaining three were set up at Cylburn. A neighborhood group per­suaded Cylburn to part with one and themselves did the work of installation. The other two remain at Cylburn.

Below are some renders of my favorite details from the statue:

Lady Baltimore, Herman A. Henning. Granite and Limestone, 1880. Mt. Royal Terrace, Baltimore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s