Tag Archive | maryland history

Bromo-Seltzer Tower: Then & Now

Baltimore and the surrounding area sure has changed a lot in its centuries-long history. But many traditions and landmarks from decades ago are still around today, give or take a few variations. In this “Then & Now” feature, I have combined one of Lewis Reed’s original photograph’s for “then” and matched it with a corresponding contemporary shot for “now”. In the following photographs, you can see the difference 100 years can make.

So… you’re the inventor of a popular headache remedy living in the city of Baltimore around 1910. You have a factory on Lombard Street, a few blocks from the harbor. You want to create something memorable for the city. Of course, you also want to promote that headache remedy…

What do you do?

If you are Captain Isaac Emerson, inventor of Bromo-Seltzer, you hire a well-known architect and build a massive clock tower next to your factory.

Bromo-Seltzer Tower (THEN): When it was built in 1911, the 15-story Emerson Tower—better known locally as the Bromo-Seltzer Tower—was the tallest building in Baltimore. The tower was inspired by the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy, and took its name from Captain Isaac Edward Emerson, the inventor of Bromo-Seltzer, a popular cure for headaches and indigestion. Until 1936, the tower was topped by a 51-foot illuminated Bromo-Seltzer bottle that was supposedly visible from twenty miles away.

Bromo-Seltzer Tower 1914

Bromo-Seltzer Tower, Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by Lewis Reed, 1914

Bromo-Seltzer Tower (NOW): The Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower has been transformed into studio spaces for visual and literary artists. Inside the Tower is the Emerson/Maryland Glass Museum which houses the largest collection of Bromo Seltzer and Maryland Glass bottles in existence. The Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Tower was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Bromo Seltzer Tower

Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower today


New Blog Feature: Then & Now

Then & Now

Looking back at photography from the past is a fascinating experience for me, and with a newfound interest in history, it occurred to me that with the vast number of historical photographs in Lewis Reed’s Collection, that this blog would be a great place to feature a series of Then & Now photography. I started doing this about a year ago as a research tool, now I mostly do it because of my passion for history and fascination with the subject. With that in mind, I will occasionally be spotlighting some “Then & Now” images from his collection that will show photographs of buildings, street scenes, and other historical locales alongside photographs of how they appear today.

Some of the historic locations in this series includes the Smithsonian, Capitol, Union Station, Old Post Office, Library of Congress, Raleigh Hotel, Key Bridge and other important sites in and around the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. area. There are also photographs of many non-Maryland locations including the historic landmark “Lucy the Elephant”, Gettysburg Battlefield, Mount Vernon, Pennsylvania Monument and United States Regulars Monuments under construction, and Quebec Bridge (the 8th Wonder of the World).

I have no formal history training, just a general interest in local history where I grew up. I will post one of Lewis Reed’s photographs matched with a corresponding contemporary shot of the same area, and supply a few sentences of context. All of them will in some way will offer a visual history of how things have changed over the years. I look forward to sharing them with you.

Huckleberry Finn?

Huckleberry Finn

An adult Huckleberry Finn look-alike poses at Pope’s Creek, Maryland on the Potomac River. Photo by Lewis Reed, ca. early 1900s.

Pope’s Creek is located on the shore of a north-south section of the Potomac River north of and in sight of the Harry Nice Memorial Bridge. Lewis Reed was an avid fisherman and frequently fished and camped at Pope’s Creek with friends and family.

Near here, John Wilkes Booth was rowed across the river, a week after he assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

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