Federal Hill Park
Battery Ave. and Key Hwy., 410/396-7900
HOURS: Daily dawn–dusk
There’s no better place to get a great view of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor—and the city itself—than from the top of Federal Hill. Rising up dramatically from the waterfront along the south side of the Inner Harbor, this grassy mound was originally mined for paint pigment in Colonial times, and still has some old tunnels within it that occasionally give way, leading to saggy hillsides and sunken footpaths.
The hill has been a public park since the late 1700s, and was originally known as Signal Park, as observers could spot merchant and passenger ships on the Patapsco River as they approached the harbor. The park was renamed Federal Hill in 1789, after the news and celebration following the ratification of the U.S. Constitution (creating a “federal” government).
Today, it’s home to a park and a playground, and it’s a great place for a scenic picnic that includes fresh food from nearby Cross Street Market. At the park’s northern edge, several Civil War–era cannon are aimed right at downtown, symbolizing the weapons placed in a similar location by Union troops in 1861 to send a stern message to the Confederate-sympathizing residents of the city.
© Geoff Brown from Moon Baltimore, 1st Edition