Baltimore: A City of Firsts

Crab sculpture BaltimoreBaltimore: A City of Firsts

1743 – First professional sports organization in the United States – Maryland Jockey Club

1773 – First US stage coach route – Baltimore to Philadelphia

1774 – First Post Office System in the United States

1778 – First independent corps in the Revolutionary War Army- organized by Count Casimir Pulaski

1783 – First dredger in the world – the Baltimore Mud Machine, was invented by Andrew and John Ellicot.

1784 – First balloon ascension in the US with a person on board – Edward Warren

1784 – First Methodist church in America- Lovely Lane Meeting House

1785 – First general meeting of the Quakers

1785 – First church of the United Brethren

1789 – First Catholic diocese in the U.S.

1791 – First Roman Catholic seminary in the U.S. St. Mary’s Seminary

1792 – The first monument to Columbus in the United States

1792 – First water company chartered in the United States – Baltimore Water Company.

1796 – First Sunday newspaper in America- Monitor

1796 – First sugar refinery in the U.S. – founded by Garts and Leypoldt

1797 – First US war ship to capture an enemy vessel – Constellation

1798 – First fort built by U.S. Government – Fort McHenry

1799 – First Swedenborgain church-erected at Exeter and Baltimore Street

1800 – Fist investment banking house in America- founded by Alexander Brown

1803 – First electric refrigerator- invented by Thomas Moore

1804 – First stationary store- Lucas Brothers

1811 – First U.S. company to import and consumer package teas – Martin Gillet and Company

1814 – Birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner – written by Francis Scott Key at Fort McHenry

1815 – First manufacturers of silverware in the United States – Samuel Kirk Company

1815 – The first permanent monument to George Washington was built.

1816 – First city to illuminate streets with hydrogen gas



First independent Unitarian church- formed at 21 Hanover Street, home of Henry Payson

1817 – First annual conference of the African Methodist Episcopal church

1819 – First Odd Fellows lodge in the U.S.- organized by Thomas Wildey and others

1819 – First gaslight company in the country- Gas Light Company of Baltimore

1820 – First canning of oysters- by Thomas Kennett

1828 – First American umbrella factory – William Beehler

1828 – First railroad for commercial transportation of passengers and freight B & O railroad

1829 – First black Catholic religious order of nuns- Oblate Sisters of Providence

1830 – First coal burning steam locomotive built – Tom Thumb

1830 – First operating railroad depot in the US – Mt. Clare Station

1831 – First national nominating convention for President of the United States

1836 – First regular steam vessel to cross the Atlantic from the U.S – “City of Kingston”

1836 – First car ferry used in the U.S. was built in Baltimore for the Susquehanna River

1839 – First commercial canning of corn

1840 – First dental college in the world- Baltimore College of Dental Surgery

1840 – First steam boating company in the U.S. – Baltimore steam packet Co.

1844 – First public supported high schools for girls – Eastern High School and Western High School

1844 – World’s first telegraph line established between Baltimore and Washington – Samuel Morse

1848 – First ice cream freezer – patented by W. G. Young

1849 – First teachers college for women – Baltimore Female College (Goucher College)

1853 – First Radial heater for the home – at Mansion Alexandrffsky

1854 – First Jewish Community Center I the U.S. – (YMHA) Young Men’s Hebrew Association

1856 – First Elevator to be operated by electrical power – invented by James Bates

1859 – First YMCA – Pratt and Schroeder Streets

1859 – First American horse drawn street car line was done so in Fell’s Point

1869 – First black labor union – Colored Businessmen’s Association, organized by Isacc Meyers

1869 – First candy factory to produce licorice – J.S. Young Company

1875 – The first monument to Edgar Allan Poe

1878 – First animal welfare association – American Humane Society

1879 – First synthetic sweetening agent – Saccharine, developed at Johns Hopkins University

1883 – First public financed vocational school in the U.S. – Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

1884 – First typesetting machine in the world – invented by Ottmar Mergenthaler

1885 – First commercial electric street car line – Baltimore to Hampden

1886 – First public Library System with branches – Enoch Pratt Free Library

1890 – First steam tanker built in America The Maverick by W.T.Malster

1891 – First commercial stomach antacid seltzer – Bromo-Seltzer, made by Captain Isaac E. Emerson

1892 – First bottle caps with crown cork in the U.S.- Crown Cork and Seal

1892 – First Ouija board – invented and patented by Isaac and William Fuld

1895 – First Catholic college for women – Notre Dame College

1895 – First electronic railway locomotive in the world – put in service by the B&O

1896 – First Multi-store shopping center building in the country – Roland Park Marketplace

1897 – First country day school in the U.S. – Gilman School

1897 – First practical submarine in the US – “Argonaut,” invented by Simon Lake

1900 – First time duck bowling introduced – at Diamond Bowling Alleys

1901 – First woman professor at a U.S. medical School – Dr. Florence Rena Sabin

1906 – First city magazine- Baltimore Magazine

1911 – First international women’s volunteer organization – Hadassah, founded by Henrietta Szold

1916 – First portable electric drill with pistol grip – Black & Decker

1916 – First municipal orchestra supported by public funds – Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

1917 – First gas station with pumps enabling a driver to see the amount of gasoline being pumped

1920 – First factory to manufacture stainless steel – Rustless Iron & Steel Company

1921 – First National Guard Air Squadron started – Logan Field

1921 – First black musical on Broadway – written by Baltimorean Eubie Blake, Shuffle Along

1922 – First nationwide presidential radio broadcast – by President Warren G. Harding

1925 – First triple combination fireboat in service – operated by Baltimore City Fire Dept

1932 – First producer of venetian blinds in the United States – Eastern Venetian Blind Company

1936 – First black newspaper chain- Afro-American Newspaper

1946 – First photograph of earth from space – produced at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

1948 – First Stratovision television telecast

1959 – First Mobile microwave television tower

1964 – First Permanent Building in the U.S to have a revolving restaurant – Holiday Inn, Downtown

1966 – First baseball player to be named MVP in both leagues – Frank Robinson

1967 – First African-American to serve on the US supreme Court – Baltimorean Thurgood Marshall

1975 – First native born U.S. Citizen to be canonized as a saint – Elizabeth Seton (born 1809)

1983 – First African American wax museum – The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

1995 – First American city to win championship in the Canadian Football League – Baltimore Stallions



Source: Visit Baltimore

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