Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Harm City The Man Cave
A Glimpse into Baltimore’s Horrible Past
Big Ron's Baltimore

With the shapely barmaid replaced for the night by a fat boy with pink hair, Ron’s reverie’s took a darker turn.

Bay View

In 2004-5, somewhere around there we were working down at Bay View in the basement. These were dungeons, looked like medieval architecture: heavy oak doors. There was a round metal eyelets coming out of the wall and they [patients] would sit on the cement ledge, shackled to the wall in straightjackets. There was a central drain. I guess they hosed the shit and piss down the drain. There were doctor’s notes by hand, which we turned over to the hospital. They were converting these dungeons into mechanical rooms.

What I was impressed with was the eloquence of the penmanship in a way I haven’t seen, like reading an old Civil War letter. People don’t speak or write like this anymore.

He was mentioning encourageble drinking and excessive sex on the part of females. Stuff we would think of as mild today. But these people were being locked up in this medieval dungeon for drinking and having sex. The form of the letters was like an old Civil War letter you might hear read a documentary, but what they were discussing was creepy. Something you would get therapy for now they locked you up and threw away the key. I don’t think they laid around. Then again, maybe all of this chemical therapy today, all of this pain management and government-supplied heroin is the modern equivalent—our creepy dungeon.

This facility was the Old Baltimore City Hospital, a municipal institution, was privatized in the 1960s it and was known as Francis Scott Key Memorial Hospital and was later, in the 1990s, renovated and renamed Bay View under the direction of Johns Hopkins Hospital. It is currently the “junky” hospital of Baltimore, served by four major bus lines connecting various courthouses and ghettos with this methadone distribution center, with the precious rehab drug sold at the foot of the hill upon which the hospital sits at the bus stop at Ponca and Eastern.

The Edgar Allen Poe House

It was maybe [19]99, working with these old, experienced plasterers, doing historically correct plaster, doing old wood lath

instead of the new metal lath. The good stuff was hand-split oak, very stable, didn’t suck all the water out of the plaster and start warping, twisting and cracking like the cheap, machined pine you have today. They used horse hair instead of the synthetic fiber.

It [The Edgar Allen House] reminds you very much of the row homes people are living in right now. Not a whole lot different. These homes haven’t changed much in the past hundred years. The row homes my grandparents grew up in in Hampden, they didn’t have plumbing. They’d have an outhouse and a night man would come along and pull the bucket of piss and shit out and put a new bucket in. That was part of the service, bringing a new bucket. They were supposed to dump it in a cesspool, but it probably went in the Jones Falls.

The guy that would do that was a night man and that must have been a heck of a job.

Thriving in Bad Places

Add Comment