This article is sponsored by Maryland Injury Guys, the sexual assault injury attorneys in Hampden. Learn about the history of Hampden and check out all of its festivities.
Hampden is a neighborhood in northern Baltimore, Maryland and is known today as one of the quirkiest parts of the city. It was established in 1802 when a residential community was built for workers at the flour and cotton mills that sprung up along the Jones Falls Stream Valley. In 1889, the area of Hampden was annexed to Baltimore City. Due to the increase in jobs provided by the mills, an influx of Appalachian migrants from Kentucky, West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania settled into Hampden, making it a primarily white and working-class neighborhood for the following decades.
During the 1800s, the economic power of Hampden grew. At the beginning of the 1900s, the workers in Hampden-Woodberry made up one of the largest workforces in the country. The mills were working at full capacity during World War I and World War II in order to fuel the war effort. However, demand for products slowed down afterward. By the 1960s and 1970s, many of the mills had been closed down or relocated. The 1970s and 1980s saw an increase in crime and drug usage and changes in the dynamic of social life in the neighborhood. The redevelopment didn't start until the early 1990s, when artists and business owners rediscovered Hampden.
New residents flocked to the area as art studios, office spaces, trendy boutiques, restaurants, upscale wine bars, and many more specialty shops began to be established. The Baltimore Light Rail and multiple bus lines have made the neighborhood easily accessible for residents and visitors.
Located along 36th St., The Avenue is the main drag of Hampden. It provides residents and guests with a wide variety of locally-owned shops, restaurants and street art. The Pink Flamingo at Cafe Hon has become synonymous with the area and the unofficial mascot of Hampden. Some of these include:
Before the late 1980s, The Avenue was also home to the Ideal and Hampden Theaters. Residents would bring their families and friends here to watch the latest movies that were airing.
Previously known as "May Fair," the HONfest is hosted in Jun to celebrate the working women who helped make Baltimore's great city. The festival was initially created behind Cafe Hon as a pageant for Baltimore's Best Hon. Now, it is a nationally recognized festival that takes up four blocks of 36th St. HONfest features food, drinks, music, parades, women dressed up in "Hon" regalia with the 1960s' enormous beehive hairdos, and contest for the best "Bawlmerese" accent. Notable, if people visit the area, "Bawlmerese" is a variation of the unique traditional accent of Baltimore. "Hon," which is short for honey, is a historic Bawlmer term of endearment.
Near the southern end of Hampden is 34th St. Every year during the Christmas holidays, families on both sides of the street would decorate their houses with thousands of lights and Christmas decors. The tradition was started by Bob Hosier and Darlene Hughes, local couples of the neighborhood. Visitors from all over the nation come to Hampden to see the decorations. Two of the famous ones are the bicycle wheel snowman and the hubcap Christmas tree.
Other streets, like Roland Ave., in Hampden, have also begun to put up Christmas lights for the holidays. Known as "The Halloween House," this house on Roland Ave. has a "Nightmare Before Christmas" display with lights synchronized to the film's music. Decorations on the house stay up year-round.
This "Toilet Race Competition" is a festival held annually on The Avenue. The Hampdenfest was created in 2002 and included the race of decorated toilets on wheels down 36th St., the "Rocket to Venus" Atomic Wings Challenge, and the Dangerously Delicious Pie-Eating Contest. The festival also features outdoor stages with live punk and indie rock performances.
Learn more about the outdoor parks in Federal Hill.
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