Baltimore Orioles: Sister cities connected by the railroad

The Baltimore Orioles head to Cincinnati this evening for a three-game series. This will not only be the Orioles’ first foray into Interleague play this season, but also their first step outside the division. Given that they’ll play by National League rules, the Birds will have to surrender their DH this evening and starter Ubaldo Jimenez will have to swing the bat.

Baltimore and Cincinnati have special places in history, but not for reasons that you might think. Certainly the 1970 World Series comes to mind, when the Birds defeated the “Big Red Machine.” You could also look to the NFL where the Ravens play the Bengals twice a year, but that’s not what I mean either.

As we know, Oriole Park at Camden Yards’ crowing feature is the B & O Warehouse on Eutaw St. The Warehouse of course is the former terminal for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and it began being built in 1899. The final sections were built around 1905 or so, and it was in use until the 1960’s. Since 1992 when the ballpark opened, it’s housed the Orioles’ team offices, stadium store, etc.

This isn’t news to Orioles fans. But have any of you ever heard of Longworth Hall? You can click on the link I provided, but I would encourage you to click on images from a simple google search of the building first. Trust me, you’ll do a double-take when you see what comes up, and you’ll have to pinch yourself not to think you’re looking at Baltimore’s B & O Warehouse.

Longworth Hall is the Warehouse’s “sister building” in a sense. Whereas the Warehouse in Baltimore was the “Baltimore terminus” of the B & O Railroad, Longworth Hall was the “Ohio Terminus.” Here’s a fun fact about me, I’m somewhat OCD when it comes to uniformity. So in my mind it makes total sense and I can actually rest easy knowing that both ends of this very important railroad in American history are bookended by what in essence could be the same building.

The buildings are uncannily similar but not identical, and in fact my understanding is that Longworth Hall is actually bigger than Baltimore’s Warehouse. And whereas Baltimore’s used the Warehouse as a centerpiece for “The Ballpark that forever Changed Baseball,” Cincinnati is using Longworth Hall as part of a condo and commerce project in their downtown area.

In essence, both cities use the buildings as a tip of the cap to the past while creating a modern downtown atmosphere, albeit for different reasons. Longworth Hall was at risk for demolition as recently as 2012, however that would apparently only happen if the owners of the building (the family of Nicholas Longworth, the original owner) decide to sell it.

So in this sense, Baltimore and Cincinnati are forever linked together in history. Most people know of the B & O Warehouse, mainly because of Camden Yards. However Longworth Hall served the exact same purpose, on the other side of the same original railroad that we know. And again, I encourage you to google Longworth Hall and pull up images on the google search – you’ll have to tell yourself time and time again that you aren’t looking at the Warehouse in Baltimore.

The series in Cincinnati begins tonight at the Great American Ballpark. The aforementioned Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Bronson Arroyo. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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