My calendar reminds me today marks my parent’s wedding anniversary- they were kind and made the math easy by having a wedding in 1950.
I returned to the audio I recorded with Mom in 2009, amongst be favorite memorabilia is the sound of her voice, describing to me how Alyce and Morris met in Baltimore.
I recall them talking how they hung out much in Druid Hill Park in Baltimore and heard the pool story several times, but always thought that was a pool in the park. It’s interesting how you miss details, as she clearly describes the pool being at Carlins pool “Carlin’s Park Circle… where Park Heights [Avenue] ended… the park was on one side and they had this amusement park… and they had a public pool”.
The location is interesting as (map confirms it), Park Circle marks the place two major artery roads, Liberty Road and Reisterstown roads converged. Follow them out past the Lochearn neighborhood I was raised, they spread far apart and go way out beyond the city. This is interesting for these major roads that seemed far apart from what I knew as home, trace back to a single point where my parents first met.
I look up Carlins Pool and find a wee bit of a Wikipedia article about Carlins Park, a rather expansive amusement park built in 1918. The pool was just a small part (and the place went downhill a few years after Dad pushed Mom in the pool as a way to meet her).
Into the web I went seeking photos, and admit peeking through the login of Facebook where I spotted a video of Carlin’s park (well it was a montage of old photos)
The text on the right was lifted directly from the Wikipedia article (a giveaway is they left the Wikipedia foonotes). Of course there is no easy way to get a copy of the video as Facebook shareth in but makes it hard to share outward.
But I have the power of browser inspector– they sure bury their video in a ton of divs, I opened 16 of them to find a video link!
All to get this:
I found a link in the Wikipedia article to a home spun web page on photos from Old Baltimore Amusement parks where I find all the images in the video above (and much more). The site traces back to Kilduffs.net a site with collections of photos and postcards of old movie theaters in Baltimore, a neat little treasure trove you might never come across otherwise. Carlins Park is described there:
Located in Northwest Baltimore City, on the northwestern corner of Reisterstown Road and Druid Park Avenue ( commonly known as Park Circle ), the park operated until the 1950’s, when it was closed and later converted into Carlin’s Drive In Theatre, the only Drive In Theatre within the Baltimore City Limits. The Drive In later closed down in the 1970’s and the site is a mix of industrial and businesses today.https://www.kilduffs.com/BaltimoreAmusementParks.html
A more official source of information is from the Maryland Center for History and Culture entry for Carlin’s Park: “Baltimore’s Million Dollar Playground”
On August 13, 1919, John J. Carlin advertised the opening night of his latest business venture—an amusement park he billed as “Baltimore’s Million-Dollar Playground.” Liberty Heights Park only featured a carousel, “Dip the Dips,” and a few other rides, but major plans were underway. He promised that his park when completed would be “an amusement resort of the finest and most modern type, a park which would surpass anything hereto attempted in [Maryland]https://www.mdhistory.org/carlins-park-baltimores-million-dollar-playground/
It describes an Olympic-sized pool with sandy beaches built in 1938 (and remained until 1960, past the life of the amusement park).
Of course history articles do not include the key fact that the swimming pool a Carlins Park was where Morris met Alyce and I later ensued.
So on their 74th anniversary, if they were here, I’d egg my Mom to tell the story again, and we’d ge me Dad’s version (which I can only imagine).
Happy 74 together, in spirit, in what a neighboord hangout provided.
Featured Image: The proof photo for my parent’s wedding photo, scanned from Mom’s scrapbook superimposed on image of The Carlin’s Park pool, as seen in a old postcard from Kilduff’s page on Baltimore Amusement Parks (rights not specified).