Hampden Heritage

Archaeology, History, and Heritage in Central Baltimore

Saturday, February 23, 2008

An interesting random tidbit

Hi folks,

It's been a long time since I've posted anything, so I figured I'd better get back on track. In the next few weeks I will begin to follow Dave's lead by posting portions of my dissertation proposal, followed after that by portions of the first draft of my actual dissertation. In the meantime, however, I thought I'd share an interesting piece of information related to our field site from last season that I came across completely by accident while doing some background reading.

Recall that our site from last year (3833-3839 Falls Rd.) was once part of the large property holdings of developer Martin Kelly, who, upon his death, passed it to his sons Edward and Dennis. At some point thereafter, one or two of the individual lots were sold to Mr. Albert G. Eichelberger, a dry goods merchant, who lived there from the late 1870s into the early 1900s. We know a little bit about Eichelberger from a newspaper article we found describing a boycott of his store by local labor activists who were upset that Eichelberger refused to sell only union-made cigars. So, Eichelberger was clearly no friend of the working class.

Well, while perusing a history of Baltimore published way back in 1912, I came across a single line reference to a Mr. A.G. Eichelberger of Baltimore. In 1896, alcohol prohibition was becoming a huge national issue, and a political party was formed for the purpose of running a candidate for President on a prohibition platform. This party, however, was split between two factions: one that believed in the gold standard for the monetary system, and one that believed in the silver standard for the monetary system. Generally speaking, both of these issues--prohibition and the gold-standard vs. silver-standard debate--broke down along class lines, with the middle class supporting prohibition and the gold standard while the working class supported the opposite. To get back to Mr. Eichelberger, he is named in this history of Baltimore as being Maryland's representative to the national committee for the pro-gold standard faction of the National Prohibition Party--like his refusal to sell only union-made cigars, two public stances in one that were sure to arouse the ire of Hampden's workers.

Here are some references for more information:

Hall, Clayton Colman. 1912. Baltimore: Its History and Its People. 3 vols. Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York and Chicago. (The reference to Eichelberger is in volume 1, pg. 301.)

For more information about the politics of 1896, including both the National Prohibition party and the gold-standard vs. silver-standard debate, see http://projects.vassar.edu/1896/1896home.html.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello David and Rob. Sorry to post here, but I could not figure out how to email you directly. I need some help with the history of a building in Hampden and was hoping that you could help me. Please email me contact info at shaffin@mac.com
Thank You

12:38 PM  

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