Light rail lines along North Howard Street at West Lexington Street
|Owner||City of Baltimore|
|Postal code||21201, 21218, 21230|
|North end||Artmuseum Drive and 29th Street|
|South end||Cal Ripken Way (I-395) and Conway Street|
Howard Street is a major north-south street through the central part of the city of Baltimore, Maryland. About 2½ miles long, the street begins at the north end of I-395 near Oriole Park at Camden Yards and ends near Johns Hopkins University, where it splits. To the right, it becomes Artmuseum Drive, the one-block home of the Baltimore Museum of Art. To the left, it becomes San Martin Drive, which winds road along the western perimeter of the Johns Hopkins University campus and ends at University Parkway. Howard Street is named in honor of former Maryland governor John Eager Howard. Two other streets in Baltimore, John and Eager Streets, are also named after him.
At one time, Howard Street was a two-way street throughout its entire route. In 1989, when construction began on the Central Light Rail line, Howard Street was made one-way in a northbound direction between Pratt Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard; as such, southbound traffic now uses Eutaw Street, one block to the west. The Light Rail operates along Howard Street within this area, which is most of Downtown Baltimore, and alongside Howard Street for much of the remainder of the street's route within the downtown area.
Notable landmarks on or near Howard Street include:
In the downtown area, a tunnel owned by CSX Transportation runs below Howard Street. This tunnel was first proposed in the 1880s and built in the 1890s as part of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.
Antique Row is a cluster of antique shops along the 800 block of North Howard Street in downtown. It dates back to the late 19th century as a cabinetmaking center. In the 1950s Antique Row was at its height, when there was over 50 shops open due to the busy nature of Howard Street. In the 1960s, the expansion of Maryland General Hospital eliminated shops that were on the west side of the street. Antique Row took to a further decline when the department stores along Howard Street closed. The last one to close was the Hutzler's in 1989. The construction of the Baltimore Light Rail that same year also slowed down business for the shops for three consecutive years. Afterwards the light rail aided in Antique Row gaining back its momentum because people were now able to travel and not worry about parking. However, it never returned to the same amount of success it had previously
Antique Row also had to battle the increased interest in other downtown attractions such as Fells Point and the Inner Harbor. Consequently, the lack of activity on Howard Street has made a gateway for crime to increase and people visit less. Among the many other dealers on the block, Jimmy Judd and his son downsized and moved to a stall. The decline in customers are causing shop owners and dealers to leave their original place of business behind just to see some sort of financial gain.
Antique Row is known for more than its vast collection of antiques but what it adds to the community. Antique Row is an advocate for the appreciation of the Arts. As a result, Antique Row has become the home for other honorable art attractions. For, instance the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center was at 847 N. Howard Street in 2000. The inclusion of other art based institutions are hopefully going to aid in the return of customers and Antique Rows history.
One of Howard Street's unique features is the twin steel arch-style bridge that crosses over the Jones Falls Expressway, the CSX and Northern Central Railway (and currently the light rail), and Falls Road. Built in 1938 by the J. E. Greiner Company to replace an earlier 19th century iron arch bridge, the 979-foot-long (298 m) bridge begins shortly after the Mt. Royal Avenue underpass, and continues to the intersection at North Avenue.
At times, there has been debate over what colors to paint the bridge. Request has been made from citizens to get involved in making the decision. Polling has been used as a method to determine the color the bridge should be painted.
On November 17, 2011, Occupy Baltimore protesters marched on the Howard Street Bridge. The bridge was chosen by the protesters because they said it was a symbol of the city's decaying infrastructure and the need to get Americans back to work.
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During the 1980s, a series of decorative arches were installed along the downtown part of Howard Street in order to add a unique style to the area and its shops. However, when light rail construction began, most of these arches had to be removed because trains would not have been able to pass underneath.
On July 18, 2001, a freight train in the tunnel below Howard Street derailed, causing a chemical fire that raged for six days and did damage to Howard Street and the light rail that took a few months to repair.