BALTIMORE IMMIGRATION MUSEUM
On March 24th, the Baltimore Immigration (BIM) and the B&O Railroad Museums celebrated the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first North German Lloyd steamship (March 23, 1868), bringing immigrants from Bremerhaven/Germany to Baltimore's Locust Point. This marked the beginning of the "Great Wave of Immigration", between 1868 and 1914, bringing over 1.2 million immigrants to Baltimore. The event took place at both the B&O Museum and at the Baltimore Immigration Museum. See the flyer/invitation. It was a fun success!
Note, we are open from 1-4 PM on Saturdays and Sundays. The museum is free, but donations are welcome to help with upkeep and maintenance, as well as with future exhibits and educational programs.
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After years of searching for a location for our exhibits, the Baltimore Immigration Memorial, Inc. organization partnered with the Locust Point Community Church UCC, to establish a museum in the church-owned Immigration House at 1308 Beason Street. This building was built in 1904 for newly arrived European immigrants who needed temporary housing before moving on to their final destinations or finding work and permanent housing in Baltimore.
Click here for 'Buy a Brick, Commemorate the Past, and Plan for the Future', a fundraising campaign launched at the Block Party/Brew Fest held on July 15, 2017. All proceeds will continue to go to both the preservation of the Locust Point Community Church and the renovation of the Baltimore Immigration Museum building next door.
At our museum you will learn about Baltimore’s immigration history in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the importance of Baltimore as a major port of entry for immigrants to the United States, and about the various ethnic groups which started their American journey here.
In short distance, at the end of Hull Street at water’s edge, you will find the site of the Baltimore Immigration Memorial / Liberty Garden, planned and established in 2006 by our organization, consisting of a large landscaped open space dotted with stone sculptures, and two interpretive historic markers – located very close to the original immigrant piers that are no longer there.
We are looking forward to your visit!
TIMELINE FOR SIGNIFICANT DATES IN BALTIMORE’S IMMIGRATION HISTORY
1706 – The Maryland colonial legislature designated Locust Point as an official port of entry.
1821 – The US Customs Department began to record the number of international arrivals in Baltimore, largely immigrants.
1867 – On January 16, the B&O Railroad and the North German Lloyd Company signed an agreement; the B&O would build an immigration pier and connect it to its rail network, and the North German Lloyd (based in Bremen, Germany) would send at least one immigrant ship per month.
1868 – On March 24, the B&O’s Locust Point immigration pier opened with much public fanfare to mark the arrival of the North German Lloyd steamship “Baltimore.” In celebration, a parade made its way down Broadway in fells Point.
1882 – Congress authorized the Treasury Department to regulate immigration and exclude immigrants who were “convicts, lunatics, idiots, and persons likely to become a public charge.” Later, anarchists and polygamists were added to the list of undesirables.
1887 – The B&O built an immigration station on the immigration pier, which was leased to the federal government to inspect and clear immigrants for entry.
1890 – Before 1890, Germans, followed by the Irish, were the largest immigrant group landing in Baltimore. After 1890, the majority of immigrants came from Eastern Europe.
1904 – The German Evangelical United Church of Christ on Beason Street in Locust Point built the Immigrant House for immigrants and sailors, which served 3710 individuals during 1904-15.
1914 – In July, World War I broke out, the last immigrant ship arrived at Locust Point, ending Baltimore’s role as a port of entry. After the war, most immigrants went through New York.
1917 – The federal government constructed an immigration station next to Fort McHenry to replace the privately operated immigration piers. Since immigration to Baltimore ended, the station never welcomed a single immigrant. Today the complex serves as a Naval Reserve Training Center.
1917 – The B&O historic immigration pier was destroyed in a fire.
1924 – Congress passed the National Origins Quota Act. European immigration was limited to 150,000 per year; each country was assigned a quota, based on the ethnic composition of the US population in 1920. This greatly reduced immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments. Note, we are always looking for volunteers to help us run the museum!
Research your immigrant ancestors with the free genealogical database at FamilySearch.org/Baltimore
Consider making a tax-deductible contribution - via PayPal or by regular mail.
BIM Treasurer - 7324 Kindler Rd, Columbia MD 21046