BALTIMORE IMMIGRATION MUSEUM
NEWSLETTER
ISSUE 3, DECEMBER 2017
 


Dear Friends of the Baltimore Immigration Museum,

As this year comes to a close, the board of the Baltimore Immigration Museum is happy to report that we attracted close to a thousand visitors and were host to several organizations over the past twelve months, receiving nothing but positive feedback and continuous interest in our work, for which we are very happy and grateful! Our new panel additions about the Asian and Hispanic immigration history and the history of African-American migration to Baltimore were well received and contribute to the ongoing discussion about the importance and relevance of this topic today.

Thank you for your past support and interest in our mission to promote and commemorate the significant history of mass immigration during the 19th and early 20th century, and to pay tribute to those 1.5 million people who came to Baltimore, searching for a better life for themselves and their families. Visitors from other states were happy to be near the location where their ancestors first set foot on American soil - trying to imagine how they must have felt arriving here, in a new country far away from their homeland they left behind.

Coming March 23, 2018 we are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the "BALTIMORE", the first immigrant steam ship coming from Bremerhaven (the port of Bremen), landing in Baltimore/Locust Point on March 23, 1868 and bringing 350 German immigrants.

This was possible due to the historic partnership and agreement between the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), represented by John Work Garrett, and the North German Lloyd (NGL) companies, represented by Albert Schumacher, which opened direct steamship service between Baltimore and the north German port of Bremen, making our city one of the country's leading ports of entry during the period of mass immigration from 1868 to 1914, also called "The Great Wave of Immigration". Since its purchase of four 200-foot-long wooden screw ships in 1865, the B&O had been seeking new ways to capitalize on the potentially prosperous trans-Atlantic immigrant trade - its Baltimore & Liverpool Steamship Company was a first experiment that had not been successful and was sold after a few years.

John Work Garrett and the B&O saw in Albert Schumacher and the NGL (established in 1857) a capable and experienced partner. In addition to its direct steamship service, the NGL and B&O immediately began offering combined tickets, allowing immigrants direct passage from ship to train ("sail to rail"). This endeavor was supported by the establishment of ticket agent offices throughout Europe, promising the prospective immigrant farmland and work in America.

At a meeting in Bremen in January 1867, the B&O and the NGL reached an agreement which included the following terms:

1. The NGL agreed to build two 2500-ton iron hull steamships
2. The NGL agreed to make monthly voyages
3. The B&O agreed to build piers with covered sheds and adjoining coal yards
4. The B&O agreed to furnish "fresh Cumberland coal" for return shipment at $ 0.50 less per ton than market rate
5. The B&O agreed to allow [immigrant] passengers to travel over B&O lines at the lowest rate charged to other parties
6. Both firms agreed to equally divide the net profits
7. Seven thousand stock shares would be equally divided between the firms

Through 1867 and 1868, the B&O constructed two massive piers, each 650 by 85 feet, to accommodate six ocean steamers. The first two 300-feet long steamers, the "BALTIMORE" and the "BERLIN", were launched within six months, each holding 84 first class and 300 steerage passengers. This marked the beginning of Baltimore's significant part in the "Great Wave of Immigration".

We are looking forward to see you again sometime and wish you Happy Holidays!

Brigitte V. Fessenden, President
bim@immigrationbaltimore.org

Baltimore Immigration Museum - 1308 Beason Street * Baltimore, MD 21230 - www.immigrationbaltimore.org - bim@immigrationbaltimore.org