Gay and Lexington streets
John Quincy Adams called Baltimore “monument city” when he visited in 1827, thanks to some of the earliest war memorials in the country—the Battle Monument dedicated to those who died during the War of 1812 and the 178-foot-tall first monument to George Washington begun in 1815. Since then Baltimore has added many monuments to its landscape—and started one of the first municipal programs to maintain its dedicated outdoor statuary. Our favorite is one of the most modest: the Fireman’s Memorial at the northwest corner of Gay and Lexington streets. This bronze piece by artist Tylden Street is elevated but a foot or two off the ground, a solitary figure clad in the traditional uniform of heavy boots and protective pants, jacket, and helmet and clutching an ax, dedicated to firefighters past, present, and future. It’s easy to pass this intersection and not notice the statue, but when you get a chance, stop for a spell and drink in this testament to the powers of graceful understatement.