Countdown to Convention: A little trivia about Baltimore “firsts”

In about 24 weeks, VAR’s 88th Convention & Expo will kick off for the first time ever in Baltimore, Maryland. Yes, Maryland. I said it. Virginia REALTORS® do leave Virginia on occasion. (GASP)

Obviously we aren’t the first first for 279 year-old B-more and our Virginia convention in Maryland follows quite a few other interesting inaugural events in the city. Here are a few for your notes, just in case you end up on jeopardy and the category is “The City of Hun:” (courtesy of our friends at the Baltimore CVB)

1800: First investment banking house in America founded by Alexander Brown. Thank Baltimore for your 401k’s and hedge funds

1811: First to import and package tea in America. The next time you order a good ole southern glass of ice tea, don’t forget about the northerners who brought it over.

1814: First printing of the Star Spangled Banner in the United States by Samuel Sands. Oh oh say can you read…

1819: First agricultural publication in the U.S. The American Farmer. The next time you meet a well read farmer, remember Baltimore’s where it started.

1828: First American umbrella factory in the U.S. Yes, Baltimore helps you hate the weather man a little less.

1830: First railroad depot in the U.S. at Pratt and Poppleton Streets All aboard!

1831: First National Nominating Conventions for President in the U.S. Not in Florida? You don’t say.

1838: First iron steamboat built in this country. This one makes sense.

1839: First dental college in the world: Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. Got teeth?

1844: First telegraph line in the U.S. routed between Washington and Baltimore by Samuel Morse. I think in honor of this year’s convention, we should all use telegraphs instead of our smart phones. Can you Twit with a telegraph?

1844: First publicly supported high schools for girls: Eastern High School and Western High School. Is it coincidence that the telegraph and high school girl were created in the same year?

1851: First commercial ice cream factory in America. Before Häagen-Dazs® there was….

1859: First YMCA erected in America at Pierce and Schroeder Streets Village People in the 1800s?

1867: First pediatrician and gynecologist in the U.S. Dr. Wm. T. Howard, University of Maryland sets up shop. Not funny, just important. Perfect question for final jeopardy.

1883: Invention of the typesetting machine: Ottmor Mergenthalern A-S-D-F-J-K-L-; My job would be a lot harder without this one.

1885: First Commercial electric car line in the Western Hemisphere. I think it’s time we improve and revive this idea.

1892: First bottle cap made in the U.S. Who knew Baltimore was instrumental in us paying for tap water?

1901: First woman professor at a medical school in the U.S. Dr. Florence Rena Sabin, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Women could teach us something about taking care of people? Really?

2008: First VAR Convention & Expo in Baltimore September 24-28, 2008. Why should you attend? Log on to VARBuzz on May 8th for the nuts and bolts of how this year’s Convention aims to improve your business.

Until next time…


About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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2 Responses to Countdown to Convention: A little trivia about Baltimore “firsts”

  1. Am I mistaken, I thought we had been there once before?

  2. Jeanette,

    We did go once back when there was still a VAR-MidYear (1992 or 93), but never for Convention according to a file cabinet full of directories in the recesses of the building and my expert VAR historians (Anne & Tracey).

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