There is nothing that says Baltimore to me more than the Domino Sugar sign that used to stand by itself in the skyline. The Domino Sugar factory sits toward the end of a peninsula known as Locust Point, which juts into the Baltimore harbor and culminates in the Fort McHenry National Park. ‘The Point’ was also home to Proctor & Gamble, Coca-Cola, something called Indiana Grain, and other manufacturing plants, due to it’s rail and shipping access. Baltimore was a blue collar town that has undergone gentrification, as is the case for many East Coast cities. The main street of the Point area is Fort Avenue, and that’s where our dental office was located, and where we spent 26 years working and enjoying the people of the neighborhood. The immediate area was surrounded by streets of modest rowhouses, built in the 1880s, that housed generations of people who worked in the neighborhood businesses. It was the city, and I was leery when Charley wanted to practice there, but he raved about the area, and everything he said about it proved to be true. There was a corner store across from the office, and when I was in that store I found myself amazed that the other people there were greeting each other by name and asking about each other’s families. I soon concluded that this neighborhood had a lot in common with Mayberry. The last three years we worked there we also lived upstairs from the office, and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed walking out the front door onto a busy city street. To me it was unique, if I hadn’t lived there I would never had imagined how much of a neighborhood could exist in a big city.
But even as we started our practice the old timers were lamenting how much the neighborhood was changing as new people came in and fixed up. That should have been good news to a business owner, but Charley saw himself as on old-school ‘Baltimoron’, and those old timers were the people he was there to treat. It was a good life.
I said that the Domino Sugar sign stood along in the sky, and it did. But most of the old businesses are gone now, replaced by more lucrative condos and townhouses. Maybe at a different angle the Domino sign would stand out more, and of course it does when it’s lit at night, but I thought it looked a little sad and lost in the new buildings that now surround it in this picture….