Now that 1990 is over, it's time to get set for all those centennials and other major anniversaries that will be coming up in the next few years.
Of course the biggest celebration on the horizon is the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage to the New World ("In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue"). Once planning for that momentous event is under control, the 1990s will feature clear sailing for some lesser events, such as those detailed below.
The decade that began 100 years ago crackled and popped with fun. The golden 1890s were a time of barbershop songs and handlebar mustaches, bustles and bikes, band shells in the parks, boats on the bay and trolleys in the town.
The decade was also rich in major events, including the debut of the game of basketball in 1891 and the first pro football game, played in 1895. Here are some other ready candidates (local and national) for celebrations of 100th anniversaries and more.
1891: Baltimore city starts regular cable car service on May 23. On June 8, the Maryland Historical Society admits its first female member.
1892: Take your pick: The Maryland Training School for Nurses graduates its first class, the Har Sinai Congregation turns 150 (making it 250 in 1992), and the Colonial Dames of Maryland holds its first meeting. All three will have to compete with mountains of stuff about Columbus.
1893: The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine opens with 16 students, three of them women. Baltimore's new Oheb Shalom Temple is dedicated.
1894: The Orioles win their first National League pennant, an act they will repeat, astonishingly, in 1895 and 1896. "Every Oriole regular hit over .300 in the 1894 season," a veteran sports reporter once noted, adding that as a team they batted an average of .328! (I propose three minutes of silence when the new stadium opens, one for each championship year of the 1890s team.)
1895: The town of Oxford turns 200 years old and holds a "shore festival" in its own honor. What will ritzy, secluded Oxford do in 1995 for its 300th anniversary?
1896: The first 45-star flags are hoisted over Fort McHenry and the U.S. Capitol as Utah enters the Union.
1897: Baltimore begins its postal delivery service by streetcar for the first time.
1898: It's a teary time in Annapolis as the entire graduating class at the Naval Academy skips graduation, is sworn in (as ladies swoon) and heads for the war with Spain.
1899: A landmark year for giving. Henry Walters, art tycoon, sheds $45,000 to found the city's municipal bath system, and Mrs. Benjamin Newcomer of Baltimore gives $10,000 for the establishment of a Maryland tuberculosis hospital.
1900: The U.S. Treasury, believe it or not, produces a thumping surplus of $80 million. And Baltimore city gets its 500,000th citizen in a census count. A year for superlatives, and the beginning of a new century.
That's only a shorthand look at anniversaries ahead that can be celebrated with feature stories, booklets, TV shows, flag raisings, marathons and parades. There must be some way of getting Millard Fillmore into the show. *