Now it's goodbye, 'hon'

April 26, 1991

It was a win for civic duty, a loss for civic charm. The hand-painted "Hon!" has been edited out of the "Welcome to Baltimore, Hon!" sign on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, thanks to the diligent work of the state Highway Administration.

The beloved bit of Bawlamerese wasn't supposed to be there to begin with, but was added clandestinely by a "poet with a paintbrush," as Sun columnist Michael Olesker put it.

But city and state officials called it graffiti and said it was most unwelcome to Baltimore.

"We always remove graffiti as soon as possible," said Russell Ulrich, spokesman for the state highway administration. "If we leave it up there, it will just encourage more."

So out it went, painted over by a highway crew Tuesday morning. The crew was alerted to the graffiti by a photograph in Tuesday morning's newspaper. Now all that remains of the unofficial greeting is a generic "Welcome to Baltimore" followed by a patch of brown paint.

"We've got to protect public property," said George G. Balog, the director of the city's Department of Public Works. "This is a serious obligation."

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