A little history on horses off the Preakness track

May 16, 1991|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,Evening Sun Staff

THE Preakness comes but once a year, but horses run in Baltimore all year long. Symbolizing commerce, farming, the heroics of war, Biblical epics, the state of Maryland, sports and just plain fun, horses in bronze, stone and wood sculpt Baltimore's historical profile.

As a way of honoring the second Triple Crown event anMaryland Historic Preservation Month, Fred Shoken, president of the preservation organization Baltimore Heritage, went on a Baltimore City horse hunt. He discovered equine friezes and statues on the facades of hotels, banks, warehouses, schools, state office buildings and the monuments that grace public spaces throughout the city.

Some of these horses, such as the rare double equestrian statue on Art Museum Drive honoring confederate generals Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, readily present themselves. Others, carved into friezes several stories above ground, demand flexible necks and curiosities that climb beyond the first floor.

Iron rings for tethering horses, and other tangible legacies of th past that dot the city, also testify to the dependency on horses before the automobile's invention, Shoken says. And, there are still a few live reminders of Baltimore's tradition with horses, Shoken says, citing the mounted police, Arabbers and downtown buggies that transport tourists.

Pictured here is a sampling of significant old horses, spied by Shoken on his hunt. Shoken offers you a test of pre-Preakness prowess: Where are these horses located and what do they represent? The answers are on Page D3.

1. The bronze horse on Mount Vernon Place, West Square, is part of the "War" statue, one of five different works sculpted by Antoine Louis Barye and donated to the city by William T. Walters in 1885. A lion by Barye, as well as his "Order," "Peace" and "Force" statues also stand in Mount Vernon.

2. One of two nearly identical horses flank the War Memorial on Gay Street, between Lexington and Fayette streets. The World War I memorial was designed by architect Lawrence Hall Fowler and completed in 1925.

3. Now circling in the Inner Harbor -- between Rash Field and the Maryland Science Center -- the horses, and all the beasts that compose this carousel, were carved by Herschel Spelman in 1912. The carousel took center stage in a small upstate-New York town from that year until 1957. Local builder Richard Knight bought the carousel to "save it" and has operated it for a decade.

4. The Pulaski Monument stands in a wide circle in Patterson Park, on the northeast corner of Eastern and Linwood avenues. The statue, created by Hans Schuler in 1942, commemorates Brig. Gen. Count Casimir Pulaski, a hero of the American Revolution and "father of the United States Calvary." The money to build the monument was raised by East Baltimore Polish Americans.

5. Today, the horse on the Sanitary Laundry & Dry Cleaning Co., with its peeling face and chipped ears, appears sad and neglected. It peers down over a garage-sized entrance of a brick building that once housed the Hegira Dairy on Sisson Street, near 28th Street.

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