Downtown Skyline Lights Up

October 29, 1994

The big day is almost here.

In just a few more days, the gilded Maryland National tower -- now renamed after its new owner, NationsBank -- will be lit up. An Art Deco gem will be illuminated as never before.

There is more to come:

On New Year's Eve, the World Trade Center overlooking the Inner Harbor will become a giant, permanent candle, when its 28-story tower will be bathed in light. On a clear night, it ought to be visible for up to 10 miles, serving as a lighthouse to those approaching Baltimore.

If a distinguishable night skyline is a measure of a big city, Baltimore has come quite a long way in just one year.

It was a mere year ago that a high-intensity beacon on top of the 27-story HarborView apartment tower was lit up. The condominium complex joined a number of other signature buildings that have been illuminated, giving the city's downtown a festive night-time ambience.

Such buildings now range from the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s headquarters, whose upper-floor columns look quite dramatic against the night sky, to the Bromo Seltzer tower, which has a profile resembling an old Italian palace.

Much of this results from an ambitious campaign BGE is conducting to "Brighten Baltimore." Such a program goes beyond the company's profits. "There's a psychological aspect to it," a BGE spokesman explains. "People feel more secure in well-lighted environment."

The illumination program is supported by the Downtown Partnership, which regards a more presentable night-time Baltimore as an invaluable marketing tool. More buildings are likely to be lit up in coming months.

This is just dandy. With holiday lighting soon going up from the Washington Monument to the Inner Harbor, illuminated landmark buildings will provide a cheerful backdrop. That will make the downtown feel special.

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