33 Haunting Photos Of The Abandoned Baltimore Ghetto

Published July 18, 2016
Updated January 23, 2018

These haunting photos of the largely abandoned Baltimore ghetto provide a harrowing glimpse of one of the most beleaguered cities in all of America.

Abandoned Baltimore Ghetto Photos
Abandoned row houses off Eastern Ave., a major thoroughfare that traverses the entire eastern half of the city.Zorah Olivia/Flickr

Vacants Near Fence
The U.S. Census Bureau has counted an astonishing 46,800 vacant properties in Baltimore — a whopping 16 percent of its housing.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Abandoned Baltimore Ghetto Street
According to a 2016 report in The Baltimore Sun, approximately 500 of those vacant houses are so decrepit that city inspectors must check their stability, for fear of the houses collapsing, every ten days.Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sellers Mansion
Built in 1868, the Sellers Mansion was once a grand emblem of Baltimore's post-Civil War prosperity, then a proud landmark for the African-American community that took hold in the mid-20th century.

Today, however, it sits abandoned, as it has for more than 20 years, its bones soon to deteriorate beyond the point of repair.
Wikimedia Commons

Baltimore Orphanage
The Hebrew Orphan Asylum operated as an orphanage from 1876 to 1923, then as a hospital until 1989. The building has remained vacant since then. Baltimore Heritage/Flickr

Old Town Mall
The area surrounding Old Town Mall, a commercial corridor since the 1600s, remained viable through the mid-20th century. At that point, housing projects were built just nearby. But after the projects proved to be untenable dens of crime in the 1990s, they were demolished, leaving Old Town Mall to rot.

In recent years, developers have set their sights on the area. But for now, it remains a veritable ghost town.
James Blucher/Flickr

Obama Mini Mart
Shops at Old Town Mall.James Blucher/Flickr

Black And White Vacants
Boarded up row houses on the border of the Greenmount West and Oliver neighborhoods.John Perivolaris/Flickr

Empty Street
Vacant row houses in the Sandtown neighborhood, one of the most crippled areas in the entire city and a very recent hotbed of racial unrest.Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Vacant Houses
Early this year, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced plans to demolish thousands of the city's vacant buildings, which, he says "are infecting entire neighborhoods" and encouraging crime.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Abandoned Baltimore Street
Perlman Place — which according to city officials quoted in The Baltimore Sun, had "the highest concentration of blight in the city" — just before its April 2010 demolition.Dorret/Flickr

Row Houses
Another view of the vacant row houses of Perlman Place.Dorret/Flickr

Trashed Bus
Together, the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad (former station pictured above) and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad once made Baltimore one of the U.S.' great railroad cities in the — and provided both jobs and revenue.

However, since the mid-20th century, these railroads (like so many other across the nation) have fallen into serious decline and, in some cases, total abandonment.
Nick Normal/Flickr

Rail Car
Some rotting streetcars, once part of Baltimore's public transit network, have since become part of the city's Streetcar Museum.Alexander Rabb/Flickr

Busted Car
An abandoned trolley car sits near the railway.Nick Normal/Flickr

Empty Factory
Inside the now abandoned Schenuit Rubber Company factory, closed since the 1990s.James Jamieson/Flickr

Big Abandoned Building
Abandoned plants and factories abound across the city.Chuck/Flickr

United Iron And Metal
This scrap metal yard located in Baltimore's eastern fringes is one of several still located in the city. In recent decades, the illegal sale of found or stolen scrap metal has become a source of income for the poor and/or homeless in the throes of drug addiction.cranky messiah/Flickr

Grain Elevator
The abandoned Canton grain elevator in south Baltimore serves as a grim reminder of the Port of Baltimore's troubled past.

Although it has rebounded in recent years, the port, a major source of employment and revenue for the city, spent much of the last four decades in dire straits.

For much of the 1980s and 1990s, shippers steered clear of Baltimore and business -- not to mention the jobs that came with it -- severely dried up.
Lindsay Blair Brown/Flickr

Port Decay
Another view of the Canton grain elevator, shuttered in 1994, when the Baltimore ports were at their nadir.Craig Bruce/Flickr

Curtis Creek
The port's decline began to set in as far back as the 1970s. Above, abandoned ships languish in Curtis Creek in 1973. Wikimedia Commons

Baltimore Condos
The Silo Point condominium tower, formerly the Baltimore and Ohio Locust Point Grain Terminal Elevator.

There is perhaps no clearer symbol of Baltimore's all but abandoned industrial sector and the urban development that has failed to revitalize the city.
Nick Normal/Flickr

Fells Point
Construction at a once decrepit property in the Fells Point neighborhood.Nick Normal/Flickr

Building Facades
More attempts at revitalizing once dead buildings, now nothing more than facades, in Fells Point. Fells Point is one of the city's most economically viable neighborhoods.Nick Normal/Flickr

Johns Hopkins
While most development efforts have focused on the harbor area (e.g. Silo Point), over the past decade-plus Johns Hopkins University has attempted to revitalize some of the run-down property that surrounds its campus. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Car On Fire
Regardless of lawmakers' and developers' attempts to combat the city's deterioration, Baltimore's sociopolitical fabric has taken a major hit over the past year in particular, especially with regards to racial unrest.Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Civil Rights Sign
The flash point came last April, when an African-American resident of West Baltimore named Freddie Gray died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly carrying an illegal switchblade.Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Kid Holding Protest Sign
Medical examiners found that Gray received his fatal injuries while being transported by police and ruled that the cause of death was homicide, suggesting that the officers used brutally excessive force.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Burning Car During Protest
A protest on April 25 ultimately turned violent and left 34 in handcuffs and 15 police officers injured.Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Freddie Gray Protest
Following Gray's funeral service two days later, more protesting and rioting ensued. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Police Horses
Governor Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency, imposed a curfew, and called in the National Guard.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Police In Riot Gear
On May 1, the Baltimore City State's Attorney announced that the six officers involved would be charged with various crimes including assault, manslaughter, and murder.Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Armored Vehicle In Baltimore
While the individual trials of the six officers involved have not all been completed as of yet, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced that the city reached a $6.4 million settlement with Gray's family so that the city can attempt "to heal." For Baltimore to truly heal, it's likely going to need a lot more than justice in the case of Freddie Gray.Patrick Smith/Getty Images

"It was only a matter of time before Baltimore exploded," wrote veteran Baltimore reporter and resident Michael A. Fletcher in The Washington Post just after the April 2015 riots over the death of Freddie Gray tore the city apart.

With racial unrest as just one problem among many -- including poverty, crime, and drug addiction -- Baltimore has long been among the most widely cited cases of urban blight in post-industrial America.

Thus, it's hardly shocking that Baltimore (particularly the Baltimore ghetto) has lost a stunning 35 percent of its population between its post-war peak and today. What remains is a city littered with deserted streets, corroded factories, and thousands upon thousands of vacant row houses that look all too fittingly like oversized tombstones.

See some of the most haunting images taken inside the all-but-abandoned Baltimore ghetto in the gallery above.

After this look at the abandoned Baltimore ghetto, look through some stark photos of abandoned Detroit and New York.

John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.
Cite This Article
Kuroski, John. "33 Haunting Photos Of The Abandoned Baltimore Ghetto." AllThatsInteresting.com, July 18, 2016, https://allthatsinteresting.com/abandoned-baltimore-ghetto-photos. Accessed April 19, 2024.