Back River Amusement Parks Hotbed of Prostitution and Venereal Diseases, 1920s

Report of the United States Interdepartmental Social Hygiene Board
for The Fiscal Year Ended June 30 1922

Baltimore, Md. — “Back River” has been a by-word in Maryland for 20 years. Navy medical officers and the surgeons at Camp Holabird, Edgewood Arsenal, and Fort Howard, and perhaps those at the Veterans’ Hospital at Perryville, know it as a source of venereal diseases. “Back River” stood for “Goeller’s Place” and “Bob’s Locust Grove.”

Joe Goeller, with a large investment in an “amusement park,” had so entrenched himself with the local forces of law and order that he had nothing to fear except (he said to a board’s agent) the prohibition officers.

Federal inspectors in September, 1921, found upwards of 40 prostitutes operating with soldiers and sailors at Back River. Prostitution and bootlegging were the head liners on the “amusement” program.

Bob Mundon, on a smaller scale, imitated “Goeller’s Place” with “Bob’s Locust Grove.”

With the assistance of State authority the board brought the evidence before the courts. The proprietors were sentenced to six months in jail and fined $500 each. Their places are boarded up, and they are serving their sentences, having failed in their attempts at pardon.

The county police force that failed in enforcing the law was found to have been corrupted and a part of Goeller’s “Machine.” They were tried and dismissed in disgrace.

Investigations by the agent of the board in the city of Baltimore showed that houses of prostitution are on the increase. These were placed in the hands of the police commissioner. No action has been noted. The police commissioner claims that when houses are watched, raided and the cases brought to court for trial, the cases are indefinitely postponed, and it is hard to secure a conviction. One well-informed authority who has to deal with venereal diseases resulting from the situation, stated that Baltimore was one of the worst cities he had ever known.

Posted in 1920s, Essex / Middle River, Sex, Vices | Tagged | 1 Comment

Dark Shadow’s David Selby Haunts 1969 Baltimore Parade


On Sept. 14, 1969, David Selby was grand marshal of the “I Am An American Day Parade” in Baltimore, Maryland. It was a huge event: Crowd numbers were estimated to have topped 200,000 for the Sunday parade.

“Thousands of teen-age girls swarmed next to the reviewing stand, where Mr. Selby sat throughout the day, screaming at the top of their lungs,” reported The Baltimore Sun the following day. “One police officer, who helped escort the television performer during the parade, said the youths were ‘behaving themselves’ and had caused little trouble, but another officer attempting to control the crowd indicated the police had some difficulty. ‘Motorcycle escorts don’t mean anything,’ he said, adding ‘They knock over the motorcycles.'”

The newspaper also included the following quote from Selby, taken from a speech he delivered to the crowd: “With all the troubles and problems we have today, I wanted to tell you it’s really not so bad to be an American.”

Continue reading at The Collinsport Historical Society.

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Baltimore Axehole Douses Self with Body Spray, Lights Cigarette, Blows Up Car

Body spray, lit cigarette cause apparent explosion in Woodlawn, police say

By Saliqa A. Khan (WBAL TV, 3/1/2018)

A man was injured and at least two vehicles were damaged in an apparent explosion in Baltimore County.

Police were called around 11:22 a.m. to the parking lot of the Restaurant House in the 1600 block of Whitehead Court in Woodlawn.

A man was inside a company vehicle with the windows down and the ventilation system blowing air out when he used a power stick body spray — a flammable aerosol — and it circulated in the vehicle before he lit a cigarette, police said.

At that time, there was a “sudden, violent expansion of air” that created a booming sound, shook a nearby building and blew open the car trunk, doors and opened the hood, police said.

A nearby vehicle was also damaged, police said.

The victim was walking and talking when first responders arrived, but he was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

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Walmart sells Misshapen Wooden Maryland Object

This Maryland-shaped Walmart item … doesn’t really look like Maryland

By Wesley Case (The Baltimore Sun, 2/28/2018)

It happened again, Walmart.

After a 2016 blunder involving a University of Maryland T-shirt, the retail company has been criticized by Free State residents again — this time for a wooden craft in the shape of Maryland … that doesn’t look like Maryland.

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