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The Warehouse at Camden Yards



There is a certain art that enraptures the mind when one looks at a ballpark. Ballparks today come in all shapes, sizes and wonders, from Wrigley Field's simplistic features that seem to be a portal to the past while blending in with its surrounding neighborhood to Oracle Park's phenomenal view of the Bay. Since its opening in 1992, Baltimore's Camden Yards has wowed many visitors, with the warehouse in right-field being its crown jewel. This is the story of that warehouse.


The Story



The story of the Baltimore and Ohio Warehouse begins with Camden Station. Built between 1856 and 1857 at a cost of $600,000, Camden Station soon began to serve the citizens of Baltimore and beyond. Abraham Lincoln used it frequently, riding its rails on his way to his inauguration in 1861, on his way to Gettysburg in 1863, to make a speech in Baltimore in 1864 and in a casket to his final resting place in 1865 as the Civil War drew to a close.


In 1899, the train station needed a warehouse for much-needed storage space and began building the Baltimore and Ohio Warehouse, finishing construction in 1905. At the time, it was said to be the longest brick building on the East Coast. The five-story addition that stretched as far as four blocks had the ability to hold 1,000 carloads of freight at a time, giving Camden Station the storage space it desired.



So it sat there for the next half-century, holding various loads of freight while watching its surrounding neighborhood grow with the times. By the 1970's it was largely abandoned and rumored to be demolished in the near future. But Maryland state senator Jack Lapides was having none of that. Having watched his city suffer when the Colts left town in the middle of the night, he knew that Baltimore's crumbling Memorial Stadium was in its final days with the Orioles being its only tenants.


Lapides led the movement to save the empty warehouse and rehabilitate Camden Station. By 1992, Camden Yards opened to the public and the eyes of all visitors were instantly drawn to that mysterious building that stood idle 60 feet beyond the right field wall.


The building was so close to the ballpark that everyone knew it was only a matter of time before someone hit it with a blast from home plate. Indeed, it only took until the 1993 Home Run Derby for Ken Griffey Jr. to blast a home run 445 feet into the side of the historic warehouse. No one has been able to duplicate the feat ever since and the various team offices and private clubs have remained safe from one of the game's most electrifying plays.





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