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Garnet Douglass Baltimore
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Birth: Apr. 15, 1859
Rensselaer County
New York, USA
Death: Jun. 12, 1946
Rensselaer County
New York, USA

The history of black America's struggle for freedom and dignity, of Troy, and of Rensselaer are very much a part of the life of Garnet Douglass Baltimore. Baltimore's grandfather, Samuel Baltimore, was a black slave and a Revolutionary War soldier. Promised his freedom if he fought for American Independence and later denied release by his master, he escaped and settled in Troy. Samuel's son and Garnet's father, Peter F. Baltimore, was born in 1829. Peter was a barber to men prominent in public life. He was a pupil of abolitionist minister Henry Highland Garnet and associated with Frederick Douglass, with black mathematician Charles Reason, and with Underground Railroad leader Robert Purvis. Garnet Baltimore was born in a cottage at 162 Eighth Street (Rensselaer's address today is number 110) in 1859 and named for his father's friends, Garnet and Douglass. In 1881, Garnet Baltimore became the first African-American to earn a bachelor's degree from the Institute. The day after receiving his Civil Engineering degree, Baltimore went to work as an assistant engineer on a bridge between Rensselaer and Albany. By 1883, he was appointed in charge of a surveying party for the 56-mile Granville and Rutland Railroad, a distance of 56 miles. In 1884, he served as assistant engineer and surveyor on the Erie Canal. He became engineer in charge of the Shinnacock and Peconic Canal on Long Island. During his canal service, he supervised the extension of the notoriously difficult "mud lock" on the Oswego Canal. In 1897, Baltimore designed Forest Park Cemetery in Troy. The operation later went bankrupt. Elements of the land make up today's Troy Country Club property. Baltimore made his most notable and long-standing contribution to Troy in 1903 when he designed the once-private lands of Mount Ida into the public area known today as Prospect Park. His project was to create a public park for use by people of all ages. The result of his work was once referred to as, "84 acres of elegant nature." It offered a 25-mile view of the Hudson Valley. Today, Prospect Park remains one of Troy's greatest assets. In 1906, he was listed as Engineer in the Department of Parks. In his role as a consulting engineer, Baltimore made surveys and maps for attorneys of scenes of accidents and crimes. He testified about those measurements in many courts in Troy and other cities. Cemetery design and engineering remained part of his work. He died at the same location where he was born, his home at 162 Eighth Street just a few doors from the institution he loved. His death was front-page news in the Troy Record. The announcement was accompanied by a large photo and the following appeared on the editorial page: " ....There was a time when he was in the thick of municipal affairs. He was architectural Engineer at Oakwood Cemetery. He laid out Prospect Park. He was probably the greatest surveyor in the city's history. He was as much a part of Troy as the monument..." 
Family links: 
  Peter F. Baltimore (1829 - 1913)
  Caroline A. Newcomb Baltimore (1837 - 1891)
Oakwood Cemetery
Rensselaer County
New York, USA
Created by: W. Arnold Holmes
Record added: Feb 12, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24579482
Garnet Douglass Baltimore
Added by: W. Arnold Holmes
Garnet Douglass Baltimore
Added by: Jason VanDervoort
Garnet Douglass Baltimore
Added by: Jason VanDervoort
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