The Bromo Seltzer Tower has stood sentry over downtown Baltimore since 1911 when it was the tallest structure in Baltimore. It was designed by Joseph Evans Sperry and was constructed by "Captain" Isaac E. Emerson, the inventor of the headache remedy Bromo Seltzer (which was basically just aspirin in fizzy water). He loved the city of Baltimore and it's said he tried to "advance the city to push Baltimore to the front," whatever that means. Your guess as to the front of what is as good as mine.

Originally, the tower was topped with a fifty-one-foot revolving replica of the blue bromo-seltzer bottle, illuminated with five hundred and ninety-six lights. I've read it could be seen twenty miles away. Unfortunately, the bottle was removed in 1936 due to structural concerns and was never replaced. This saddens me to no end.

The building's most famous feature is the still-functioning tower clock, with the four clock faces on the North, South, East and West sides. The clock faces are adorned with the letters B-R-O-M-O S-E-L-T-Z-E-R, (I wonder if they planned the company name with twelve letters on purpose?) while the Roman numeral numbers are less prominent. So even in the 1930s, they were dealing with their own version of big business naming prominent landmarks as a marketing gimmick.

When I first moved to this area, the two hundred and eighty-eight foot tower was pretty much abandoned. More recently, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts has renovated it into artists' studios and the original factory at the ground level is now a firehouse, where, when you stop by to take a picture, the fireman stare at you like you're an idiot.

It also invites the heavens to smile down upon it occasionally.