On one overseas business trip in 1978, I got to spend a weekend in Florence, Italy. At one point during a stroll around that beautiful city, I looked up and suddenly saw a familiar sight - the Bromo Tower of Baltimore!
Actually, it was the Palazzo Vecchio, but architect Joseph Evans Sperry used the tower of this 14th-century structure as inspiration for the 1911 Emerson Bromo-Seltzer Tower. Sperry's client was Captain Isaac Emerson, a sea captain and inventor of Bromo Seltzer.
The 15-story tower was originally topped by a 51-foot revolving replica of the deep-blue Bromo Seltzer bottle. Brightly illuminated at night, ships sailing up the Chesapeake to Baltimore would navigate by it. Until the Baltimore Trust Company Building claimed the title in 1924, the Bromo Tower was the tallest structure in Baltimore.
Since 1936, the Bromo Tower has been bottle-less, and by the sixties, the building itself had deteriorated.
The Baltimore Office of Promotion and Arts did a great job renovating the Bromo Tower just a few years ago. The former office building is now leased out as studios for artists.
In the photo above, the curved shape is the revolving rooftop restaurant of the Holiday Inn. Well, it doesn't revolve anymore, and the restaurant, Circle One closed in 1974, but there it is. It's only claim to fame is that the Beatles, on September 13, 1964, played a concert at Baltimore's Civic Center, just across the street, and then stayed overnight in the then-brand-new hotel. By the way, they did get to dine in the revolving rooftoop restaurant, and back then, it did revolve.