Zippy Talks

Zippy Larson, Baltimore's Best Tour Guide, is offering a new season of talks covering a wide array of interests.

Four Gentlemen of the Greenspring Valley: Emerson, Plank, Ripken and Vanderbilt

Dr. Isaac Emerson invented Bromo Seltzer. Vanderbilt's millions came from railroads. Cal Ripken played baseball, while football led Kevin Plank to found Under Armour. These four have a curious connection to a few square miles in Baltimore County. We will trace their lives and fortunes from the 1800's to the present day.

Fell's Point with Zip

A Baltimore Magazine writer called Fell's Point the most complicated neighborhood in the world. He wrote that it would be easier to bring peace to the Middle East than to figure out all the factions in Fell's Point. It's where Barry Levenson's NBC Television drama, Homicide: Life on the Street was filmed and where film maker John Waters set his early movies. Belly dancers, bordellos, bootleg whiskey and Bertha's Mussels all found a home on the waterfront. So did clipper ships and chrome and The Horse You Came in On. Sailors from all over the world stepped ashore in Fell's Point. They went to sea without a cent in their pockets and came ashore with a pocket full of money and when they hit port, their desires were few: a new set of clothes, a steam bath, a barber shop for "the works," a bowl of oyster stew at a bar where they were not cheated, and finally a night of drinking and fun. Fell's Point is still filled with bars.....and neighborhood gossip, so let's go ashore and listen to a few stories.

Wallis Warfield Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

In 1936, when Edward VIII wanted to marry twice-divorced Baltimore socialite Wallis Warfield, he was told: "Sir! You may have either the woman or the throne. You may not have both." He chose the woman and his decision nearly brought the British Empire to its knees. They eventually married and lived out their lives together in Paris. This thoroughly enlightening talk illuminates details of Wallis's dramatic life from her birth near Baltimore in 1896 to her death in Paris nearly 90 years later.

A week in the life of a Baltimore tour guide.

True stories, like the day the car filled up with rum buns and apple strudel. And inside Mr. Knabe's mansion--who grew rich from making pianos--we found out Baltimore had more pianos than bathtubs. And the day we turned a corner and saw a group of squad cars blocking the street and city police officers frisking a suspect, and the people on my tour said: "They're all actors aren't they?"