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Ghost Rivers Ribbon Cutting & Community Celebration

Ghost Rivers Ribbon Cutting & Community Celebration

Join artist Bruce Willen, Blue Water Baltimore, friends, and neighbors to celebrate the first phase of Ghost Rivers— a neighborhood-spanning public art installation and walking tour that explores a lost stream and hidden histories buried below Baltimore’s streets.

Thurs. October 19 at B. Willow
5–7PM : Reception w/ light refreshments courtesy Peabody Heights Brewery
5:45PM : Ribbon-cutting & puppet procession featuring the Undergound Water Goddess

B. Willow is located 220 W 27th Street, Baltimore, MD 21211
Rain date : Sunday, October 22, 3–5PM

About Ghost Rivers & Sumwalt Run
Ghost Rivers is an upcoming neighborhood-spanning, multi-site public art installation and history walking tour by artist Bruce Willen that visualizes a lost stream buried below the streets of Baltimore.

The creek Sumwalt Run vanished from Baltimore’s landscape in the early 1900s. It now flows hidden and mostly forgotten through storm sewers. You can catch echoes of its waters whispering from certain storm drains. Ghost Rivers reveals the hidden history and path of Sumwalt Run, which now flows through underground culverts beneath the Remington and Charles Village neighborhoods. Through a series of installations, wayfinding markers, and writings Ghost Rivers brings lost landscapes and histories to the surface. Along the way the project draws connections between Baltimore’s watershed, its social history, and the evolving relationships between natural and human environments.

Before Sumwalt Run’s ignoble turn as concrete culvert, it witnessed eras of Baltimore’s urban history. Its frozen waters appeared in ice boxes across the city, cut from the city’s first commercial ice pond and a later artificial ice factory. Trolley tracks crossed its ravine, bringing workers home from downtown factories. The Olmsted Company attempted to preserve part of the stream as a greenway, but real estate developers filled its valley (using debris from the Great Baltimore Fire of 1905, according to local lore). When Baltimore built a new sewer system in the early 20th century, Sumwalt Run and dozens of other creeks across the city were turned into buried storm sewers and disappeared from memory. Ghost Rivers reveals these hidden histories and offers a glimpse into past and future city landscapes.

Guided Walking Tours

The artist and Blue Water Baltimore are hosting two guided walking tours in the next month. These tours are also free, but space is limited — register at the links below to reserve a spot:

Public walking tour 1: Sunday, October 22

Public walking tour 2: Saturday, November 11

Event Contact

Bruce Willen

Event Details

Thursday, October 19, 2023, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM


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