The paint is worn thin, but the message is still there, a puzzling declaration from a foggy past. At some point in history, someone decided to emblazon the city’s public benches with the hyperbolically proud slogan: Baltimore – The Greatest City in America. Where’d this over-the-top motto come from? And how’d it end up on all those benches? Baltimore Banner reporter Clara Longo de Freitas teams up with Aaron Henkin to find the answers.

In this episode, we hear from:

Martin O’Malley, Mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to 2007

Steve Kearney, Director of Policy and Communications during O’Malley’s Mayoral Administration

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Kurt Schmoke, Mayor of Baltimore from to 1987 to 1999

Sandy Hillman, Former Head of Mayor William Donald Schaefer’s Office of Promotion and Tourism

The Baltimore Banner and WYPR have a joint operating agreement that allows the nonprofit organizations to work collaboratively to deliver quality journalism across the region. To learn more about the partnership, click here. This season of Maryland Curiosity Bureau features episodes with Banner reporters like Hallie Miller and Tim Prudente.