Friday, May 20, 2011

Are we Pigtown or Washington Village? You decide.

New Neighborhood Maps are coming out with the updated census data, and for the first time, rather than being labeled "Washington Village", the Planning Dept  has been considering "Washington Village/Pigtown".   There has been much debate over the name, and we have a chance to set the record straight.  Lets see what the battle looks like.

Washington Village
  • More "user friendly" for marketing purposes
    • Brings more prospective buyers/renters/business
    • Yuppies like it (I might be a yuppie... I haven't seen the definable income brackets)
  • Most maps are currently marked this way
  • Some group names include Washington Village... ie Washington Village Development Association, Bon Secours of Washington Village
  • We don't have to get rid of the pig mascot because the history hasn't changed
  • If tell someone you live in Washington Village, they look at you funny, follow that up with Pigtown... and they go "OH!!!! Pigtown! I know where that is."
  • Easily confused with Mount Washington, or Washington Hill, or any other neighborhood with the word Washington in it
    • Could be a problem when getting directions
    • Not unique

  • It's a historic name (though I've heard some debate that historically the east side of our boundary was not considered a part of the original Pigtown)
  • We are the only neighborhood named "Pigtown" in the whole country... Brooklyn used to have one, but they ditched the name (funny, they also have a Carroll Park)
  • It's unique, and people find identity in that 
  • There are no slogans that say "Pigtown doesn't exist"... There are for the latter
  • Some group names include Pigtown... ie Citizens Of Pigtown, Pigtown Main Street, Pigtown Festival, Pigtown Pharmacy, and this website
  • People find the name derogatory or off-putting
    • Perhaps more visitor education required about the name?
  • Huge turn-off for Realtors
    • The counter-argument is that there are places like NYC's Meat Packing District that do just fine
The biggest argument seems to be that "Washington Village" brings more revenue because, well, it just sounds better.  The argued compromise is to not forget that we're "Historic Pigtown".  It isn't utilized as often as it could be, but  Pigtown Main Street has been working on rebranding the neighborhood under this name.  But it wouldn't show up on the neighborhood map that way, just as Fed Hill doesn't show up as "Historic Federal Hill" on any maps.

Now go to the Citizens of Pigtown website and vote!

And spread the word to your neighbors!


  1. Though the name Pigtown is historic, as a newcomer to the neighborhood, when I tell people I live in Pigtown I get a negative reaction. Then when I look around at some of the people who roam the streets and the trash that I see thrown around; it definately seems like a "Pigtown." I'd rather it not be so.

  2. I don't like the name at all. I have lived here for 18 years and I cringe when anyone asks where I live. I hate that I have to explain about pigs being run through the streets to be slaughtered. Pigs are very intelligent animals - smarter than dogs. The image of pigs being slaughtered is very upsetting to me. When people ask where I live I say Southwest Baltimore. If we want to call places by their historic names then Barre Circle, Ridgley's Delight and Camden Crossing should also be called Pigtown.

  3. Ridgely's used to be Pigtown East. I feel very strongly that the Pigtown name is a gigantic golden opportunity for marketing and neighborhood improvement, the likes of which don't exist in most cities.

    As has been noted, Washington Village is pretty plain and blase. Pigtown has a very rich history and is much more memorable. It is up to us all to change anyone's negative impression and we've been working very hard to do exactly that.

    For example? Try Brooklyn, The Bowery or The Meatpacking District in NYC - all had extremely negative connotations not long ago, and look at'em now. Revitalized and vibrant, and none with the catchy name like Pigtown.

    Come live, work and play in historic Pigtown! Doesn't that sound better than Washington Village? If we build it, people will come, Ray...

  4. Well, Pigtown has been called Pigtown for a very long time and that gigantic marketing thing hasn't happened yet. I don't think it ever will with a name like Pigtown. Ridgley's and Barre Circle had the sense to change their name from Pigtown. When I purchased my home here 18 years ago it was Washington Village. I don't understand why anyone would want to live in a place called Pigtown especially considering the slaughterhouse history (gory and stomach turning!) and the current conditions of trash dumped on every corner and rampant drug dealing. What do you expect with a name like "Pigtown"? With a name like that people automatically lower their standards. Just because the name is "historic" doesn't make it right. Lots of things that are historic aren't right. Slavery for example.