A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from March 25, 2005
Charm City (Baltimore nickname)
"Charm City" is an example of a coined city nickname that has stuck. According to The Sun (Baltimore, MD) on July 11, 1974:

"The 'Charm City, U.S.A.' promotion, prepared as a community service by the Van Sant, Dugdale firm and W. B. Doner & Co., another local advertising agency, was presented yesterday at the quarterly meeting of the Baltimore Promotion Council, the city's official booster agency."

Bill Evans (1931-2014), who worked at the advertising firm of W.B. Doner & Co., is usually credited for coming up with the "Charm City" slogan.

"Charm City" has occasionally been associated -- falsely -- with Baltimore writer H. L. Mencken (1880-1956).

11 July 1974, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), pg. C1, cols. 1-3:
In $40,000 tourist drive
Ads dub Baltimore 'Charm City'

Baltimore was designated "Charm City, U.S.A.," yesterday by the Baltimore Promotion Council, which announced a $40,000 advertising campaign to lure tourists and conventions here.

The campaign consists of half-page ads that will run in New York, Philadelphia, Detroit an Chicago newspapers "when we are ready to receive visitors," Daniel J. Loden, executive vice president of Van Sant, Dugdale & Co., Inc., said.

The "Charm City, U.S.A." promotion, prepared as a community service by the Van Sant, Dugdale firm and W. B. Doner & Co., another local advertising agency, was presented yesterday at the quarterly meeting of the Baltimore Promotion Council, the city's official booster agency.

(Time magazine; http://www.timearchive.com)
Chaos in Charm City
Jul. 22, 1974
All over the city, there are signs saying "Smile, you're in Baltimore." Last week the Baltimore Promotion Council launched a campaign to further enhance the city's image by declaring that Baltimore (pop. 900,000) would henceforth be known as "Charm City, U.S.A." The gesture was spectacularly ill-timed. Next day, Baltimore, which was already mired in a ...
726 words

4 August 1974, New York (NY) Times, pg. 366 ad:
Let us help plan your visit to Charm City, U.S.A.

Write for our "Charm Kit". Baltimore Promotion Council, Inc. 102 St. Paul St., Dept. A, Baltimore, Maryland 21202.

20 August 1992, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), pg. 13C, cols. 3-4:
Agency chairman who gave city "Charm" retires
By Michael Dresser
Pg. 15C, col. 1:
Part of Mr. Evans' work was to put the charm in "Charm City."

Early in Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer's administration, when the Inner Harbor was known more for its rotting piers than its attractions, Mr. Evans was asked to come up with a tourism slogan for Baltimore as a public service.

"I looked all over the city and drove for miles, and all I found was charm," Mr. Evans said. "So it was Charm City by default."

20 August 1992, Daily Record (Baltimore, MD), pg. 3:
After more than 30 years as the creative force behind Baltimore's biggest, and most colorful advertising agencies, Bill Evans, the man who nicknamed Baltimore "Charm City" is taking down his dart board.

Evans, who is retiring this week as chairman emeritus of Gray Kirk/VanSant, was the point man for a creative team that local advertising executives say brought Baltimore its first national industry recognition.
Evans also gets the credit for coining Baltimore's ersatz nickname, "Charm City." In the late 1970s, before the Inner Harbor, Evans was assigned to help Baltimore polish its image with tourists. With little more than Ft. McHenry to bring people here, that proved to be no easy task, he said.

"Decaying wharfs, rats, hoboes. That was downtown Baltimore. It was pretty bad looking," he recalled.

Evans decided the city could direct visitors to other "Charm City" landmarks - parks, churches, Memorial Stadium - by offering a charm bracelet at a tourist information center.

At each site, visitors could pick up a new charm for their bracelets. The city liked the Charm City moniker, but backed off the bracelet idea. Even though the campaign is long dead, the nickname still sticks.

18 August 1998, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), "Where did city get its charming nickname?; Baltimore Glimpses" by Gil Sandler, pg. 9A:
First off, it was not H. L. Mencken who said it, despite the fact that many people think it was, and that no less than the New York Times said it was, in a 1994 column about Baltimore. "H. L. Mencken," travel writer Meldina Henneberger wrote, "dubbed his hometown `Charm City.' "

Here's the story. Charm City's origins date to 1975 (Mencken died in 1956). The name grew out of creative conferences among four of the city's leading advertising executives and creative directors. The group included Dan Loden and art director Stan Paulus of VanSant, Dugdale (now Gray Kirk/VanSant); and Herb Fried and writer Bill Evans from W. B. Doner. As leaders of the city's largest advertising agencies, they had come together at then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer's request: "Come up with something to promote this city! I'm worried about this city's poor image."
It was that reputation in the dark days of the 1970s that Mayor Schaefer was fighting. So, the challenge was there for Mr. Loden, Mr. Paulus, Mr. Fried and Mr. Evans. Mr. Loden recalled, "Stan Paulus and Bill Evans came up with the thought that Baltimore had so much hidden charm and started to work out how the idea might be translated into advertisements." Mr. Paulus recalled, "It was Bill Evans who wrote the line that set it all going.

26 May 2001, The Sun (Baltimore, MD), "Letters," pg. 12A, col. 5:
A city composed of friendly folks
To be useful, a theme must also be believable. When I wrote "Charm City" for a Baltimore tourism campaign, I knew it would become part of the language because it was true and it was believable.
Bill Evans, Grasonville

Washington (DC) Post
12 April 2004, Washington (DC) Post, "Answer Man: Charmed, I'm Sure" by John Kelly, pg. C11:
I 'd like to know how Baltimore got the nickname "Charm City."
Norma Courlang, Silver Spring
"Charm City." It sounds like it's been around forever, doesn't it, since the days of Edgar Allan Poe or H.L. Mencken?

In fact, it's been around only since 1975, when then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer asked some Baltimore ad execs to come up with a snappy moniker for his blighted burg.

We say "blighted" because Balmer had fallen on hard times. This was before Harborplace and the National Aquarium, before "Hairspray" the smash Broadway musical and even before "Hairspray" the cult movie. Baltimore didn't have a lot going for it, remembered Bill Evans, the copywriter who coined the phrase. But what it had, said Evans, was an indefinable little quality called charm.

24 June 2014, Baltimore (MD) Sun, "William G. Evans," pg. 22, col. 4:
William "Bill" Glenn Evans, 83, passed away June 20, 2014 at Hospice of Queen Anne's after a long battle with cancer.

Bill was born February 21, 1931 in Rome NY to Marjorie and Glenn "Dutch" Evans. He grew up in Hamilton, New York. He was preceded in death by his brother Richard Evans and his wife Jeanette Frances Evans nee Clark.

He is survived by his son Glenn Evans (Cye) of Ridgely, Maryland and his daughters, Brooke Evans (Drew Gress) of Monroe New York, Tracy Connell (Michael) of Lutherville, Maryland and Melanie Wilson (Michael) Key West, Florida. He is also survived by his grandchildren William "Bill" Evans II, Allyson Connell, Glenn Evans, Evan Connell, Blake Wilson and Gus Wilson. He will especially be missed by his loving canine companion Percy Mae.

Bill Evans was the creative mind behind Baltimore's nickname "Charm City" when he worked alongside then Mayor William Donald Schaefer trying to revamp Baltimore's image for tourists.

28 June 2014, Baltimore (MD) Sun, pg. A14, cols. 1-2:
William G. Evans
Advertising executive who created the 'Charm City' campaign employed an arcane sense of humor
Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesCharm City, Monumental City (Baltimore nicknames) • Friday, March 25, 2005 • Permalink

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