Baltimore began as a humble waterfront village in 1729. It burst into prominence as America expanded westward, forging a role as a major trading and transportation center that linked the nation's interior to the world. From a mere 25 wooden houses in 1750 rose a brick-and-mortar city of 30,000 people by 1798, when George Washington declared Baltimore the "risingest" town in America.
The Chesapeake Bay was Baltimore's gateway. Trade with Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, and southern U.S. ports flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The city specialized in receiving raw materials (grain, textiles, guano, sugar cane, tobacco, oysters, fruits and vegetables, ores), processing them, and sending them back out as finished products (flour, sail cloth and clothing, fertilizer, sugar, cigars, canned goods, ironwork and steel). Baltimore also dominated regional trade, as small craft plied the bay bringing agricultural goods to market and departing with manufactured items to sell in small-town general stores.
From the American Revolution until the Civil War, enslaved African Americans represented one of Baltimore's most significant exports. Thousands were "sold South" on boats bound for New Orleans through the domestic slave trade tying the upper South to the cotton-growing states. Yet the
city also created opportunities for freedom. With the help of Baltimore's large free black community, Frederick Douglass of Talbot County began his journey to freedom after arriving at the harbor as a slave.
The Inner Harbor evolved as the city grew. Dredge and fill operations extended the land three blocks south of Water Street, the original shoreline. Today, Federal Hill remains the only original land feature. After port facilities moved several miles south in the 1950s, Baltimore's leaders embarked on an ambitious and highly successful Inner Harbor redevelopment effort that has made the city a world leader in waterfront re-vitalization. The Inner Harbor's attractions often draw annual crowds larger than those of Disney World.
(Inscriptions at the top) Years listed under the images-1752, 1834, 1869, 1889, 1912, 1961, 1984, 2005.
(Inscriptions under the images on the right) 1st image-This rare, mid-19th century glimpse of ocean going sailing vessels and warehouses shows Spear's Wharf, which was located near Pier 3. Notice Federal Hill in the background.
2nd image-Occupying an entire square block near the harbor at Gay and Lombard streets from 1820 to 1902, the domed Baltimore Exchange and Custom House symbolized Baltimore's maritime might. Designed by Benjamin Latrobe, it was considered the finest commercial building in the United States.
image-In the 1920s, Centre Market (two blocks directly north) bustled with activity. Oliver Wendell Holmes described Baltimore as the "Gastronomic Metropolis of the Union."
4th image-Chesapeake Bay sailing vessels docked beside the Power Plant around 1931. Farms along the Chesapeake Bay not only fed the canning industry, but also supplied Baltimore's ten market houses.
5th image-The steamships of the Baltimore Steam Packet Company, commonly known as the Old Bay Line, connected Baltimore to points along the Chesapeake Bay from 1840 to 1962. The company's imposing Light Street building, constructed in 1897, stood about where the Baltimore Visitor Center stands today.
6th image-For many years, Baltimore dominated trade in bananas, coffee, and other goods from the Caribbean, Central and South America.
(Inscriptions at the bottom) Follow the trail markings embedded in the sidewalk to experience this Baltimore adventure. Rest stops and restaurants offer places to relax along the way. Heritage Walk Star Attractions.
1. U.S.S. Constitution 2. World Trade Center-Top of the World 3. Baltimore Maritime Museum 4. Baltimore Public Works 5. Baltimore Civil War Museum 6. Flag House and Star Spangled Banner Museum 7. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture. 8. Carroll Museum 9. Friends Meeting House 10. Nine North Front Street 11. Phoenix Shot Tower 12. St Vincent de Paul Church 13. War Memorial 14. Zion Lutheran Church 15. Peale Museum 16. City Hall 17. Battle Monument 18. Alex Brown Building.