“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Discovering the Jones Falls

Heritage Walk

— Powering America's Industrial Revolution —

Heritage Walk Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 10, 2011
1. Heritage Walk Marker
Inscription.  Baltimore’s industry and trade grew concurrently, a partnership that fueled the city’s tremendous 18th and 19th century growth. You are standing at the mouth of the Jones Falls, a river that flows through Baltimore into the Inner Harbor’s Patapsco River, which in turn flows into the Chesapeake Bay. The Jones Falls provided cheap, reliable energy---waterpower—to Baltimore’s burgeoning industry. The first merchant flour mill was constructed upstream in 1711, and by 1800, the river powered 12 such mills. Their proximity to the Chesapeake Bay allowed merchants to coordinate milling and shipping operations, making Baltimore the largest flour producer and exporter in the world in the early 19th century.

The Jones Falls also powered Baltimore’s textile industry. One of America’s first textile mills began operating on the Jones Falls at Mount Washington in 1810. Thirty years later, mills along the Jones Falls produced more than 80 percent of the cotton duck (sail cloth) in the country. The advent of steam power in the 1820’s freed industry from the stream valleys, allowing canneries and foundries to spring up close to the harbor. By the late

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19th century, Baltimore became America’s canning center, as well as the leading producer of copper, chrome, and iron goods.

Like all urban waterways, the lower Jones Falls became polluted from decades of industrial use. Meanwhile, periodic flooding caused significant damage. Baltimore officials responded by making the stream “disappear.” In 1914, they piped the Jones Falls underground and, in 1917, built the Fallsway, a two-mile long street, within the streambed. More than fifty years later, the Jones Falls Expressway (I-83) was built over the former stream. Today, environmental groups, government, and neighborhood associations are working to restore the health of the Jones Falls and its surroundings.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1711.
Location. 39° 17.202′ N, 76° 36.33′ W. Marker is in Baltimore, Maryland. It is in the Inner Harbor. Marker is on East Pratt Street just west of Falls Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Baltimore MD 21202, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Baltimore Riot Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Welcome (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Be A Part of Something Bigger Than A New Space: Baltimore History (about 300

Heritage Walk Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Don Morfe, April 10, 2011
2. Heritage Walk Marker
Bottom portion of the above marker.
feet away); The Candler Building (about 400 feet away); Discover Baltimore: Four Centuries of Change (about 400 feet away); Baltimore Slave Trade (about 600 feet away); Dr. William V. Lockwood (about 600 feet away); The Star Spangled Banner Flag was Born Here (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Baltimore.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 8, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 749 times since then and 64 times this year. Last updated on March 20, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 8, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 12, 2024