“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)

An Active Port for 300 Years

The Port of Baltimore

An Active Port for 300 Years Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 16, 2010
1. An Active Port for 300 Years Marker
Inscription.  Proximity to the Chesapeake Bay has been the driving force in Baltimore's eminence in commerce and transportation. But the story of Baltimore's port is actually older than Baltimore itself. In 1706 - two decades before the founding of Baltimore - Maryland's colonial legislators designated Whetstone Point, near where Fort McHenry now sits, as an official port of entry for the state's tobacco trade with England. As the century progressed, five small ports - all within a few miles of each other - merged to become the Port of Baltimore. Meanwhile local development of the highly maneuverable Baltimore Clipper ships and the rise of the fabric and flour mill industries further stimulated international trade, especially to and from the Caribbean. By the early 19th century, Baltimore was the third-largest city in the U.S. By the early 20th century, Baltimore was the second-largest seaport in the U.S. for waterborne commerce. Today, the Port of Baltimore's economic engine continues to have a huge regional impact, generating about $2 billion in revenue annually, and employing 16,500 Marylanders in direct jobs.

The Right Location
An Active Port for 300 Years Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 16, 2010
2. An Active Port for 300 Years Marker
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thrived as a port city from the start because of its favorable geographic position. Twelve miles up the Patapsco River from the Chesapeake Bay, Baltimore is 200 miles closer to midwest markets than any other eastern port. Goods placed on a boat could be transported to America's heartland faster and cheaper by being routed up the Chesapeake Bay and the Patapsco. The launch of America's first commercial railroad here in 1828 further fueled Baltimore's economy. By 1906 the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad connected to 13 states, bringing raw materials to Baltimore to be turned into manufactured goods and shipped around the world.

Chesapeake Connection
Along with the perfect location for Baltimore's port, the Chesapeake Bay also offered an abundance of natural resources that stimulated Baltimore's early initiatives in manufacturing and trade. Hardwood for shipbuilding and waterpower for milling and weaving provided the means for sea captains and merchants to sail down the Bay and out to the oceans of the world.
Erected by Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1706.
Location. 39° 17.155′ N, 76° 36.595′ W. Marker is in Inner Harbor in Baltimore
Baltimore's Inner Harbor image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, May 16, 2010
3. Baltimore's Inner Harbor
Seen from Federal Hill Park.
, Maryland. Marker is on East Pratt Street, on the right when traveling east. Located along the Baltimore Inner Harbor walkway. 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. Top of the World Observation Level World Trade Center (here, next to this marker); Together we remember the people of Maryland who perished on 9.11.2001 (within shouting distance of this marker); Baltimore Riot Trail (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Great Baltimore Oyster Partnership (about 300 feet away); USS Constellation (about 300 feet away); The Port of Baltimore (about 300 feet away); Lightship Chesapeake (about 300 feet away); Historic Ships in Baltimore (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Inner Harbor.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 24, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,109 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 24, 2010, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.

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May. 14, 2021