Fells Point, Baltimore


Fells Point, Baltimore

Infobox_nrhp | name =Fells Point Historic District
nrhp_type = hd


|350px
caption = Storefronts along the cobblestoned Thames Street
location= Baltimore, Maryland
locmapin = Maryland
area =
architect= multiple
architecture= Italianate, Greek Revival
added = March 28, 1969
governing_body = Local
refnum=69000319cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]

Fells Point is a neighborhood in Baltimore, Maryland, home to a variety of shops, restaurants, coffee bars, music stores, and over 120 pubs. Located on the harbor and famous for its maritime past, it now boasts the greatest concentration of pubs/bars in the city. This waterfront community is a much-visited location in Baltimore, accessible by water taxi, freeway, and several bus lines. The neighborhood has also been the home of large Polish, Irish, and Mexican-American populations throughout its history. In recent years an ever-greater number of yuppies have also moved into the neighborhood, being brought in by the gentrification of the area. Fells Point is one of several areas in and around Baltimore that are listed on the National Register of Historic Districts.

History

Founded in 1730 by William Fell, who was attracted by its beautiful deep water and proximity to agriculture and thick forests, Fells Point became a shipbuilding and commercial center. About 1763, William's son Edward Fell laid out streets and began selling plots for homes. The town grew quickly, and eventually incorporated with Baltimore Town and Jones Town in 1797 to form the City of Baltimore. The area grew wealthy on the tobacco, flour, and coffee trades through the 18th and 19th centuries.

Some of the first vessels commissioned for the US Navy were built in Fells Point yards, including the USS "Constellation" in 1797. However, the area became best known for producing topsail schooners, sometimes erroneously called Baltimore clippers, renowned for their great speed and handling. They were excellent blockade runners, and were frequently used as armed privateers. The Pride of Baltimore II is based on the "Chasseur", built by Thomas Kemp, which was one of the most successful privateers built in Fells Point.

During the War of 1812, Fells Point built and supported dozens of privateers who preyed on British shipping. Thus, Baltimore became a principal target of the British during the war, which eventually led to the bombardment of Fort McHenry.

Another growth industry in Fells Point was immigration, and it became a major point of entry into the United States. Since jobs were plentiful in shipbuilding and in the warehouses and factories, many of the immigrants stayed in Fells Point. This added to the multi-cultural fabric of the area, but also caused the more affluent to move into other parts of the city.

Fells Point remained a shipbuilding center until the Civil War, when it could no longer accommodate larger ship designs. Likewise, the shipping industry slowly moved away to larger facilities. The area transitioned into manufacturing, with innovations in canning and packing. The neighborhood also escaped serious damage during the Baltimore Fire of 1904 which destroyed the downtown area. Eventually much of the manufacturing left the city, resulting in a decline in the neighborhood until preservationists organized to save the area's historic buildings.

In 1965, transit planners proposed to link I-83 and I-95 by building an elevated highway along the north shore of the Baltimore harbor. This project would have entailed extensive demolition within Fells Point, and the highway would have cut off the remainder of the neighborhood from the waterfront. A freeway revolt against the proposals was raised by local residents and derailed the project. One of the leaders of the revolt was Barbara Mikulski, who would go on to become a Senator from Maryland.

Fells Point achieved some fame as the central setting for the 1990s network police drama "", and has been the site of many films shot in Baltimore.

Fells Point, located to the East of the Inner Harbor, suffered extensive flooding during Hurricane Isabel in September 2003.

Demographics

As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 3,050 people residing in the neighborhood. The racial makeup of Fells Point was 81.3% White, 7.5% African American, 0.5% Native American, 3.0% Asian, 4.5% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 10.3% of the population. 37.0% of occupied housing units were owner-occuped. 17.4% of housing units were vacant.

68.8% of the population were employed, 3.0% were unemployed, and 27.1% were not in the labor force. The median household income was $46,167. About 7.5% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line.

Notable Residents

*Michael Phelps - Gold Medal Olympian

References


* Norman G. Rukert; "The Fells Point Story" (Bodine & Associates, Inc; 1976 ISBN 0910254117

External links

* [http://www.fellspointdevelopment.com./ Fells Point Main Streets Web Site]
* [http://www.fellspoint.us/ Fells Point Web Site]
* [http://www.fellspointghost.com/guide.html Fells Point Guide]
* [http://www.fellspointghost.com/ Fells Point Ghost Tours]
* [http://www.preservationsociety.com/ Fells Point Preservation Society Web Site]
* [http://www.fpinc.org/ Fells Prospect Community Association Web Site]
* [http://www.upperfellspoint.org/ Upper Fells Point Community Association Web Site]
* [http://censusprofile.bnia.org/Fells%20Point%20Demographic%20Profile.pdf Demographics from Neighborhood Indicators Alliance]
* [http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/baltimore/index.htm Baltimore, Maryland, a National Park Service "Discover Our Shared Heritage" Travel Itinerary]


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