opening gate, 1729-1800
during this time, Jonathan Swift publishes Gulliver's Travels. Handel conducts
his Messiah, and the British Museum opens.
to Mount Clare (now in Carroll Park) to learn what the terrain looked like
before the town grew. At Mount Clare, one of the prominent Carrolls-Charles
Carroll, Barrister-with others established an iron foundry and built the mansion
that you can visit. Downriver from Mount Clare three settlements were founded
and slowly prospered: Fells Point became the deep-water port and ship building
center, Jones Town (now part of Old Town) developed as a kind of suburb of Fells
Point, and Baltimore-Town soon attracted businessmen and fashion. By the end of
the eighteenth century, the three had merged.
first big promoter of the city, Dr. John Stevenson, instituted shipping
wheat and flour abroad. That proved a smart move because abundant grain grew nearby,
waterpower form piedmont streams turned mill wheels, and shipbuilding became a
major industry. In addition, a site on the Great Eastern Road between Philadelphia
and the South complemented its water road. Voyaging up the Chesapeake brought
ships 100 miles nearer the interior of the continent than other cities.
Baltimore of 1780 seen through the eyes of a visitor, was "so conceited,
so bustling and debonair, growing up like a chubby boy, with his dumpling cheeks
and short, grinning face, fat and mischievous, and bursting incontinently out
of his clothes."
rising town attracted immigrants by the boatload. Leadership arrived with merchants
from Northern Ireland. They were said to be of the Venetian stamp because of their
wealth and civic pride. These men sometimes married into families of the landed
gentry. Whether they did or not, they together formed what to some observers was
an aristocracy of talent. Together they built the village into a city.
delegate to the Continental Congress, Samuel Adams, reported that "we
have done more important business here in six weeks than we have done, or I believe
should have been done, in Philadelphia in six months." Another delegate,
however, wrote home, "If you desire to deep out of the damndest hole on earth,
come not here."
with the merchants was John Eager Howard, who served as an officer with
the Maryland Line throughout the Revolution. As inheritor from his mother of most
of Baltimore, he oversaw development. As promoter he gave land for public use,
urged the commission to lay out streets, and generally pushed the city ahead.
on Baltimore Street, John Pendleton Kennedy remembered 1800 Baltimore as
having "passed out of the village phase, but it had not got out of the village
.Society had a more aristocratic air than now-not because the
educated and wealthy assumed more, but because the community itself had a better
appreciation of personal worth, and voluntarily gave it the healthful privilege
of taking the lead in the direction of manners and in the conducting of public
affairs." And, he added, "How sadly we have retrograded in these perfections