Know More About Baltimore: Then and Now

Baltimore had gone a long way for it to become what it is now. Its long history has contributed well to the Baltimore we knew today. It is always refreshing to reminisce the old Baltimore and compare it to the new one, seeing the difference at the same time appreciating the beauty of Baltimore.

First is the very popular Inner Harbor. Ron Cassie of Baltimore Magazine wrote an article about the then and now of Inner Harbor. Read the comparison below and know more about the Inner Harbor.

Then and Now: Inner Harbor

Image Courtesy of The Wayside Inn

There remains no more tangible evidence of Baltimore’s transformation from industrial port town to modern city and tourist destination than the Inner Harbor

There remains no more tangible evidence of Baltimore’s transformation from industrial port town to modern city and tourist destination than the Inner Harbor, which welcomed more than 14 million business and leisure travelers to Charm City in 2012. Redevelopment of the Inner Harbor began under former Mayor Theodore McKeldin in the mid-1960s, culminating with the christening of Harborplace in 1980 by then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer.

By the late 1700s, the Maryland colony and Port of Baltimore were national leaders in the shipbuilding industry. The famous Baltimore Clippers, appearing not long after the American Revolutionary War, were built for speed and use in the trading industry—not all of which was legal. And by the mid-19th century, the oyster canning industry—jumpstarted by the owners of the tin-can patent—was spawning a canning boom around the port, particularly in Canton.

In 1976, coinciding with America’s bicentennial, historic tall ships visited the Inner Harbor and the Maryland Science Center opened its doors, bringing millions of tourists to the city. A few years later, Harborplace, considered a model of redevelopment, opened and the Inner Harbor became the hub of the city’s tourism industry. It remains so today—even as the area expands with mixed-use commercial developments in nearby neighborhoods such as Harbor East, Fells Point, and Tide Point. Learn more here…

The inner harbor is considered one of the most popular attractions in Baltimore, knowing its historical background and its contribution to the city such as bringing millions of tourists to the Charm City, apart from it being the center of trading. Certainly nothing has changed to the inner harbor, still, it attracts millions of tourists to the city.

Next on our list of Baltimore’s then and now is the Baltimore Arabbers. Sydney Jenkins of Maryland Humanities wrote an article about the Arabber’s old history, new initiative. Find out more about this article below.

Old History, New Initiatives: The Baltimore Arabbers

“Watermelon, Watermelon, red to the rind!” “Grapes and Peaches Feeling Ripe!”

Image Source: Maryland Humanities

When I mention to Maryland natives that I am involved with the Arabbers Preservation Society, folks first tell me about the Arabber hollers they remember echoing down the streets when they were kids. They will have a fruit or vegetable holler that best reminds them of these Baltimore City produce hucksters. When I explain that I spend weekends hanging out at the Arabber yard, helping them to clean up the stables and supporting their efforts to sell vegetables via horse drawn cart and that today’s Arabbers are out of the streets every day promoting their unique methods of produce sales, the typical response is: “Wait, they’re still around?”

Arabbers have existed in Baltimore since the formation of the city in 1729. At their earliest inception they were called hucksters or street peddlers. In fact, street peddling as an occupation was common at one time in most American cities. New immigrants and other marginalized individuals with few opportunities to earn a living were able to quickly establish themselves as street peddlers.

By the 19th century Baltimore’s street peddling scene was unique from other cities for a geographic reason: Baltimore is a port city in a border state. Baltimore had the largest free African American population and was home to the second largest immigrant port on the East Coast, thus Baltimore’s band of street peddlers were numerous. See full post here…

These Arabbers are among the first inhabitants of Baltimore. As a matter of fact, they have been in existence in the city since 1729 and contributed a lot to the development of the city since then. They have earned a living in the city for so many years since then.

While we want to reminisce the good part of Baltimore’s history, there are also terrible events in Baltimore’s history that also helped shape Baltimore to what it is today. Emily Badger wrote an article in Washington Post about the long, painful, repetitive history of how Baltimore becomes Baltimore. Read the article below to learn more.

The Long, Painful and Repetitive History of How Baltimore Became Baltimore

Image Courtesy of Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Before there was a funeral and protest, then violence, curfews and canceled ballgames in Baltimore this week, there were other chapters in the life of this city that must be remembered.

Just a few years ago, Wells Fargo agreed to pay millions of dollars to Baltimore and its residents to settle a landmark lawsuit brought by the city claiming the bank unfairly steered minorities who wanted to own homes into subprime mortgages. Before that, there was the crack epidemic of the 1990s and the rise of mass incarceration and the decline of good industrial jobs in the 1980s.

And before that? From 1951 to 1971, 80 to 90 percent of the 25,000 families displaced in Baltimore to build new highways, schools and housing projects were black. Their neighborhoods, already disinvested and deemed dispensable, were sliced into pieces, the parks where their children played bulldozed.

And before that — now if we go way back — there was redlining, the earlier corollary to subprime lending in which banks refused to lend at all in neighborhoods that federally backed officials had identified as having “undesirable racial concentrations.”

These shocks happened, at least 80 years of them, to the same communities in Baltimore, as they did in cities across the country. Neighborhoods weakened by mass incarceration were the same ones divided by highways. Families cornered into subprime loans descended from the same families who’d been denied homeownership — and the chance to build wealth — two generations earlier. People displaced today by new development come from the same communities that were scattered before in the name of “slum clearance” and the progress brought by Interstate highways. Know more about this historical event here…

There are terrible events in Baltimore; the funeral and protest, the violence, among others over the years also helped in shaping the Charm City to become a progressive city. These bad moments in Baltimore’s history should also serve as lessons for the modern city to become better than the past.

There are more to learn from Baltimore’s past, especially the most important chapters in its history en route to becoming a better Baltimore. If you want to learn more about Baltimore’s history, visit us on

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