Step back in time through the centuries of Baltimore's rich history with our interactive time line. Beginning with the colonial era and running through the present day, discover Baltimore all over again.
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Port of Baltimore Opens
Baltimore Town Founded
Fell's Point Founded
Baltimore Town and Jones Town Merge
Baltimore Hosts Second Continental Congess
Lexington Market Opens
Incorporation of Baltimore City
USS Constellation Launched
Battle of Baltimore
First Roman Catholic Cathedral in US
B&O Railroad Chartered
Baltimore Sun Founded
First Preakness Stakes
Johns Hopkins Founds Hospital & University
Enoch Pratt Library Opens
Great Baltimore Fire
Thurgood Marshall Born
Nancy Pelosi Born
SS Patrick Henry Launched
Baltimore Orioles First Game
Greater Baltimore Committee Formed
1968 Baltimore Riot
Fell's Point Becomes a National Historic District
Bill & Fred Struever with Cobler Eccles begin restoring houses
Oriole Park at Camden Yards Opens
Baltimore Ravens Franchise Approved by the NFL
Sheila Dixon Becomes First Female Mayor
Dig Deeper and Explore More of Baltimore's Past
The timeline above only scratches the surface. Use these fantastic online resources for an in depth view of the historical events, persons, and milestones that have made an impact on today's Baltimore.
Colonial legislators designate Whetstone Point (known today as Locust Point) as an official Port of Entry for the burgeoning Maryland tobacco trade. With this act the Port of Baltimore was born and to this day it continues to be an integral part of Baltimorean's daily lives.
After seeing much growth in settlement along the Patapsco River, local citizens lobbied the colonial legislature for the creation of a town. The Carroll family offered a 60 acre tract of land near Cole's Harbor (now known as the Inner Harbor) in 1 acre lots. They named the 3 street town Baltimore Town in honor of Cecil Calvert 2nd Baron of Baltimore, founder of the Maryland Colony.
Shipbuilder William Fell purchases land to the East of Baltimore Town and Jones Town and named it Fell's Prospect. After his death his son Edward Fell (pictured) along with his wife and cousin, Ann Bond, began developing the land into its own town around 1763, they named the town Fell's Point. Fell's Point was a focal area for maritime industries such as shipbuilding, warehousing, docking, and sail making in Maryland up until the end of the 20th Century.
Shortly after its founding as a separate town in 1732 Jones Town, aka Old Town, merged with Baltimore Town to mark the first expansion of Baltimore. Baltimore would merge, expand, and annex neighboring lands several more times throughout the years before resting with its current boundaries form the last annexation in 1918.
Due to the advancement of British troops across New Jersey, the Second Continental Congress moved from their location in Philadelphia to Baltimore for a period of three months. After George Washington's victory in Trenton, NJ his powers were increased by the congress convening in Baltimore, effectively making him the de facto leader of the young nation.
General John Eager Howard, a hero of the American Revolution, donates the land for the Lexington Market, named for the Battle of Lexington, on his return from the war. It had been a pasture on his family's vast estate. The market became an immediate success and still thrives to this day.
Lexington market recently completed a thorough renovation in 2002 ensuring another 100 years of the market's operation.
Baltimore's population was rapidly increasing during the last decade of the 18th century (It would become the 3rd largest city in the Country by 1800). Due to this population rise citizens wanted more self governance. They were able to successfully incorporate as a city on the last day of 1796 along the way they dropped the Town from the name and became Baltimore City.
The first US Navy ship to enter service was launched from the Harris Creek Shipyard in Fell's Point on September 7, 1797. She was christened the USS Constellation and served in the US Fleet for more than 50 years, including campaigns against Tripoli and Great Britain.
During the War of 1812 the British targeted Baltimore after burning Washington DC for its concentration of privateers who had inflicted heavy casualties against Britain's merchant fleet. Due to the heavy fortification of Baltimore, the British forces were not successful and they were turned back. The defeat of the British at Baltimore was considered one of the turning points of the war. The battle at Fort McHenry where George Armistead(pictured) commanded was Francis Scott Key's inspiration for The Star Spangled Banner.
After 15 years of construction, the first Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States is completed and consecrated by the Bishop of Baltimore. The Cathedral was later elevated to a Basilica and it was recently renovated in time for the celebration of it's bicentennial (200 years from the start of construction).
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was the first passenger railroad in the country and the first one to develop into a major rail system. It was a vital link from the Port of Baltimore to the interior of the Country. The B&O ceased to exist in 1986 after a long series of purchases, mergers, and acquisitions by other rail companies.
Arunah Shepherdson Abell founded The Baltimore Sun which continues to this day as the major daily newspaper of Baltimore City. Its motto is Light For All.
The first running of the Preakness Stakes takes place at the Pimlico Race Course. It would go on to become part of the triple crown of thoroughbred horse racing. The race was named in honor of the first horse to win a race at Pimlico three years prior. 1920 Preakness winner Man O' War pictured.
Wealthy Baltimore entrepreneur Johns Hopkins died in 1873. In his will he bequeathed most of the fortune made from the B&O Railroad to establish his namesake institutions of the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The university and hospital would soon change the way medicine was taught and practiced in the United States with its revolutionary emphasis on the integration of research, education, and patient care.
Local businessman Enoch Pratt donates more than $1million dollars for the establishment and endowment of a free public library for the citizens of Baltimore. It was one of the first institutions of its kind.
The Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 ignited on a Sunday morning and began to spread throughout Baltimore City. 30 hours and 70 blocks later the fire eventually was contained. There was over 150 million dollars of damage to property in the heart of Baltimore. Within two years reconstruction was complete and a better planned city emerged from the ashes.
Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, was born and raised in Baltimore. Upon his graduation from Howard Law School he began working with the NAACP to fight for equal civil rights for his fellow African Americans. He argued 32 cases before the Supreme Court and won 29 of them, including Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. He would later be appointed by President Kennedy to a Federal Appeals Court and 5 years later he would be appointed by President Johnson to the Supreme Court.
The first female Speaker of the US House of Representatives was born into a political family in Baltimore, MD. Speaker Pelosi married her college sweetheart and moved with him to his hometown of San Francisco where she began to get involved in the California Democratic Party. After years behind the scenes she took office as the US Representative for the California 5th district. In 2004 she rose to become the House Minority Leader and upon the Democratic Party assuming control of Congress in 2006 she was elected as the Speaker of the House.
Baltimore flexed its industrial might in World War II. Steel yards, factories, and ship yards produced extraordinary output. One highlight of the war effort was the launching of the first Liberty Ship, the SS Patrick Henry. The merchant cargo Liberty Ships were designed to be built quickly in order to keep allies supplied with vital arms, food, and supplies. She was launched on 9/14/1941 by FDR from the Bethlehem Fairfield Shipyard.
After decades of hyper growth fueled by immigration, Baltimore's population peaks in the 1950 census. Post World War II Baltimore began to spread into the outlying counties due to the rise of mechanized transportation and suburban development. While the Baltimore city population has been in decline, the Baltimore-Towson metro area has continued to rise with a 2004 estimate of 2.6 million.
Baltimore celebrated when they city landed a Major League Baseball club. The St Louis Browns relocated to Baltimore in 1954 and renamed themselves the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles would soon grow into the dominant team in the American League for a 25 year stretch from 1960 to 1985 finishing below .500 just twice, winning 3 world series, and 5 AL Championships.
Confronted with a deteriorating downtown and population shifts to the suburbs, Baltimore business leaders formed the Greater Baltimore Committee to improve the business environment of downtown Baltimore. This was the first group of leaders to recognize the need for renewing the urban core of the city. The GBC would go through several incarnations over the years and were responsible for much of the Inner Harbor and downtown renaissance of the later decades in the 20th Century.
Racial tensions in Baltimore and throughout the rest of the country exploded shortly after the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, TN. National Guard troops were called in to disperse the rioters. Over 1,000 fires were set, 6 people died, approximately 700 people were injured, and 80 million dollars(2007 figures) in property damage was reported.< /p>
A group of preservation activists form together to stop highway construction along the deteriorated Baltimore waterfront neighborhoods of Fell's Point and Federal Hill. They successfully campaigned to place Fell's Point on the National Register of Historic Districts, thus sparring some of the oldest neighborhoods in the Country from becoming a highway. Thanks to the efforts of the society Fell's Point and Federal Hill are now two of the nicest neighborhoods in Baltimore.
Three partners begin renovating houses in South Baltimore taking advantage of generous urban renewal incentives. They were highly successful and grew their operations to take on larger projects in commercial and residential zones. 30 years later Struever Bros, Eccles, & Rouse are one of the largest development firms in the city, responsible for reinvigorating many neglected neighborhoods and buildings throughout the country.
Thanks to the vision of Baltimore's local government and business leaders, the downtown waterfront district was no longer a derelict port area once developer James Rouse's and architect Benjamin C. Thompson's Harborplace project opened in 1980. This multi-building entertainment and retail project was and continues to be the anchor of Baltimore's largest attraction, the Inner Harbor.
April 22, 1992 revolutionized the concept of an American ballpark with the opening of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. This retro styled, fan friendly, downtown located, baseball only park redefined the sporting event experience, while also accelerating the revitalization of downtown Baltimore. It broke attendance records for years after it opened and ushered in a wave of similarly designed stadiums throughout the Country.
After Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell announced his intentions to move his team to Baltimore, the NFL brokered a deal where the Cleveland team would be reactivated in a few years while the new Baltimore Ravens would be considered an expansion team. Four years later the new Baltimore Ravens won their first Super Bowl and the pain of losing the Colts in 1984 was finally healed for many Baltimoreans.
City Council President Sheila Dixon became Mayor of Baltimore City on January 17, 2007 upon the ascension of Mayor Martin O'Malley to the Governor's Office in Annapolis. Mayor Dixon will serve out the remainder of Governor O'Malley's term and she is expected to run for a full term in the 2007 Mayoral Election.