Inner Harbor (Baltimore)
Location Name: Inner Harbor (Baltimore, Maryland)
Location Type: Neighborhood
Year Founded: 1706
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor district is the oldest portion of the historic city as well as its’ most vibrant. Located at the end of the northwestern branch of the Patapsco River, the historic seaport was designated as an official port of entry for the Maryland tobacco trade in 1706. As the harbor saw increasing use, the citizens of the area lobbied the Maryland legislature in 1729 for the creation of a town. Founded that year, the Town of Baltimore was built upon a 60-acre tract of land surrounding the harbor donated by the Carroll family. The historic seaport became one of the main economic centers along the eastern seaboard. Though its’ history is long and proud, the harbor began to experience a decline in the 1950s as economic shifts ended freight and passenger use of the Inner Harbor. The following years saw a major decline in Baltimore. With de-industrialization testing the local economy the city’s Inner Harbor became blighted and unattractive.
In 1968, the first phase of urban renewal in the Inner Harbor began. Empty buildings were demolished and the land was cleared for a transformation of the waterfront; parks and plazas replaced old warehouses and piers. The surrounding portion of Downtown’s plan was to include new office buildings, hotels and leisure attractions to attract tourism to the historic harbor. In 1969 the USS Constellation moved to Pier One becoming the Inner Harbor’s first tourist attraction. The 1970s saw the completion of the public wharf on the harbor’s west shoreline, the Maryland Science Center and the 28-story World Trade Center and its’ Top of the World observation deck.
The 1980s saw continued growth of the Inner Harbor as a tourism center. Harborplace, a multi-building entertainment and retail project opened in 1980; it is now anchors the district providing numerous shops and restaurants with a beautiful view of the waterfront. In 1981 the Pier Six concert pavilion, the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Baltimore Maritime Museum are added to the list of world-class attractions on the harbor. Throughout the 1980s, Baltimore’s Downtown began to respond to the influx of visitors. Many office buildings and hotels were opened and many are connected by a skywalk system. In 1987 the Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse was relocated to Pier Five and is now open to visitors.
The revival of the harbor has become a model for urban renaissance in cities around the world. Today, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor contains numerous tourist attractions as well as several entertainment and leisure opportunities. From the history of the four hundred year-old seaport to the modern night-life, the Inner Harbor has something for everyone.Sources