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Maryland's National Register Properties



Photo credit: Joseph Ames Thompson, 10/1985
Fells Point Historic District
Inventory No.: B-3714
Date Listed: 3/28/1969
Location: Baltimore, Baltimore City
Category: District
Period/Date of Construction: c. 1763-late 19th century
Boundary Description: Bounded by Broadway, Gough, Thames, Caroline, and Chester Streets
Description: Fells Point is a harborside residential and light industrial community that encompasses approximately 75 acres in the eastern section of the city of Baltimore. The character of its townscape is set by its groupings of small, 2 ½-story houses which were the homes of the seamen, ships carpenters, sailmakers, and other artisans involved in the port activities of the area. These smaller houses are interspersed with occasional larger, more elaborate 3 ½-story houses which were the homes of the owners of the shipyards for which the area was famous, and of prosperous merchants and sea captains. A few of the earliest houses in the area are built of wide beaded-edge clapboards, but the majority are of Flemish-bond brick, many with belt courses between the floors and molded brick watertables at the bases. Most of the approximately 475 houses within the boundaries of this historic area were built in the 18th and very early 19th centuries. Approximately 175 of these remain without significant alteration and the remainder have only been altered to the extent of having the roof raised to form a full third story. The area also has some interesting pre-Civil War warehouses such as "Brown’s Wharf", and a few good Victorian buildings which mark the end of the building period in Fells Point. One of the area’s most significant features is the large open market square on the water at the foot of Broadway, which dates from the 18th century and still has the stall numbers carved in the curbstones. Significance: Fells Point is a unique 18th century residential neighborhood embracing a still active port and having much of its original architecture and its original town plan intact. William Fell, a Quaker, settled and built his first storehouse on what later became Fells Point some time prior to 1763, when the section was laid out as a town by Edward Fell, his son. By 1770 a bustling harbor settlement had been established which traded Maryland’s agricultural products with Europe and the West Indies. Fells Point was incorporated into Baltimore Town in 1773. The shipbuilding industry here is best remembered for the Baltimore clippers used in the War of 1812.
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