What a change a century has seen. One hundred years ago the waterfront all around Baltimore harbor was all industrial and commercial. There is still some of that but now there are office buildings, condos, marinas, restaurants and more. Large companies and small have helped shape the change.
One example is Baltimore Railings & Stairs who does metal fabrication. They built a metal roofed patio cover for a swimming pool next to the water. They have also created glass and metal entranceways for restaurants and a variety of railings and stairs for condos around the waterfront. This is just one example of many of a variety of companies changing the face of Baltimore.
At one point if you were at the inner harbor you couldn’t see the water. Why you might ask. There were buildings two stories high lining the harbor with piers going out into the harbor from the buildings. Ships would sail in and later power in and tie up at the piers. In some cases they were transporting people who would disembark and the people waiting in the waiting room of the building would then get on board. Other ships would unload their goods which would be stored temporarily in the buildings surrounding the harbor until they were transported to other locations or sold.
A lot of what came in was food from all over the Chesapeake region and up and down the East Coast. It was far easier and cheaper to transport goods by ship than by wagon. The roads were poor and you couldn’t fit that much in a wagon or the early trucks. The waterways were in essence the superhighways of today.
Unfortunately, the mindset back then was that nature was inexhaustible and the Bay was a great place to get rid of things. So if they noticed rotten food it got tossed in the harbor. On summer days it apparently could have an exceedingly ripe smell to put it mildly.
What a difference to today. There are boats designed to go around the harbor and scoop up trash. There are floating wetlands to recreate some of the wetlands that have been lost around the harbor. These help absorb some of the pollution that runs into the harbor. Plus there is that crazy water wheel at the mouth of the Jones Falls that picks up trash from Jones Falls before it can make it into the harbor. There is a long way to go, but what a difference in attitude from 100 years ago.