What Is Fells Point?
When people think about Baltimore, they have mixed images from recent (and not so recent) cultural highlights. Riots, The Wire, Homicide: Life on the Street, and maybe House of Cards (if you're aware that it was all filmed in Baltimore and not D.C.).
These are not representative of Baltimore. These are singular events, or mainly Hollywood interpretive stories, and there is so much more in Baltimore than most know.
We'll start with Fells Point, which is the name of one of Baltimore's most lively neighborhoods. It just happens to be the site of Bite of Baltimore's flagship food tour!
Where can you go to find beautiful Colonial row-homes and Belgium Brick streets? Where can you find bars and pubs as old as the US? Where can you hear tales of Privateering and Pioneering? Where can you find a culinary and craft brewing movement? Where do you go when you want to find small and independent shops, boutiques, and eateries? Look no further than Fells Point!
How It All Began
Just East of the Inner Harbor of Baltimore, you'll find Fells Point. Originally known as "Fells Prospect", this area was purchased by a quaker immigrant from England, named William Fell, in 1730. As a shipbuilder, the deeper water off the point was ideal for a shipyard, and William worked the land until he passed in 1746. In that time, he had grown his families plot to over 1000 acres, and that inheritance passed to his only son, Edward Fell. The property continued as a shipyard until 1763, when Edward and his wife Ann Bond Fell took the initiative to sub-divide the waterfront into leased plots. They attracted merchants, shipbuilders, and all sorts until Edward passed in 1766. Ann Bond continued to manage the land, with her only son William (named for his grandfather). Sadly, William passed in his early 20's. As the war with England pressed the whole country, the management of Fells Point was lapsed without any clear heir.
As the dust settled from our war with England, the city of Baltimore was formed in 1797, with Fells Point annexed by political and bureaucratic measures. Moving forward, the City of Baltimore was a formidable financial and strategic port, thanks in many parts to the small area known as Fells Point.
As a port and major point of influx, Fells Point has seen waves of immigrants pass on the streets. The area around Fells Point has strong Polish and Italian ties, as East Baltimore is strongly Greek and northern Fells is Hispanic. West of Fells Point is Little Italy, and historically Jewish. The cultural melting pot is staggering, and adds a rich diversity to the small district.
Fells Point Here And Now
Today, the rehabilitation of Baltimore has seen Fells Point become a highly sought after neighborhood. You can find colonial houses that hearken back 200 years to the turn of the 1700-1800's. You can see the effects of industrialization and manufacturing that ruled Fells in the early 1900's. You can find the Belgium Block, that was used in 1700's to ballast the ships in transit, still line the street. With dozens of restaurants, bars, pubs, and shops, the old Harbor and Market feel of the district is very much alive.
The beauty of Fells Point has only been exemplified over the last decade. Now that the neighborhood has become so sought after, the residential blocks surrounding have become completely rehabilitated and contemporary. This has led to the central Market on Broadway seeing rehabilitation and renovation in the past few years and continuing now. Every historic warehouse and industrial peek into the past have been revitalized as offices, shops, breweries, and residences. The essence of the neighborhood seethes with character, and many outdoor cafe's and restaurants give the waterfront neighborhood an almost European feel.
Lastly, the recent investment in nearby land has tied the waterfronts from the Inner Harbor, Harbor East, Little Italy, and Fells Point together. You can clearly and safely walk and stroll along the water, as you take in the revitalized Baltimore area. This leads to many and more opportunities for business, residential, and social engagements within the city, and Fells Point has maintained the historic and unique appeal that gives it character. The area begs to tell you a story that spans nearly 250 years, and is filled with intrigue, war, capitalism, seaports, and sailors. Come enjoy our little neighborhood, and learn about the roles we played historically, presently, and how we're looking to the future.