Then and Now: Inner Harbor

There remains no more tangible evidence of Baltimore’s transformation from industrial port town to modern city and tourist destination than the Inner Harbor
Edited by Ron Cassie - May 2014

Then and Now: Inner Harbor

There remains no more tangible evidence of Baltimore’s transformation from industrial port town to modern city and tourist destination than the Inner Harbor
Edited by Ron Cassie - May 2014

There remains no more tangible evidence of Baltimore's transformation from industrial port town to modern city and tourist destination than the Inner Harbor, which welcomed more than 14 million business and leisure travelers to Charm City in 2012. Redevelopment of the Inner Harbor began under former Mayor Theodore McKeldin in the mid-1960s, culminating with the christening of Harborplace in 1980 by then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer.

By the late 1700s, the Maryland colony and Port of Baltimore were national leaders in the shipbuilding industry. The famous Baltimore Clippers, appearing not long after the American Revolutionary War, were built for speed and use in the trading industry—not all of which was legal. And by the mid-19th century, the oyster canning industry—jumpstarted by the owners of the tin-can patent—was spawning a canning boom around the port, particularly in Canton.

In 1976, coinciding with America's bicentennial, historic tall ships visited the Inner Harbor and the Maryland Science Center opened its doors, bringing millions of tourists to the city. A few years later, Harborplace, considered a model of redevelopment, opened and the Inner Harbor became the hub of the city's tourism industry. It remains so today—even as the area expands with mixed-use commercial developments in nearby neighborhoods such as Harbor East, Fells Point, and Tide Point.


Did you know?

Making Connections

Pedestrian Bridge

A pedestrian bridge connecting Federal Hill and Harbor East is just one of the highlights of an ambitious “Inner Harbor 2.0" redevelopment plan released by city officials last fall.

Find the Best in Baltimore

You May Also Like


The Chatter

Baltimore County Public Schools Could Stay Open During Jewish Holidays

The community weighs in on decision that would change 20-year-old policy.

The Chatter

Partial Eclipse, Lots of Clouds, and Total Fun

Maryland Science Center draws 3,000 to eclipse viewing event.

News & Community

Hit the Nail on the Head

South Baltimore tool nonprofit celebrates its fifth anniversary.


The Chatter

Local Journalist Uncovers Heritage of Anti-Immigration Conservatives

Jennifer Mendelsohn digs deep into the art of genealogy research.

News & Community

Cameo: Heidi Daniel

We talk to the new CEO and president of Enoch Pratt Free Library.

The Chatter

Bike Share Temporarily Shut Down

Theft, vandalism and maintenance issues force retooling on cusp of one-year anniversary of city program.

Connect With Us

Most Read


Our Picks for the Best Fall Arts Events
The fall creative calendar is bursting with concerts, exhibits, and theatrical happenings.

110 Years of Covering Baltimore
We celebrate a milestone and reflect on longevity.

Small World
Small batch products are bigger than ever.

Friendsgiving Feast
Raise a glass to the old and the new—start an epic tradition with friends closest to you!

Small Print
Local brand Worthy Threads puts the cool back in kids clothing.