The seaport has a distinguished history, beginning in 1706 when it became a point of export for Maryland tobacco products to England. In 1794, construction of Fort McHenry began as protection for the Port and City. During the 18th century, the Port was at the center of activity as our nation began developing trade with China. During the War of 1812, at the base of one of Baltimore’s early port locations, Locust Point, Fort McHenry played a role immortalized by Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner. At the Battle of North Point, during the same period, not far from what is now Dundalk Marine Terminal, volunteers helped stem a part of the advance of the British on Washington, DC.
During the 1950’s, the Port was the subject of a popular local television show hosted by then newspaper reporter, Helen Delich. The title of the show, “The Port That Built a City”, featured subjects that were impacting the growth of the Port of Baltimore, and maintained quite a following for a Sunday afternoon. Ms Delich went on to become Chairwoman of the Federal Maritime Commission and soon after, a Maryland Congressional Representative. She continued to be an avid supporter of the Port and in 2006, as the Port celebrated its 300th Anniversary, the State of Maryland honored her memory, naming the Port “The Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore”.
Today, the Port is a mix of both public and private facilities that surround the historic sites. The state owns the largest portions of the Port of Baltimore, managed by the Maryland Port Administration, part of the Maryland Department of Transportation. Access from the open sea to the Port, a 50 mile steam up the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean, features a 50’ deep channel. The 50’ channel depth was completed to benefit the Bethlehem Steel plant at Sparrows Point, then Baltimore’s largest employer. Bethlehem Steel became one of Baltimore’s largest importers as well as exporters, in addition to its activities as a shipbuilder during World War II. Today, Bethlehem Steel is no longer operating at the facility…
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