The Hollins Street Market

Baltimore's unique public market system dates back to 1763, when the first market was erected at Gay and Baltimore streets with funds raised through a lottery. Eleven markets eventually encircled the heart of Baltimore City, each serving a distinct neighborhood and clientele. Hollins Market is the oldest market still in use, and is still providing South Baltimore with fresh produce, meats, and prepared foods.

Conceived by Joseph Newman in 1835 and dedicated on a plot of ground donated to the City by George Dunbar, the Hollins Market was completed in September, 1836 and was hugely successful. In 1838, a severe windstorm wrecked the market. But Newman organized a rebuilding effort in 1839, and the market was ready by the end of the year to continue its successful existence to the present time. The market was named after John Hollins, whose family owned considerable land in the vicinity.

In l863 and again in l877, new market extensions were constructed, including the Italianate addition at the west end of the market. Interestingly, during the divisive civil war days, the Baltimore City Council refused to consider any bids for the construction of the market's addition that did not come from "parties…known to be thoroughly and unconditionally Union men."

Mt. Clare Station was erected one year before the market. Union Square was dedicated in l848, 10 years after the rebuilt market, 13 years after the first market (l836). Samuel Morse sent his message from Mt. Clare Station “What hath God wrought” over his new invention, the telegraph.

Famous Marylanders continued to patronize the market including ex-Governor Bradford, Maryland’s wartime Governor (Civil War), John W. Garrett later president of the B & O Railroad, who lived on Calhoun Street north of Fayette near Governor Bradford.

Camp Steuart was located at Baltimore Street and Fulton Avenue, a civil war post for Union soldiers. The Railroad riots of l877 occurred nearby.

By the l900’s, the Hollins Market witnessed an upturn in activities of all kinds, including political rallies, shows, balls, and gatherings of every kind. Even the young Maryland Institute of Art, now located on Mount Royal Avenue in Bolton Hill, used the hall after the original school building burned in 1905 on Market Place.

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