Prior to 1729, the town of Fells Point consisted of three homes, several tobacco houses, an orchard, and a mill. In 1797 Fells Point was incorporated into Baltimore town as the Debtor Hundred, a parcel of land that included all the Fell family holdings, both the Point and the higher ground to the north then known as Fells Prospect. Today the area is called Upper Fells Point.

Fells Point was largely responsible for shaping the ethnic character of Upper Fells as it exists today. The first wave of immigrants were the Irish, establishing the second Catholic Church in Baltimore, St. Patrick's, in 1792. A few years later, this was the site of the first free school in Baltimore. It was academically rigorous and admitted poor children of all races and religions. The Irish and African-Americans lived side by side with the newer German immigrants.

By 1860, one quarter of the population of Baltimore was German. By the 1880's East Baltimore canneries and clothing sweatshops were providing employment to hordes of newcomers. Bohemians, Scandinavians, Italians, Poles and Czechs found work and lodging in Upper Fells Point. These groups were joined by the Lithuanians and Greeks in the early 1900's. The Depression caused many of the larger homes in the area to be divided into multi-family dwellings. Adding to our ethnic diversity is a Hispanic population.

Fells Point, as it exists today, is the recipient of a rich ethnic background, with a history of diversity and tolerance.

History  ..............
Fell’s Point is the oldest section of
Baltimore and one of the country’s oldest
ports. The English settlement of this area
began in 1726. Baltimore Town was established
in 1729, as a separate entity to the
west. In 1730 an English Quaker, William
Fell, bought land on a marshy hook that jutted
into the Patapsco River. He called his
tract of land “Fell’s Prospect,” sensing the
Point’s possibilities for shipping and shipbuilding.
The river offered a deep-water
anchorage, which enabled seagoing vessels
to send smaller boats back and forth from
shore with cargo. Within a few years, ships
would anchor off Fell’s Point.
In 1763, William’s son, Edward Fell, laid
out streets and lots. Edward’s wife, Ann
Bond Fell, sold parcels of land to newcomers
eager to take advantage of the economic
boom fomented by the American Revolution
and its aftermath. In 1773, after a generation
of political independence, Fell’s Point was
annexed by Baltimore Town. In 1797, Fell’s
Point was incorporated as Baltimore City
along with Jonestown to the west and
Baltimore Town, situated around the
inner basin.

Source: Point of Entry: Baltimore, the Other Ellis Island
by William Connery

What's in a Name