Canton, Baltimore

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Coordinates: 39°17′N 76°34.5′W / 39.283°N 76.5750°W / 39.283; -76.5750

Canton Historic District
Canton Square.jpg
The western end of O'Donnell Square
Location Baltimore, Maryland
Architect Multiple
Architectural style Late Victorian, Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 80001784[1]
Added to NRHP January 29, 1980

Canton is a neighborhood located in Baltimore, Maryland, United States. The neighborhood is located along Baltimore's outer harbor in the southeastern section of the city. Canton is traditionally considered centered on O'Donnell Square, a park bordered on the north and south by O'Donnell Street, to the east by South Potomac Street, and to the west by Linwood Avenue. O'Donnell Square is home to several bars and restaurants, an art gallery, a coffee shop and a number of other businesses and residences, as well as a former fire station.

In recent years new developments have added other focus areas to the neighborhood, including the Canton Waterfront Park and Maryland Korean War Memorial, the rehabilitated American Can Company building, two marinas and a public boat launch, the DuBurns Soccer Arena, and many other bars and restaurants. Canton is adjacent to or near the neighborhoods of Patterson Park, Fells Point, Highlandtown, and Greektown. It is roughly two miles east of Baltimore's downtown district.


The name Canton is derived from an earlier transliteration of Guangzhou, China (Canton). John O'Donnell was the first person to transport goods from Canton (Guangzhou) to Baltimore and named his plantation after it.

The Canton area was developed from the plantation of seaman John O’Donnell in the late 19th century by his son Columbus O’Donnell, and William Patterson and Peter Cooper. The land was sold for expanding waterfront industrial use and housing to support blue-collar workers. During the early 20th century, European immigrants settled in the area, most notably, Welsh, Irish, German and Polish. Welsh immigrants, primarily workers from South Wales, began settling in Baltimore in large numbers beginning in the 1820s. Welsh and Irish migrant workers composed a large portion of Baltimore's working class during the early and mid-1800s.[2] In 1850, a large community of copper workers from Wales settled in the neighborhood.[3] These workers established a Presbyterian church in 1865, located on Toone Street in Canton.[4]

In the past several years though, as industry moved out, new housing and marinas have been developed along the waterfront and gentrification of the existing housing has occurred further inland.

Enoch Pratt Free Library branch

The first branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, in operation since 1866, is in Canton on O’Donnell Square.

Housing stock[edit]

The majority of houses in Canton are turn-of-the-20th-century two- to three-story rowhouses on narrow or wide streets. Some of the homes closer to the water date from the Civil War. New townhouses have been built at Canton Square and the Anchorage, as well as on empty lots throughout the neighborhood. There are also waterfront apartments and condominiums in rehabilitated industrial buildings. Parking issues plague the area and residents usually have to compete with bar patrons and office workers for parking.[5]


External links[edit]