The landscape of Historic Jonestown reveals four centuries of American History. From 18th and 19th century landmarks to vestiges of an immigrant past, from signs of 20th ceentury decline to a bold 21st century rebirth, its streetscapes tell an epic story of urban change and diversity.
Prominent Americans once lived here alongside ordinary people who strove to find their place in "The Promised Land." From the 1790s to 1830s, the neighborhood housed a vibrant mixture of wealthy elites, merchants, artisans, and laborers, including African Americans both free and enslaved. The richest man in America lived here: Charles Carroll, the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence/ His neighbor, Mary Pickersgill, sewed the flag that inspired our National
anthem. By the 1840s, the upper classes had departed, to be replaced by German and Irish immigrants. East Europeans and Italians arrivewd later in the century. By the early 1900s, Lombard Street had become the bustling market center of a sprawling immigrant Jewish communitiy 9and later earned the nickname "Corned Beef Row").
Like other mid-20th century inner neighborhoods, Jonestown endured the exodus of city dwellers to suburbia and the upheavals of large-scale urban renewal. Public housing high rises reshaped the terrain, as did destruction from citywide riots following the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The neighborhood fought back, led by the Jonestown Planning Council, a national leader in grassroots organization. With its high rises replaced by mixed-income housing designed in Baltimore's traditional rowhouse style, a "shipsteading" initiative that re-established small businesses, and Heritage Walk- a project celebrating its many museums and historic sites-Jonestown has built on its past to rejuvenate itself.
Jonestown, founded in 1732, was Baltimore's rival before the two towns merged in 1745.
A close up of Moale's 1752 map of Baltimore. The river on the right is the Jones Falls. Peering from behind the hill are houses in Jonestown.
Jonestown in 1804, as depicted by artist Francis Guy. The First Baptist Meeting House (1773), on the far left, was replaced by the Shot Tower in 1828x. Christ Protestant Episcopal Church (1796-1829) sits directly left of the Baltimore Street Bridge.
Lombard Street, 1930. "They were streets of constant carnival, full of lift, milling crowds and moving pushcarts and street vendors hasking their wares seven days a week."-
Frieda Faiman, proprietor of a Lombard Street dry goods store.
Lombard Street still bustled with activity in the 1960s.
In 2001, Baltimore became the first city in the country to complete demolition of all its family high rise public housing projects. Jonestown was rebuilt by recreating original street patterns and reintroducing rowhouses and mixed retail into the neighborhood.