Solo Gibbs Park was created in 1979 when 1-395 was built. The 1869 Sachse Bird's Eye View Illustrated Map shows the once larger neighborhood where, since the late 1700s a free African American community lived, worked and worshipped along side European descendant Quakers, Methodists, Baptists, and Lutherans. Baltimore's African Americans organized some of their first churches and schools near here on Sharp Street. Together these people promoted the abolition of slavery and participated in the Underground Railroad network that aided runaway slaves. Similar cooperation later defeated plans to construct 1-95 through Sharp-Leadenhall, Otterbem, Federal Hill, and Fells Point. This community continues to work to sustain affordable housing for people who can trace their family history to the beginning of Baltimore City.
This park and recreation cetner is named in honor of Solo Gibbs (1912-1977) for his passionate work organizing neighborhood youth in recreational activities. Gibbs is proudly seen in his band uniform.
The Hamburg Street Bridge was renamed in honor of Reverend Mildred Moon (1941-1992) who led this community's fight against highway construction and for affordable housing. She was passionate, gracious and highly effective.
Frederick Douglass (1818-1894) joined the Sharp Street Methodist Church in 1836, escaped from slavery in 1838, and became a renowned spokesperson for the abolition movement. Local lore says he planted the english elm tree standing at Hill and Sharp Streets.