City and State: Baltimore, Maryland
Type of district: National Register Historic District
Major Intersection: Elliott Street and Linwood Avenue
Canton was originally developed as an industrial community by the Canton Company, a real estate development firm that began building this area of southeast Baltimore in the 1830s. Its intent was to lay out streets and erect and construct wharves, slips, workshops, factory stores and residences on the approximately 3,000 acres of undeveloped land it owned. The development was a success, and a variety of industries moved into the area. By 1850 there were three iron furnaces and one forge, a cotton mill, a steam saw mill, a distillery, a candle and lard oil factory, a rope walk, two shipyards, and seven brickyards. The original depot and shops of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad were located in Canton, as was the Baltimore Copper Smelting Company. Combined, they employed 900 people, most of whom resided with their families in the Canton area.
The workers’ houses were uniform in size, proportion and style. Two or three stories in height, they were constructed by private builders who purchased or leased land from the Company. As industry increased over the years and more people moved to Canton, residential development spread northeast to Highlandtown and nearby Patterson Park. Residential development in Canton ceased with the last row houses being built on the only remaining parcel of land in 1907.