Lives were its engine ...
Imagine a working 1770s plantation with enslaved and indentured labor, Native Americans, free farmers, and gentry — in what is now Southwest Baltimore’s Pigtown. This was Carroll’s Hundred, a mere ten-minute walk from today’s Inner Harbor. Our mission is to separate its authentic history from popular colonial myth to reveal Baltimore’s true origins as a mercantile economy — one founded on iron, slavery, and unpaid labor. Carroll’s Hundred is ground zero for anyone wanting to better understand the diverse, post-industrial city we live in today.
Because so much has been written about the land-owning Carroll family that owned the plantation, our story focuses on the forgotten pioneers that worked it — the African enslaved people, European indentured workers, and Native Americans. Charles and Margaret Carroll could not have survived and prospered without the vital support of the Harden, Lynch, Hall, Coney, and other enslaved families, who we have learned about through archaeological and geneaological research.
The Carrolls and this diverse labor force were culturally and economically interdependent. This was not New England, nor the Southern Low Country, but the Upper Chesapeake. Carroll’s Hundred and its iron foundry were at the center of one of the greatest technological experiments in human history — the mass production of goods — giving rise to the English industrial revolution of the nineteenth century.
It took place here! The pioneers of Carroll’s Hundred-on-Patapsco forged the enterprise that became “The Port That Built a City”. It’s past time we understood and celebrated their achievement!
Carroll’s Hundred is a rare urban treasure! It is the only remaining plantation landscape in any American city. The recovery of its nationally significant African American history is imperative if we are to educate the public about this critically important story. Now, more than ever, Baltimore’s unique #BlackLivesMatter story must be given its prominent and accurate place in the history of our nation’s founding.
The Carroll’s Hundred website is also part of our larger public education and information advocacy campaign to revive the living heart of this and other Baltimore neighborhoods.
For more, see The Otobo Project.