Lives were its engine ...
Imagine a working 1770’s 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 rescue its authentic history and to reveal Baltimore’s origins as a mercantile economy founded on iron, slavery, and unpaid labor. Carroll’s Hundred is ground zero of what became the diverse, post-industrial city we know today.
Our story focuses on the pioneers of that early plantation economy — particularly African enslaved people, European indentured workers, Native Americans. The plantation owners, 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 are learning 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 — long before the 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!
Historical Sites like Carroll’s Hundred are extremely rare. In fact, this is the only remaining plantation site in any American city. Its diverse racial fabric is evidence of America’s essential multi-cultural identity. The project to save Carroll’s Hundred has always been about saving this authentic American history. 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.