In 1730 William Fell, a carpenter by trade, set sail for Baltimore to join his brother Edward who had prospered in land purchases on the east side of Jones Falls adjacent to Baltimore town to the west. Soon after his arrival in Jones Town William purchased a 100 acre tract of land nearby which he named Fell's Prospect and started a small shipyard in the area of what is now Lancaster Street . Within a decade the area, now generally known as Fell's Point, began to prosper as a growing shipbuilding center developed along Thames Street. Early shipbuilders such as Mark Alexander and George Wells thrived along Thames Street in the vicinity of Caroline and Bond Streets. The importance of Fell's Point was to come to the forefront with the Revolutionary War and within four months Fell' Point shipbuilders had produced two ships for the Continental Navy and over 40 fast schooners for local merchants to serve as privateers, a very profitable, but risky, business.
By the end of the war Fell's Point was permanently established a major shipbuilding community. On March 27, 1794, Congress authorized the construction of six frigates; three 44 gun ships (one of which was the Constitution now at the Boston Naval yard), and three 36 gun frigates. The 36 gun frigates to be built were the Constellation to be build at Baltimore, the Congress to be built at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the United States to be built at Philadelphia. The U.S.F. Constellation was built at the Stodder shipyard along Harris Creek near Boston Street between 1794 and 1797. She was launched September 7, 1797.
Until the 1990s large ships were still permitted to dock here loading and unloading cargo for Rukert Terminals and taking on supplies from Vane Brothers Ship Chandlery who both operated out of this location. The 470 foot Lara S was one of the last of the large ships to dock here. A general cargo freighter, the Lara S was flagged out of Piraeus, Greece. She was built in 1972 in Nagoya, Japan by Ishikawajima Harima Heavy Industries with a hull specially strengthened for heavy cargos.
The tugboat to the left was the Moran tugboat Hawkins Point docked along the Recreation Pier building where Moran’s tugboats continue to dock today. The 100 foot, 1350 h.p. Hawkins Point was one of the older Moran tugboats serving Baltimore. Moran crew members affectionately referred to her as the “Hawk”. Built in 1952 in Oyster Bay, New York, for the Lehigh Valley Railroad, she was originally named Capmore and her high pilot house tells her history as a railroad tugboat. In 1964 she was acquired by the Curtis Bay Towing Company fleet in Baltimore and renamed Hawkins Point. Moran took over the Curtis Bay Towing Company in 1978, however, under the terms of Moran’s acquisition the Curtis Bay tugboats involved would retain their Curtis Bay “Blue Diamond” colors for ten years. In the summer of 1988 all of the former Curtis Bays tugboats were repainted in Moran colors.
While the shipyards and shipping companies that once called this area home are gone, the maritime tradition of Fell's Point still continues with tugboats and visiting ships a common site along the waterfront at the foot of Broadway at the Broadway Pier. Fell’s Point has changed dramatically in the past 20 years, however, the Admiral’s Cup, a local landmark in Fell’s Point that remained in this scene very much the same as she was when maritime trade was king here, has now closed. There has always been a bar at this location; until 1985 when the Admirals Cup took over it was known as Helen's. In addition, there are constant rumors about the Recreation Pier building being converted into a hotel. Only time will tell what changes will actually occur, however, it is clear that scenes like this are gradually disappearing.