Mention Baltimore to an out-of-towner and a few things are likely to come up in conversation: The Wire will almost certainly be mentioned; possibly Hairspray. As will crab cakes, Cal Ripken, and Camden Yards.

But odds are that the Inner Harbor, Baltimore’s most recognizable feature, will come before all of those other noteworthy topics. For generations of Baltimoreans and visitors alike, the tourist-friendly pavilion of shops, restaurants, and attractions has simply always been part of the landscape. Except it wasn’t. And it almost didn’t get built at all.

Martin Millspaugh, who served as Chief Executive of Charles Center-Inner Harbor Management Inc., oversaw the development of the Inner Harbor and Charles Center from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s. The project ultimately involved 260 acres of downtown land and almost $7 billion worth of construction. Developers weathered initial skepticism, and the venture’s legacy endures as one of the most influential urban renewal projects ever accomplished.

The Sheridan Libraries recently acquired Millspaugh’s papers, more than 50 linear feet(!) of correspondence, writings, subject files, photographs, and books, spanning the mid-1950s to present. After Inner Harbor development reached completion in the mid-1980s, Millspaugh joined famed developer James W. Rouse at Enterprise Development Corporation, a consulting firm that helped cities worldwide plan their own Inner Harbor-like projects. The Martin L. Millspaugh Papers document this transition, including project files related to clients as far-flung as Sydney, Osaka, and Rotterdam.

We are excited to present a panel discussion on the project with Millspaugh and several experts in the areas of real estate, development, and Baltimore history. Join Michael Anikeeff from the Carey School; F. Barton Harvey, former chair of the non-profit Enterprise Foundation; and author and historian Gil Sandler for a fascinating look back at the project and an examination of its legacy — local and global — and what the future might hold.

The event takes place at 6 pm  on Thursday, April 18 at the Carey Business School’s Harbor East campus.

Space for the event is limited, and we ask that you RSVP to libraryfriends@jhu.edu.


One thought on “The Icon That Almost Wasn’t There

  1. Small world story. As a college intern, my husband helped plan the opening of Toledo OH’s Harborplace, another Rouse initiative. That development was not as successful as Baltimore’s.

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