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Season 5, Episode 4: The Markets Go Downhill

In this fourth episode of History at Risk Season 5, Dee, our new host, learns some of the causes of the Broadway Markets' current problems. Several fires damaged the North Market in the 1960's, destroying its brick 2nd floor and the shed building behind it. Instead of rebuilding, the City downsized the markets to make room for more parking. A group of Florida investors brought many of the nearby businesses, planning to tear them down. When the Urban Renewal Plan prevented demolition, the buildings sat empty and decaying for a decade.

Dee’s Thoughts

Just when everything is about to get interesting, a fire goes and takes down half the market. So many people had fought so hard to keep Fell’s Point alive just for it go to ash. What goes up, must come down, I guess. But the markets are still here, physically at least. Plus, there are some people who still believe that we can make the markets well-known again. If they’ve got some good ideas, hopefully, they can make them happen.

Jacquie’s Thoughts

This is the saddest episode of this series. In spite of the fact that the Markets were scaled back after the fires in the '60's to create more parking, they remained a vital part of the community for many years. When my husband and I moved to Fell's Point in 1993, we bought pigs for pig roasts at a friend's cabin from our favorite butcher shop in the North Market. We got coffee and breads almost daily at the bakery in the South Market. Gradually, some of the shops couldn't compete with the new Safeway in Canton and closed. Others gave up for other reasons. During construction of the Marketplace project on either side, the North Market "temporarily" closed, never to reopen.

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