Baltimore’s Lexington Market is often called: “The World Famous Lexington Market”--and there’s a reason for that. It’s one of the oldest marketplaces in the world. It was established in 1782, just six years after the United States became an independent nation, and it has been open continuously since then. As you can imagine, it looked very different back then. Revolutionary War general John Eager Howard, who at that point owned most of the land in Baltimore’s downtown, donated a portion of his pasturing fields to be used as a public market. And so Lexington Market was born, nothing more than a grassy field where farmers could sell their wares out of the backs of Conestoga wagons. Over the next hundred years: the market grew, buildings sprang up, and by the mid 1800s it had become one of the most important hubs of commerce on the Eastern seaboard, with tens of thousands of patrons flowing in on every market day. By 1935, the streets surrounding the market became so congested with vendors that street stalls were banned by the city. And in 1949, a six-alarm fire burned it all down. The building you see now, the modern Lexington Market, was built after that disastrous fire, and the market reopened three years later.Lexington Market today remains one of the most compelling public marketplaces in America. From seafood at Faidley’s to confections at Konstant’s, from fried chicken to fresh produce, it feels like anything you could want to buy can still be found here. Though some of the owners may no-longer bear the old names hung-above their stalls, the people behind each counter in Lexington Market continue to serve Baltimore, as they have for hundreds of years.Today we’ll be taking a walking tour through Lexington Market, guided by the people who know it best: The people who work here every day.
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