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The Historic Industrial Community of Sparrows Point, MD

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This article is sponsored by Maryland Injury Guys, the personal injury law firm of Sparrows Point. We encourage you to learn all about the history of this industrial community.

History of Sparrows Point

Sparrows Point, located adjacent to Dundalk, is an unincorporated community in Baltimore, Maryland. It was originally home to Native American tribes until around 1652 when it was granted to Thomas Sparrow Jr. by Cecilius Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore. His son, Solomon Sparrow, settled in the area and called it "Sparrow's Nest." In the 1700s, more families moved to the area. They farmed, raised crops, and built homes and hunting lodges. By the 1860s, the Fitzell family own most of the land, about 385 acres.

Sparrows Point remained mostly rural until 1887, when engineer Frederick Wood bought the land from the Fitzells. He realized the area would make an excellent deep water port for the Pennsylvania Steel Company. By 1889, the Maryland Steel Company, a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Steel Company, has made its first steel in Sparrows Point.

The 20th century saw further development for the community. In 1916, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, purchased the mill. The Sparrows Point waterfront plant became the world's largest steel mill. It stretched four miles and employed 30,000 workers. Many of those workers were rural economic migrants from the Southern and Appalachian states of Virginia and Central Pennsylvania. They settled in the area following World War II.

The steel created at the Sparrows Point mill ended up in cables for the George Washington Bridge and as girders in the Golden Gate Bridge. It was also vital for war production during World War I and II. By 1961, the mill was producing 672,000 short tons annually. However, a decline of the Sparrows Point complex occurred during the 1970s and 1980s. In 2005, the Sparrows Point plant ownership transferred to Mittal Steel after its acquisition of the bankrupted International Steel Group, Bethlehem Steel's successor. In 2008, the Russian company Severstal bought the plant from Mittal Steel. It was again sold in 2012 to Renco Group.

Currently, the Sparrows Point steel mill is owned by Sparrows Point Terminal, LLC (SPT). They purchased the 3,100-acre property in 2014 in an effort to environmentally clean up the site and make it one of the largest ports on the East Coast. The former steel mill and Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard was renamed Tradepoint Atlantic. In agreement with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), SPT hopes the cleanup could lead toward major economic revitalization for Sparrows Point and the surrounding areas.

Sparrows Point is now made up of many distribution centers, fulfillment centers, storage lots and training lots. Some of these centers include Amazon, Under Armour, Home Depot, Volkswagen and McCormick & Company.

Sparrows Point Shipyard

The Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard was founded in 1887 as Maryland Steel. The shipyard was a major center for shipbuilding and ship repairs. It built tugs, dredges, coastal passengers, cargo ships and destroyers. In 1891, Maryland Steel's first ship was delivered. One of their famous vessels was the Ancon. Launched as Shawmut, it was the first ship to transit the Panama Canal in 1914.

Maryland Steel was later renamed Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard when the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation acquired it in 1916. During the mid-1900s, the yard was one of the most active shipbuilders in the U.S. It delivered 116 ships from 1939 to 1946. In the 1970s, Bethlehem Steel upgraded the yard. As one of the most modern shipbuilding facilities in the U.S., the shipyard included a large graving dock to allow the construction of supertankers of up to 1,200 feet in length and 265,000 short tons in size.

In 1997, the shipyard was sold to Baltimore Marine Industries Inc. It was later sold again in 2004 to Barletta Industries. Barletta had plans to redevelop the site as a business and technology park and reviving its shipbuilding aspect. It was renamed the Sparrows Point Shipyard and Industrial Complex.

Ready to learn more about the area? Continue reading and discover the Historic District of Dundalk, Maryland.

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Aaron Blank Esq
Date Published: May 21, 2021
Aaron Blank is a patient safety advocate who holds the healthcare system responsible when it fails. He keeps businesses accountable if they choose profits over the safety of the community, and he ensures car insurance companies pay their fair share for the harm that reckless drivers cause. Aaron and his proficient legal team bring an approach based on dedication, guidance, and compassion through the difficult process of pursuing serious injury claims. He has dedicated his career to fighting for injury victims to recover losses from medical expenses, lost income, loss of enjoyment of life, or the loss of a loved one.
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This website is by Blank Kim P.C. d/b/a Maryland Injury Guys. We have offices throughout Maryland with attorneys licensed to practice law in the state of  Maryland. Use of this site does not form an attorney-client relationship and information herein shall not be construed as legal advice. This website is to be considered as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. This firm may retain local counsel to prosecute cases. This website has not been approved by the Court of Appeals of Maryland or the Maryland State Bar. Cases may be co-counselled or referred to other firms for litigation.
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