The Great Port of Baltimore - page 5

has given me a great ride. To a little girl growing up in a small Nevada
mining town, the oceans seemed as remote as the moon. Actually,
the moon seemed closer; at least I could see it.
Although maritime commerce is the glue that binds today’s
global economy, I’ll hazard the guess that Maryland’s great Port of
Baltimore — despite the fact that its vast operations sprawl over
40 miles of prime waterfront property — remains a remote and
undervalued asset to most people in the state.
Because most of the Port’s business is unseen; the only ones
afforded a good glimpse are boaters on the Patapsco River or
Chesapeake Bay.
It slips right past — like ships in the night, as they say.
So an increased general awareness of the Port’s role is one of
this book’s primary objectives. The public has a need to know that the
Port deposits money into the paychecks of 112,000 Maryland workers,
satisfies the wants and needs of Maryland consumers, supplies
statewide industry with raw materials and ready access to world
markets, and richly rewards Maryland’s tax base.
The world of maritime
And the Port has a right for Maryland’s citizens to know the
difference it makes in their daily lives — 24/7/365.
A second objective of this book is educating Marylanders about
the Port’s incalculable economic value — past, present and future.
As the Port’s unofficial godmother, I hope you’ll allow me to trot out
my old television series, “
The Port That Built a City and State
,” and
amend it. Make that built, builds and will continue to build.
Visitors to the Inner Harbor in 1965, the year my series ended,
didn’t see shimmering Harborplace promenades along Pratt and
Light streets. They saw docks, the working waterfront where it literally
all began when Baltimore Town was founded in 1729.
Back then, the Port was pretty much all Baltimore had going
for it. The story of Baltimore’s emergence as a world-class city never
would have been written without its world-class Port marching right
in step alongside.
And when they write Maryland’s history in another hundred
years, it’ll be more of the same, plus some.
Just thinking about the Port’s future
prospects makes this godmother think
she better stick around to make sure
they get it right.
Helen Delich Bentley
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