Following the American Revolution, Baltimore’s growth was largely due to its location as a prime port on the Chesapeake Bay. Many farmers and millers in northern and western Maryland shipped their goods to Baltimore for export. Soon people started settling closer to the port, and shipbuilding and wharf construction began. These led to iron production, mining, quarrying and manufacturing enterprises. Baltimore grew into America’s third-largest city fueled by immigration from abroad and people driven to the city by changes in agriculture.
Physical laborers supported early economic advances in Baltimore. Men built bridges, scraped muck from streets and dredged the harbor. Women became laundresses, seamstresses and domestic workers.