2000 BES Abstracts

Industrial and Extractive Activities in Gwynns Falls Riparian Areas: A Spatial and Temporal Sketch

Daniel Bain, Dr. Grace S. Brush

Beginning with the formation of the Baltimore Company in 1733, the Gwynns Falls watershed has experienced a complex and varied set of human activities. Organized temporally and spatially, data on these activities provide insight to questions of vegetation distributions, local hydrologies, and current system function. This talk will review data on historical and contemporary industrial and extractive activities in the riparian zones of the Gwynns Falls watershed. The earliest periods are characterized by tobacco agriculture with a later shift to grist milling and iron refining. Between the Revolutionary and Civil wars, metals extraction in the headwaters and development of transportation networks marked the watershed. By the turn of the century, meatpacking plants and various types of mills were located throughout the riparian areas. In addition, city/county lines (and residential patterns) were largely established. The past century can largely be characterized by the ever- increasing presence of the automobile (allowing tremendous shifts in residential patterns and transportation networks.) An accounting of locally uneven historical activities should provide a baseline of information essential for subsequent investigations.