This is one of those moments, where I find myself just sitting out on the Canton waterfront. In Baltimore, for those that may not know. This is a typical occurrence no matter what season. I'll be the guy in a ski jacket in sub zero conditions hanging out just waiting for the right light to photograph. It's when the weather gets beautiful and warm that my creativity catches fire.
A little piano, jazz, big band, or "chillhop" playing through my headphones. It's so peaceful, and it's here that I seem to get the most creative and thoughtful. I've even booked wedding and portrait clients, just sitting here chatting it up on the phone with them. When the sun hits that one point on the horizon and the lights start to reflect even more off the surface. That sepia toned glare from the piers just across the harbor as the sun goes down behind the cranes situated peacefully on the other end of the channel. That's when I start to wonder.
Usually I get lost in random thoughts and theories about what it looked like in 1900 when this place was a bustling industrial force. Maybe a little rough around the edges, compared to what seems to be, joggers and dog lovers invading the park these days. It's almost hard to believe all of this was once a dirty iron built factory zone.
How Canton came about...
Like much of Baltimore, an Irishman arrived and settled here. His name was John O'Donell. Have you picked up on the last name yet? If you aren't from Baltimore it's okay, you get a pass. Here's where it gets interesting; O'Donell purchased land for his plantation around 1785 and gave it the name Canton. This may seem like an odd or random beginning, but you have to dig deeper.
This brings us to the Chinese port of Guangzhou. Located in the southern province of China, Guangdong. This is where O'Donnell began merchant trading. The name Guangzhou is traditionally romanized as Canton.
By the late 18th century the land was sold by O'Donell's son, Columbus and a few others, including William Patterson, to be used for blue collar housing and waterfront industry. Did you notice that name? He's also an Irish settler, but if you know Baltimore, that name should "ring a bell". Maybe in the near future I will post another blog about Patterson Park! Until than, let's have a great spring!