The first iteration of the PortCovington.com website was recorded by the Internet Archive “Wayback Machine” on February 2, 2004, just over a week after the domain was first registered (01/24/04). As near as we can tell, this was the first website solely about Port Covington and its role as a South Baltimore “neighborhood” among the myriad and diverse neighborhoods in the City of Baltimore.
The small bit of narrative in the image above was much as the “intro” to the site is today. It reads: ‘In mid-2002, the world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, opened its first Baltimore City stores at Port Covington in the South Baltimore area. Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club are the first retailers to locate in the new Port Covington Shopping Center, a 60-acre, waterfront site on East Cromwell Street. Several hundred City jobs were created when the 142,000 square foot Wal-Mart and the 130,000 square foot Sam’s Club opened their doors. This strategically-located retail development at the site of a former City rail yard has come a long way – but has a long way yet to go. Watch for further development of this “newest” of waterfront destinations.’
The few links were to existing, local websites, four of which exist today, Including our own South Baltimore directory website. The Digital Harbor domain now redirects to PortCovington because we believe this location will become home to many “digital” enterprises.
There was not much done to develop the website in the last dozen years because not much has been done to develop Port Covington for most of that time. Although the proposals were impressive, the WalMart and Sam’s Club and curbing and intersections never amounted to much at all. The Sam’s closed after a brief run – WalMart fared better but one store does not a community make. The Sam’s Club building remained vacant and unoccupied for nearly a decade until the CEO of Under Armour, Kevin Plank, had the vision to see what it could (and will) become.
We’ve been looking for a comprehensive history of Port Covington since this website began over a dozen years ago. We have found “bits and pieces” of the story in several different places – but never did manage to tie any of it together and put it in an article. Until a recent bit of “controversy*” brought this research to the attention of many who are interested in the new development of this historic segment of South Baltimore.
Port Covington has, evidently, had a long and varied history – with successes and failures. The current proposal for the (re)development of Port Covington should [finally] be the next step in Tinkerer’s Paradise and will be one of lasting progress for generations to come.
*An Op-Ed opinion in a local newspaper was cited as not having properly cited the two authors of the original piece. (’nuff said)
For nearly a decade the defunct Sam’s Club “big box” store stood empty as a symbol of what Port Covington was envisioned to be – but failed to become.
The resurrection of this abandoned building is but one part of the revitalization of the “new” Port Covington. This time the vision will become reality, of that we are certain. Kevin Plank the CEO of Under Armour, and a Baltimore Billionaire, has vision, the dollars and the “clout” to make it happen.