Only in Fell’s Point-III

Written by Mark Walker on Saturday, 10 November 2007. Posted in Reprints from "The Fell's 'Pointer"

Why the Odd Curb Numbers?

One day while leaving Jimmy’s Restaurant I noticed something peculiar about the street curb. There in the 800 block of South Broadway were all these numbers, in a 500 series, chiseled in the stone. I eventually sought out Bob Eney, who knows practically everything about Fell’s Point, and found him dining at Jimmy’s breakfast counter—with a cup of coffee in one hand and a newspaper in the other. He looked up from behind his spectacles and solved the puzzle.
Broadway Odd Curb Numbers

Many years ago a then-prospering Fell’s Point Market set up vegetable and fruit stalls all along Broadway. The stalls ran from the 600 block all the way to the water and around the Square, which looked quite different than today. Some vendors arrived by boat, bringing melons and more from the Eastern Shore. The numbers on the curbs designated vendor spaces so hucksters knew where to set up their stalls. The nearest equivalent today is the runup to Fun Festival, which saw Denise Whitman last month laying out the spots for the weekend’s myriad vendors. That is a process hardly etched in stone.

Eney added that when several blocks of Broadway were torn up several years ago to reset the cobblestones with new mortar, Fell’s Point wanted to keep the curb stones as a piece of its past. But many of the numbers weren’t placed in sequential order. And that’s why one shouldn’t look for logic at the gutter level in the 500 block, err, 800 block of Broadway.

About the Author

Mark Walker

Mark Walker lives in Harford County with his all-suffering wife and son but arrives early for his job at Bond St. Wharf as a financial planner for Johns Hopkins Uni- versity. He usually has a meeting or two before the re- turn commute. His affair with the ‘Point began when he and his two brothers reached eligibility for the bars--often sources of his ‘Pointer writing. Asked about his dedication to local issues, such as Rec Pier and funding for preservation, he replied, “I take up a parking space here but I like to think I pay back part of that. I often think that more out- of-towners who work here could do the same.” His early efforts, with the late Bob Keith, to keep revival of Rec Pier out of the hands of developers, has proved prescient 10 years hence. Walker is also a magician and his ultimate trick remains a challenge--abating the Point’s gentrification.

Mark Walker won the Fell's Point 9/11 Selfless Community Service Award on September 11, 2012.