The Canton area, located along Baltimore’s outer harbor in the southeastern section of the city, was once owned by seaman John O’Donnell, who named his plantation after Guangzhou (Canton), China, from which he imported goods. The land changed when O’Donnell’s son, Columbus, developed and sold it in the late 19th century to be used for industry and housing to accommodate the repurposed area’s blue-collar workers.
One of the industrial buildings was owned by Washington Irving Tuttle, who left the American Tobacco Company to build the state-of-the-art Tin Decorating Company, or Tindeco, in 1914. Incredibly innovative for its day in terms of technology, artistically-designed products and employee empowerment, Tindeco employed 3,000 workers and cranked out four million tins a day by the mid-1920s. Second to the company’s cutting-edge industrial prowess, however, was its artistic legacy, marked by the colorful and creative tin designs that fetch thousands of dollars today as collectibles.
The Tindeco building, now Tindeco Wharf Apartments, today serves as an icon of Tindeco Wharf. Nestled in its perimeter are a collection of favorite community gathering places including Canton Waterfront Park, two marinas, a public boat launch, walking and running paths, and a waterfront oasis where locals and visitors come to relax, enjoy, kick back, and, generally, take it all in: The BoatHouse Canton.