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Fells Point, first named Long Island Point in 1670, is the deepest point in the natural harbor on the north shore of the Northwest Branch of the Patapsco. It soon became the colony's main ship building center, with many shipyards, famed for the construction of the unique styled Baltimore clipper smaller sized sailing schooners. These were notorious as they were used by commerce raiders and privateers. This type of activity led to the British attack in September 1814, during the War of 1812 known as the Battle of Baltimore. It is noted for the famous bombardment of Fort McHenry as well as a land attack to the southeast at the Battle of North Point which attacked fortifications on the east side of town at Loudenschlager's and Potter's Hills (today's Hampstead Hill/Patterson Park). Fells Point was incorporated into old Baltimore Town in 1773. The Continental Navy ordered their first frigate warship, USS Virginia, from George Wells at Fells Point in 1775. The first ship named the U. S. F Constellation was produced at the Harris Creek shipyard east of Fells Point (the site of future neighborhood of Canton) by a master shipwright from Hingham, Massachusetts named David Stodder. The third USS Enterprise was built at Henry Spencer's shipyard. Over 800 ships were commissioned from Fells Point shipyards from 1784 to 1821. The California Gold Rush of 1848–1849 lead to many orders for fast vessels. Many overland pioneers also relied upon canned goods supplied from Baltimore factories.

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