Monument City Blog

Branches of Baltimore History

Captain John O’Donnell Monument in Canton

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O’Donnell Street & S Curley Street (Street View)

GPS: 39° 16′ 48.74″ N 76° 34′ 29.60″ W


Merchant John O’Donnell settled in Baltimore Town in 1780. Known as “The Father of the Potomac Canal,” O’Donnell eventually purchased a large piece of waterfront land east of Fells Point. Already a successful businessman, the Irish-born Captain established an economic foundation in Canton that sustained through the Great Depression. A captain in the East India Trading Company when he arrived on Maryland’s shores, O’Donnell wore many hats, and his various business interests made him one of the richest men in the country during his lifetime. The monument was created by artist Tylden Streett, a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art, who also sculpted the Firefighter’s Memorial next to Zion Church.


Inside a fence in Canton Square, the memorial stands in a well-maintained garden. A plaque reads: “Captain John O’Donnell, the founder of the Canton Community was man of great vision and accomplishment. He initiated trade between Canton, China and Baltimore in 1785 operating his own merchant sailing vessels. This public square, once the site of Canton Market, is dedicated in his honor.” The monument was surveyed in 1993 and is in excellent condition.



Written by monumentcity

April 30th, 2009 at 8:08 pm