Where the Gwynns Falls flows into the Patapsco's Middle Branch, countless Baltimoreans have come to work and to play over the years. Since the early 1700s this area his been home to mining operations, brickyards, glass factories, and other industries. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, residents came by streetcar to enjoy amusement parks and dance pavilions, picnic grounds and fish houses, swimming beaches and rowing clubs. Crowds watched the Baltimore Black Sox and Elite Giants of the Negro Leagues play at Westport Park and Maryland Park along South Russell Street.
In 1977, the city created the Middle Branch Park by consolidating existing shoreside parks and began restoring environmentally degraded sites. Ten years later, the Baltimore Rowing and Water Resources Center opened, reviving a tradition of rowing competitions on the Middle Branch.