Public markets have been part of the fabric of American society for over two hundred fifty years.
At one point, nearly every American city had at least one public market. While each market is
different, all markets function as economic anchors and activity generators for public spaces and
commercial centers, drawing people to downtowns that might otherwise not come. Markets
offer an appealing alternative to the increasingly standardized retail landscape and create a
tourist attraction, while first and foremost, serving a local clientele and encouraging local
The purpose of this research is to explore Lexington Market’s experience both past and
present. Lexington Market is a historic public market located in downtown Baltimore,
Maryland, and its revitalization effort was part of a recent comprehensive economic development
and community revitalization plan that targeted the West Side of Baltimore’s downtown. By
investigating the outcomes of this endeavor, the Lexington Market Revitalization Project as
integrated in the West Side Renaissance plan may serve as a model to other public markets and
other cities. The preservation of Lexington Market’s long-standing tradition is an important step
in preserving cities and local communities’ intangible history.