Susquehanna Indians called Dundalk home when John Smith became the first European to explore the area in 1608. Needless to say, the Susquehanna would have been happier if Mr. Smith would have stayed home. What was then known as Patapsco Neck continued to play a role in American history for the next three centuries.
Actually, it's an unincorporated area, but unincorporated area of bays doesn't sound quite as catchy, does it? Dundalk is named after a town in Ireland. That Dundalk was the birthplace of the man asked to name the new village in Maryland. It's surrounded by water on three sides - on the south and west, Chesapeake Bay. On the north and east, the Back River. to the southeast, inlets off Chesapeake Bay come just about 1,000 feet short of going all the way across Patapsco Neck. To understand the area, it's important to understand the role of the water. It molds the climate, shapes the history, and provides untold recreational opportunities. And who doesn't love Chesapeake Bay blue crab?
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Moving to Dundalk
The peninsula became home to a bell making company that gained worldwide acclaim, the McShane Bell Foundry. Incidentally, he was the guy asked to name Dundalk. His factory is now located in another town - go figure. The War of 1812 played out on the water and land and still is visible at historic sites today. The original settlement house was burned by the British in the Battle of North Point but it was rebuilt after the war and still stands as one of the historical landmarks from that time. Later, many of the streets now making up Dundalk were laid out by interests of Bethlehem Steel. The company wanted housing for shipyard workers. That helped lay the groundwork for the industrial part of Dundalk's economy.
Renting in Dundalk
Now that it's part of the Baltimore metropolitan area and by extension the Washington - Boston megalopolis, it's become a suburban bedroom community of sorts. Still, the roots of its history are everywhere. The Dundalk Historic District is listed on the national registry and includes many buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries. The options for renters range from the historic to the modern. With the apartment vacancy rate running at just under ten percent, apartment hunters have options. Still, looking as early as possible gives you flexibility. Make a list of properties you are interested in and go through them until you find the perfect match for your lifestyle. Dundalk is close enough to Baltimore that it's possible to commute fairly easily, using either a car or public transportation. If you are considering making this part of Maryland your home, here's a look at a few of the neighborhoods renters might be interested in.
North Point: Running parallel to the waters of Back River and along both sides of I-695, this part of town includes industrial parks and manufactured home communities mixed in with yacht clubs and equipment yards and rows of townhouses. Sparrows Point Country Club is at the south end. $$
Harborview: Going north from the campus of Community College of Baltimore County Dundalk, this area includes the massive Sacred Heart and Saint Andrews cemeteries and moves on up past Harborview Park to the Oaklawn cemetery. Fortunately for the living who are looking to rent an apartment, there is housing too.$$$$
Sollers Point: There are some fairly large apartment complexes in this part of town that fronts the Chesapeake Bay on the south and west of the community. It's surrounded by water, so you might need waders in a few years if climate change raises water levels. The Francis Scott Key Bridge juts out over the water, heading to the metro area.$$
Dunmanway- Fort Holabird Park: You will find an abundance of row homes, townhouses, and condos in the neighborhood around Fort Holabird Park and extending southward to Dunmanway. Dundalk Park, Saint Helena Park, and Veterans Park all help anchor the south border.$$$
Stanbrook - Stansbury Park: Running along the Penninsula Expressway east of Merritt Boulevard all the way past Stanbury Park to the water, this area features a marina, an industrial park, and sections of residential areas with a mix of single-family homes and rental units. It's a decent place to look for rentals offering all utilities paid options. $$
Living in Dundalk
It's not your typical suburb. Think more of an extension of the city that runs headlong into the water and has a mix of housing, retail, and industrial sectors that help bring economic diversity. About 65,000 people call Dundalk home. Water activities are all around, from boating to swimming and fishing. Everything that Baltimore has to offer is close and Washington, D.C. is not far. The National Aquarium in Baltimore is a treasure for anyone who appreciates sea life. The history of sites like Fort McHenry and everything that Annapolis has to offer are within easy reach as well. Taking a trip down to the nation's capital is something everyone will remember - well, as long as it's not a commute, that can get hairy - but going down to take in the sights and visit the museums, there you go. Great sports teams like the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles play pretty much just down the road and the historic ships on display at the waterfront evoke an era when tall ships took to the high seas. An extraordinary museum experience awaits train enthusiasts at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum.
While there are plenty of local restaurants in Dundalk with all manner of choices for your culinary exploration, don't pass up the chance to savor some of the pride of the Chesapeake. Salty Dog's Crab House on North Point Blvd. does it right. Another good choice is the Seasoned Mariner on Wise Ave. Of course, living in Dundalk gives you the opportunity to explore and find your own favorites, but great crab is a must. Grab a bucket and get to work. The weather can be challenging at times - like when a big snowstorm hits the bay, or the summer humidity settles in. There are trade offs, however. The autumn season is marvelous and longer than in states more to the north, and spring can be amazing.