Baltimore Industry Tours

Cotton Mills of the Jones Falls

Number 2

Lake Roland

(built 1860) Robert E. Lee Park, 1000 Lakeside Drive

Photo of Lake Roland Dam, with Lake Roland behind it.

Lake Roland Dam in 2013. Built as a Baltimore city reservoir in 1860, it supplied water to the mill towns of Hampden and Woodberry.

Photo of Lake Roland with the Northern Central Railway bridge across it.

Undated postcard of a different location at Lake Roland, showing the Northern Central Railway bridge. The bridge is now used by Baltimore light rail (McGrain Scrapbook).

This part of the Jones Falls was the site of several grist mills and a gunpowder factory until they were bought up in the late 1850s for their water rights. A dam was built in 1860 to create Lake Roland, a city reservoir. The dam flooded the mill and factory sites, though the factory buildings can still be seen when water in the lake is low.

Water from this reservoir was pumped to Hampden Reservoir, which supplied Hampden, Woodberry, and the cotton mills with water for personal, industrial, and fire protection use.

Lake Roland, Hampden Reservoir, and other local reservoirs became contaminated in the early 1900s and were replaced by Loch Raven Reservoir in 1914.