BALTIMORE CITY ARCHIVES
(Jones' Falls Commission)
The Jones' Falls Commission was the final, formal embodiment of the movement to improve the Jones' Falls which had as its impetus the disastrous flood of July 24, 1868. In that year a joint select committee, composed of members of both branches of the city council, the city commissioner, and engineers, was created to develop the best possible plan of improvement. This committee presented two alternatives — to divert the course of the Jones' Falls or to make adjustments in the stream, replace bridges, and construct retaining walls.
Various other committees of the city council were formed to consider proposals for work on the Jones' Falls but no formal plan was adopted until 1870 when a board of commissioners for the improvement of Jones' Falls was established and the plan drafted by Henry Tyson was adopted. This board appears to have been fairly ineffective, however, since a separate commission to examine plans for the Jones' Falls improvement was created in 1871 and the board itself was reconstituted in 1872. Two years later this body was in effect abolished and the mayor and city commissioner were authorized to take charge of the improvement of Jones Falls.
This appears to be the origin of the Jones' Falls commission which oversaw the construction of retaining walls and bridges/ the straightening of curves, and the dredging of the falls. Construction activity seems to have all but ceased by 1887 although dredging work still continued. This dredging was eventually taken over by the harbor board about 1890 apparently at the suggestion of Mayor Robert C. Davidson and the Jones' Falls commission appears to have ceased to function. The legislative history of the commission and its predecessors is at times unclear. See res. 370, 431, 471 (1868); res. 142 (1869); ords. 12-13, 101 (1870); ords. 3, 33, 67, 105 (1871); ords. 51, 113 (1872); ords. 40, 131 (1874); res. 273 (1874); and ord. 99 (1878).