Lexington Market will close its East Market building Saturday afternoon, following a celebration of the 70 years that the space has housed one of Baltimore’s most iconic public markets.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, a tribute event with live music, giveaways and a bell-ringing will take place, the market announced on Instagram. The doors of the East Market will shut permanently at 5 p.m. Saturday. Faidley Seafood will remain open.
One of the country’s oldest public food markets, Lexington Market has gone through various transformations at the same site since 1782. The east building has held food stalls since the early 1950s, when outdoor booths replaced a shedlike structure that was damaged in a fire.
Two years after the devastating 1949 fire, about 8,000 people packed the market to celebrate its reopening and sample food items from the 528 available stalls. The market was separated by two buildings that year — the east market between Paca and Eutaw streets and the west market between Paca and Greene streets.
“Today we are witnessing the formal dedication of a bigger and better Lexington Market, rising Phoenix-like from the ashes of the old landmark that added so much to the charm of Baltimore in a bygone era when life moved at a leisurely pace and good living and hospitality were an essential part of our existence,” former Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro III said during the 1952 reopening celebration, The Baltimore Sun reported at the time.
The west building and the food-hall-style Arcade have already closed as part of a plan to rebuild the market, a key piece of Baltimore food history that had lost vendors in recent years. The market will reopen at a newly constructed South Market building on the site of a former parking lot. An outdoor plaza is planned for the area where the Arcade once stood.
Groundbreaking on the $40 million revitalization of the public market, led by Seawall Development, began in 2020. Earlier this year, the city announced that it would allocate $5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to Lexington Market after the project ran into higher construction costs and delays.
There are 34 confirmed vendors for the market’s new iteration, according to the Transform Lexington Market website. In August, Lexington Market announced that two new “produce forward” vendors — Bmore Vegan Joint and Garden Produce — would join vendors in the new market.
Merchants will open at the new Lexington Market Plaza on Sept. 6.
Baltimore Sun reporter Lilly Price and librarian Paul McCardell contributed to this article.