"Captain John Smith, founder of the Jamestown colony in 1607, mapped the Gwynns Falls in 1608, though the Susquehannock and Algonquian Indians had been populating the area for centuries. Smith said the stream tumbled over “felles,” or falls, which explains the sometimes confusing local practice of naming streams and rivers “falls” (Jones Falls, Gunpowder Falls). The stream itself was named for Richard Gwynn, who established a trading post here in 1669. The Gwynns Falls, like the Jones Falls, hosted more and more industry over the coming centuries, serving as a natural location for grain mills and slaughterhouses, even while retaining the properties that made it a public recreation spot. In 1904, the famed landscape architects the Olmsted brothers laid out a series of parks and open spaces to be included in their plan for the Greater Baltimore Public Grounds. The modern Gwynns Falls Trail (GFT) resurrects much of that plan. The GFT is a 15-mile greenway snaking its way from and through West Baltimore to the south of the city. The trail has been designated as part of both the East Coast Greenway network of trails from Maine to Florida and the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, a system of “parks, refuges, museums, historic sites and water trails spanning the [Chesapeake Bay] watershed.” The trail has also become a focal point for city activities, wonderfully packed with hikes, art shows, and cultural festivities of all kinds. The northern reaches of the GFT are covered in this book in Walk 24: Dickeyville & Leakin Park; the southern portions are covered primarily in Walk 2: Gwynns Falls Trail II. This walk takes in the middle portions, running through historic West Baltimore neighborhoods and ending at Mount Clare Mansion, the city’s oldest Georgian colonial house."