Baltimore’s Public Markets are the oldest continuously operating public market system in the United States. In operation before the city’s health department and even the mayor’s office, the markets continue to maintain a tradition for which Baltimore is famous. In the developing stages of Baltimore’s cities, tradespeople needed a common meeting place. Thus, the idea of a market house was born. A public lottery funded construction of the first in 1763. The markets served as the city’s major source of food and were the destination of farmers from nearby counties to sell livestock and produce.