By 1900, Fell's Point had become a rough district full of sailors, saloons and brothels. In answer to the prevalence of drunkenness and debauchery, the Port Mission Women's Auxiliary opened The Anchorage—a boarding house and recreational center run on Christian values where seaman could enjoy a safe night's sleep, after a mandatory delousing, of course. The Anchorage is the central structure of the seven buildings that make up The Admiral Fell Inn.
As the Port Mission encouraged more seaman to stay at The Anchorage, more space was needed, and buildings surrounding the boarding house were connected to it. In 1929, the YMCA took over The Anchorage and continued the tradition of a Christian boarding house, expanding it to a 105-room Seaman's YMCA, with rooms so small it was nicknamed "the doghouse". The Seaman's YMCA provided lodging for as many as 50,000 sailors a year, and operated until 1955. When it closed, a variety of tenants occupied the buildings, the last of which was a vinegar and cider bottling factory known as the Vinegar Works, which closed in the 1970s.