Havre de Grace Things to Do Tips by Ewingjr98
Havre de Grace Things to Do: 37 reviews and 90 photos
At this site near Havre de Grace, you will find two historic markers which read:
Site of 'Old Baltimore' -->
The first County Seat of Baltimore County, 1659 to 1700, was located on Bush River. In 1683 it was made a Port of Entry by the Maryland Assembly.
The town of Old Baltimore was on the bank of the Bush River opposite the sign, in the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground. Later nearby Joppatowne, then the city of Baltimore became the county's capital.
The second marker reads:
Captain John Smith
in 1608 ascended this river to this point. On his map he called it after his home in England “Willowbyes Flu” or river. Now Bush River.
John Smith gained his fame when he founded the first permanent English settlement in the New World at Jamestown, Virginia.
Directions: Pulaski Highway (U.S. 40) 1 mile south of Abingdon Road
Amtrak Susquehanna River Bridge
From the mouth of the Susquehanna River there are four bridges in Havre de Grace. They are, in order, the Amtrak Susquehanna River Bridge, Thomas J Hatem Memorial Bridge on US Route 40, the CSX railroad bridge, and the Interstate 95 bridge.
Amtrak Susquehanna River Bridge is a double-track bridge was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad between 1904–1906 to connect Washington DC and New York City. Two railroad mainlines cross this span with more than 80 daily Amtrak passenger trains.
Thomas J Hatem Memorial Bridge carries US Route 40 over the Susquehanna River, and it allows 11.1 million vehicles to cross each year. A $5 toll on two-axle vehicles is collected in the eastbound direction only. The 1.3-mile, four-lane bridge was constructed from February 1939 to August 1940, and it is the oldest of the seven toll facilities operated and maintained by the Maryland Transportation Authority. The bridge, as of 2009 is under construction as a new deck is installed.
Perryville Railroad Bridge is CSX Transportation's rail bridge used used mainly for freight. It was built around 1908 and it has a one mile span crossing the Susquehanna and Garrett Island.
Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge is Interstate 95's crossing of the Susquehanna north of town. It was constructed from 1962 to 1963, and it carries some 29 million vehicles a year. There is a $5 toll for all northbound traffic.
St. John Street in winter
Havre de Grace has a nice little waterfront downtown area hugging the shore of the Susquehanna River. Here the historic downtown is laid out in a traditional grid pattern with St. John Street angled following the water. The main commercial streets are St. John and Washington Streets.
This area has a handful of historic markers including:
Named for the French General whose troops passed through here in 1781 en route to Yorktown. Records of the French Army noted plans were underway for a town at this place when the troops returned from Yorktown in 1782.
Erected 1985 by The City of Havre de Grace in celebration of its Bicentennial.
Susquehanna Lower Ferry
Public Ferry ordered established by the Council of Maryland 1695 for travel between north and south. General Washington and many notable men used this ferry, also, the Continental Army and soldiers of War Between the States.
Erected 1985 by The City of Havre de Grace in celebration of its Bicentennial.
Millard Tydings Memorial Park is connected to the old Bayou Hotel and the Concord Lighthouse by the town's scenic waterfront Promenade.
The park lies on the south end of the historic downtown, and it features a boat launch, a war memorial, picnic areas, a pavilion, restrooms, plenty of parking, and a children's playground. It has eight acres of land overlooking the Chesapeake Bay and the Havre de Grace City Yacht Basin.
Concord Point Lighthouse
Concord Point is the name of a point of land where the Susquehanna River empties into the Chesapeake Bay. The point is said to have been originally named Point of Conquest which later became Conquered Point before finally transforming into its present form.
At this point in 1827 the Concord Point Lighthouse was constructed of granite that is three feet thick at the base. The lighthouse was automated in 1920 and decommissioned in 1975. Until it was decommissioned, the Concord Point Lighthouse was known as the oldest lighthouse in continuous use in Maryland. The sign at the lighthouse goes even further to state it is currently the oldest continuously operated lighthouse in all of the United States!
Located about 200 feet from the lighthouse is the keeper's house, which is also constructed of granite. The lighthouse became an inn after the light was automated, but it was restored and is now a museum.
The most famous event at the lighthouse occurred in the War of 1812. John O'Neil was an Irish immigrant who commanded about 50 men whose job was to protect the town from amphibious assault. On May 3, 1813, British Admiral George Cockburn's ships attacked the town. All of O'Neil's men fled, but he stayed and single handedly fired a cannon at the British fleet. He was later captured and sentenced to execution, but the pleas of his daughter were able to secure his release. He later became the town commissioner and first lighthouse keeper at Concord Point. Many of his children and grandchildren also served as light keepers in later years.
A plaque at the lighthouse reads:
Havre de Grace, Md
Erected at the mouth of the Susquehanna River in 1827, it is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation in the United States. Now under automatic control, it was manned by the O’Neill Family until 1928. John O’Neill was named as the first lighthouse keeper in recognition his heroic defense of Havre de Grace against the British during the War of 1812.
A nearby cannon describes John O'Neil's heroism:
marks the site of the battery on Concord Point
served the guns single handed during the
British attack upon Havre de Grace
May 3, 1813 until disabled and captured.
He was released from the British frigate Maid Stone through the intercession of his young daughter, Matilda, to whom Admiral Cockburn gave his gold-mounted snuff-box in a token of her heroism. As a tribute to the gallant conduct of her father, the citizens of Philadelphia presented to him a handsome sword.
Erected by the citizens of Havre de Grace and the descendants of John O'Neill in the year of the National Star-Spangled Banner Centennial 1914.
Address: Concord Street
Phone: (410) 939-3213
Havre de Grace's "Waterfront Promendade," actually more of a boardwalk, stretches 1/2 mile along the Susquehanna River's banks near the commercial area of town. It features the Concord Point Lighthouse, but also has a fishing pier, a memorial cannon commemorating John O'Neil's defense of the city in the War of 1812, a plaque marking the spot where President Clinton and Vice President Gore gave an Earth Day speech and more. The area also has two museums: The Have de Grace Maritime Museum and the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum which focuses on decoys used fro duck hunting. Some of the best things along this quiet waterfront path are the wildlife, ducks, geese and squirrels are in abundance.
At nearby Tydings park you will find a boat ramp, restrooms, playgrounds, a snack bar, and plenty of parking.
Two of the signs and plaques read:
Enjoy the Havre de Grace Promenade
Stroll along our boardwalk, stop and listen to the ducks splashing in the water, feel the bay breeze on your cheek, and search the horizon for boats drifting on the water.
On this site
President William J. Clinton
Vice President Albert Gore, Jr.
delivered addresses in celebration of
America's 25th Earth Day
April 21, 1995
Directions: Commerce Street at the southern end of Union Avenue
The interpretive historical marker outside reads:
Listen, and you can almost hear the jazz music and smell the roasting duck.
Join us for an evening at the Bayou Hotel in 1926
Mingle with famous clients who have come from Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City to hunt canvasback ducks on the flats, fish, and attend the local horse races. Feast on fresh roasted duck in the large dining room with a view of the bay and then stroll through the formal gardens to the indoor heated pool for a dip. Finally, head back to the hotel bar for a nightcap and retire to your waterfront room.
The hotel did well during the 1920s but by the early 1930s things began to look grim. A large fire in 1932 caused the Bayou to close for renovations. Sinkboxing, the favored form of duck hunting in the area was outlawed. The Depression and Prohibition hurt business. In 1934, the Bayou Hotel shut its doors and went out of business.
Later the Hotel served as a retirement home for the Franciscan Sisters. A two-story tower was added in 1953. Shortly after this, the hotel became the Bayou Villa Apartments. The building fell into disrepair and stood empty. The city assumed ownership in 1976. The Bayou is now a privately owned condominium association.
Edward F. Piersol conceived the idea for the Bayou Hotel and was the first owner. The hotel, considered lavish for a small town was built with field stone from Harford County and completed in 1921. Each of the sixty rooms had a private bath, (a luxury for that time) and most rooms had a view of the water. Other extravagances included a parking garage and the indoor pool that is now part of the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum.
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