The Darkroom

Exploring historic Havre de Grace

Algerina Perna
The Baltimore Sun

On the west bank of the Susquehanna River and at the top of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed in Harford County, sits the city of Havre de Grace. Listed as an Historic District in 1982, the city possesses many attractions for tourists, residents and history buffs. Marquis de Lafayette is credited with the naming the town of Havre de Grace, which resembled a French town with the same name. The town almost became the capitol of the nation until it lost by one Congressional vote in 1789.

Originally called Susquehanna Lower Ferry, Havre De Grace retains its charm with unique shops and architecture from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Concord Point Lighthouse, a boardwalk promenade, waterside restaurants, and the iconic railroad bridge contribute to the city’s picturesque appeal. The Cultural Center at the Opera House and several museums enhance the town’s artistic and historic features. Smithsonian Magazine designated it as one of “The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2014.”

Seven parks dot Havre de Grace’s roughly 6 square miles. Festivals, “First Fridays,” reenactments and many other featured events provide fun for both children and adults in this friendly city of 14,000.

Historical markers throughout the town inform visitors about the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. The Havre de Grace Maritime Museum details the area’s maritime heritage and documents the life of the Susquehannock Indians, the European Colonists, and life in the 21st Century.

Decoy-making and wildfowl hunting in the Susquehanna Flats of the Upper Chesapeake Bay is featured in the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum. The Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House chronicles the building of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal in the 1830s. Maritime Life is documented in the The Concord Point Lighthouse and Keeper Museum.

The development of the nation as a whole can be seen through the preserved history of Havre de Grace. The relevance of this Harford County treasure is matched by the geniality of its residents.

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