Havre de Grace's Waterfront Promenade
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
Historic Bayou Hotel
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.
Concord Point Lightkeeper's House
In the early nineteenth century master builder John Donahoo built a dozen stone or brick lighthouses on the upper Chesapeake. Six survive and two are still active. Havre de Grace was his hometown, where he also served multiple terms as a town commissioner. This is the original Concord Point lightkeeper's house built by him c. 1827. The 2-1/2 story brick and stone house, is 34 by 20 feet and was originally built with a fireplace and a closet in each of its rooms. The building contract specified large double hung windows of eight over eight panes of glass and a shingled roof. The kitchen, which is no longer standing, possessed “a sizable oven with an iron door, iron crane...and on one side of the chimney a sink, with a spout leading through the wall.”
From the house, the keeper was able to take in the panorama of the lighthouse tower overlooking the confluence of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. The house stands roughly 200 feet from the tower, but Concord Street has been extended so that it now separates the two structures. For his heroic efforts in defending Havre de Grace against the British in the War of 1812, John O'Neill was awarded the position of lightkeeper. The house, now named after him, was restored in 1999-2000 and has been opened as a museum. Both the museum and tower are open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 - 5:00 PM, April through October. Special tours and weddings may be made by appointment .
- Road Trip
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
Havre de Grace Maritime Museum
The Havre de Grace Maritime Museum was founded in 1988 to collect, document, preserve, and interpret the maritime skills, heritage, and ecology of the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay regions. It's collections are small but include boats and boat building tools in the Chesapeake Wooden Boat Builders School (CWBBS) exhibit and another exhibit on “Boat Building Tools and Traditions.” There is also a collection of nautical instruments, including compasses with dates ranging from the 18th century to the present in the “Navigation: Tools of the Trade” exhibit. The “Harvesting the Bay” exhibit has objects related to the commercial fishing industry, including photographs, nets, motors, boat components, fishing implements, logbooks, and other related items.
The museum is open: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM during January to May; daily from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM during June to August; and Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM during September to December. Admission is adults - $3, students and seniors - $2, and children 8 and under are free.
- Museum Visits
- Road Trip
Havre de Grace Promenade
A promenade/boardwalk runs along the shore and wetlands from the Concord Point Lighthouse, behind the Maritime Museum, and on past the Decoy Museum toward the Bayou Hotel. It was destroyed by Hurricane Isabel in 2003 and was recently rebuilt. The promenade is a very pleasant place to walk and observe wildlife.
- Hiking and Walking
Visit the Concord Point Lighthouse
The Concord Point Lighthouse is a 36-foot tower that was built in 1827. It is Havre de Grace's best known landmark. The lighthouse is the second oldest tower lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay, and at the time of its decommissioning in 1975, was the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in Maryland. The lantern was originally lit with 9 whale oil lamps with 16-inch tin reflectors. In 1854 a sixth-order Fresnel lens was installed and upgraded to a fifth-order Fresnel lens in 1869. The lighthouse was converted to electricity in 1920. Over the years, the keepers at Concord Point have usually been descendants of John O’Neill, an Irish immigrant who arrived in America at age eighteen and became a hero during the War of 1812 for his bravery in defending (though unsuccessful) Havre de Grace against the British when older men fled. The lighthouse is maintained by The Friends of Concord Point Lighthouse. One of the cannons that O’Neill used on 3 May 1813 still sits next to the lighthouse 195 years later. The tower is open to visitors on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 1:00 - 5:00 PM, May through October. The grounds are open year-round.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Buy some chocolate at Bomboy's.
If you have time to stop while traveling on Interstate 95 in Maryland, experience the beautiful little town of Havre De Grace. While there, buy some delicious homemade candy at Bomboy's. The candy there is excellent -- as evidenced by the long lines that are usually present regardless of the day or time.
Please note the hours of operation on the web site -- and that they are closed on Mondays.
- Road Trip
Concord Point Lighthouse
The Concord Point Lighthouse is one of the oldest working lighthouses on the east coast of the United States. Open to the public on weekends during the spring and summer, you can have a panaromic view of the Chesapeake Bay and Susquehanna River.
Historically Corcord Point played an important role in the War of 1812. The British were just off shore at Concord Point and city legend has it that John O'Neil manned a cannon single handed to hold them off shore. He was taken captive by the Brisith. However his young daughter rowed out to the British ship and begged for her father release. The British commander was so impressed with her bravery he released her father and gave her his gold snuff box in honor of her bravery.
Needless to say this story has been told many times over the years and has probably been exaggerated many time. But behind the lighthouse the actual cannon has been restored and has a historical marker.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge
There are a series of bridges that cross the Susquehanna River at Havre de Grace. The very first one is the B&O Railroad Bridge. Next would be the bridge on Interstate I95. The third bridge is the Rt 40 bridge. The last bridge is the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge. This is also the very last bridge to cross the Susquehanna before it becomes the Chesapeake Bay. This old iron bridge is still in use today. It carries the Amtrack trains that go from Washington DC to New York City and also many freight trains. This railroad bridge is unique in the fact that it has a draw section in the middle. The very center of the bridge rotates and swings the tracks out to open the bridge for large boats to pass. There are no longer that many large boats to come this far north in Maryland so the draw section is not really used any longer. It is still operational and it test each year. The high speed Amtrak trains have to slow down for safety reaons when crossing this bridge due to its age and width.
The French Connection
Much of Havre de Grace's charm comes from its history. The city is very proud of its name and of its French Connection. The Marquis de Lafayette was in Havre de Grace with George Washington during the time of the American Revolution. He remarked about the beautiful harbor and how it reminded him of La Havre in France. So the name Harbor of Mercy or Harbor of Beauty has stayed with the city since that day.
This statue commerorates LaFayette and standd in Legion Square at the intersection of St. John Street and Union Avenue.
This is the statue of St. Patrick in the yard of the church. St. Patricks now has a large building built for community use just behind the church. I was glad to see, on my last viist. that is constructed of stone also and accents the original building.
St. Patricks Catholic Church
I think it is safe to say that almost every small town or community in Maryland has a Catholic Church. The original colony of Maryland was founded as a home for Catholics. St. Patrick's is Havre de Grace's Catholic church. At one time there was a large school here for grades one through seven. But the school closed many years ago and the order of nuns who ran the school no longer lives here.
The exterior of St. Patricks is very beautiful. Much like the Methodist church just one block away, St. Patricks is constructed of stone from the stone quarries just up the Susquehanna River at Port Deposit. The steeple is one of the tallest points in Havre de Grace.
One of the oldest buildings in Havre de Grace
St Johns Episcople Church is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Havre de Grace. During the War of 1812 most of the city was burned down. This building escaped the fire and stands today much as it did back in the colonial days. The church is still open and has worship every Sunday.
In the 1970's the church took part of their property and built a senior citizens high rise. It is commonly just St. Johns Towers. Although at only six stories it is not quite a tower.
United Methodist Church
The United Methodist Church in Havre de Grace is a landmark. Its beautiful stone exterior stands out and immediately takes you back to a time and place from many years ago. My grandmother and her siblings were all baptized here back in the late1890's. And it has not changed in appearance a lot since that time. Its located on the corner of Union Avenue and Congress Avenue. The church stil has chimes played from its tower each evening. When I was growing up you could hear the chimes being played everynight just before dusk. This was always my cue to head home for the day before the street lights came on.
An old fashioned gazebo
Havre de Grace has a beautiful city park located right at the point where the Susquehanna River becomes the Chesapeake Bay. The park is about seven acres. There are shade trees, benches and a childrens play area. Also there is this beautiful old gazebo in the middle of the park. There used to be old bathrooms beneath the gazebo when I was growing up and they never seemed to work properly. So it was not very pleasant to sit on the gazebo or near it from the stench. However the bathrooms have long been closed and the gazebo has benches where you can sit and be transformed back to an earlier time.
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