At the point where the Susquehanna River enters the Chesapeake Bay stands the Concord Point Lighthouse; this lighthouse has protected many vessels from the dangerous waters for approximately 150 years.
The lighthouse was built in 1827 to protect vessels from the dangerous currents and shoals at the mouth of the Susquehanna. It continued to serve until it was decommissioned by the US Coast Guard in 1975. It was built by John Donohoo (a prominent lighthouse contractor), who built 12 of the first 17 lighthouses found on the Chesapeake Bay; he also served as Town Commissioner in the early 1800s.
The lighthouse is now under automatic control but was originally manned by the O'Neill family until 1928.
The lighthouse grounds are open year-round. The lighthouse itself is open for visits on Saturdays and Sundays between 13:00 and 17:00 from April to October (closed holidays).
The Concord Point Lighthouse Keeper's cottage is newly restored and gives an insight into the life of John O'Neill, the first Keeper of the Light.
Each night, he would leave his house and climb the 27 stairs and 6-rung iron ladder to the top of the lighthouse. He would attend the light, refilling the oil, three times each night, thereby protecting the ships travelling through the Bay and up the Susquehanna River.
In 1920, the lighthouse became automated and the house was subsequently sold, with a colourful array of tenants until, eventually, in 1988 the State of Maryland purchase the house and it was given to the City of Havre de Grace.
The house can be visited on Saturdays and Sundays from 13:00 to 17:00 during April through October (holidays excepted).
Situated near where the Susquehanna River meets the Chesapeake Bay, this museum tells the story of the region's maritime heritage through educational exhibits, monthly lectures, and programs like the Chesapeake Wooden Boat Builders School and the Susquehanna Flats Environmental Center.
US$2.50 Seniors (60+) & students
Children under 8 free
Guided Tours $4 per person - available by appointment
September through May
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00
June through August
Open 7 days 10:00 to 17:00
Built at the mouth of the Susquehanna river in 1827, it is the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation in the USA.
Now under automatic control, the light was manned by the O'neil family until 1928.
John O'Neil was named as the first lighthouse keeper in recognition of his heroic defense of Havre De Grace against the British in the War of 1812.
There are many old and unique buildings in Havre de Grace. Most of them have been restored and are being used today for various antique stores. This is an old building on the corner of Washinton Street and Pennington Avenue. There have been many things in this building over the years. When I was a teenager there was a deli in the front of this building which sold submarine sandwiches and pizza. There are apartments on the upper floors today and and antique shop and artist studio in the old store front.
This building is located about one block from the river and is in the middle of the original shopping district.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Havre de Grace has a lovely Promenade that runs for a half mile along the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, starting at Tydings Park and ending at the Concord Point Lighthouse.
This short stroll will give you an opportunity to see plenty of waterfowl and will be a pleasure for ornithologists.
The Promenade is open daily from sunrise to 23:00 with bicycling permitted only from sunrise until 10:00; fishing is permitted from the promenade but in designated areas only.
Dogs, rollerblades, skates (and skateboards) as well as alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the promenade.
Havre de Grace is where you will find the convergence of the Susquehanna River and the Chesapeake Bay. The Susquehanna River is 444 miles long (making it the longest river on the American east coast) and has its source in New York state.
The river provides almost half the freshwater flow into the Chesapeake Bay and attracts many fishermen for its wealth of fishing.
There are several small museums in Havre de Grace. One of the more popular is the Decoy Museum. It is located near the Boardwalk which winds through the wetlands along the shoreline from Tydings Park to Concord Point. The museum tells not only the history of decoy making in the area but offers many exhibits of decoys and a memorial to Madison Mitchell, one of the best known decoy makers from Havre de Grace. The fact that he was also the local mortician may explain his adept use at carving the replicia's. But that is a subject I really do not want to think about.