Harford History

November 27, 2005

1878: THE FIRST CITY

On Nov. 28, 1878, the town commissioners of Havre de Grace met for the last time: Havre de Grace was to become the first community in Harford to be designated a city.

Havre de Grace would have a six-member council and an elected mayor. On Jan. 6, 1879, the first elections took place. J. Thompson Frieze became the first mayor. In its first meeting, the council elected Hollis Courtney Jr. as council president.

By the second meeting, the City Council had approved 15 ordinances, which offer insight into life in the new city. Circuses were regulated and butcher shops were not allowed to operate between May 1 and Oct. 1. One ordinance prohibited speeding on the streets, while another banned hogs from running loose. These and many other ordinances passed by the council can be read today, recorded by the city clerk in the Ordinance Book.

[Havre de Grace: An Informal History," by Peter Jay. Research by Harford County Public Library]

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