Harford History

May 25, 2008

On May 28, 1840, the city of Havre de Grace celebrated the opening of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal. Six hundred guests from Philadelphia and Baltimore paraded with brass bands onto seven magnificently decorated boats to begin the journey up to Deer Creek. There, they met guests aboard five packet boats from Wrightsville, Pa. After celebratory speeches, all twelve boats returned to Havre de Grace, where guests boarded the steamboat Carroll for a feast and more speeches.

Before the canal, the shallow and rocky waters of the Susquehanna River were barely navigable. During springtime high waters, flat-bottomed arks were used to transport goods downriver. At Port Deposit, the goods were loaded onto a sailing vessel and the arks were dismantled. The Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal finally allowed cargo to be shipped from Havre de Grace north toward Philadelphia.

Source: Havre de Grace; an Informal History by Peter A. Jay. 1986.

Compiled by the staff of the Harford County Public Library

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