In 1789, the nation was considering two towns for our permanent nation’s capital: Washington and Havre de Grace. The House of Representatives vote ended in a tie, with the very first Speaker of the House, Fredric Muhlenberg, casting the deciding vote in favor of Washington. With that, Havre de Grace turned to life as a “river city” along the mighty Susquehanna River. Like many Chesapeake towns, Havre de Grace traces its roots to the Bay’s 1608 exploration by Capt. John Smith. It took 174 more years before the French Revolutionary Marquis de Lafayette, noting that a proposal had been floated to build a city here, suggested “Havre de Grace,” or “Harbor of Mercy,” a nod to the French town of Le Havre.
In recent years, the city has reinvented itself as a destination for boaters and tourists. Victorian homes line the waterfront where the wooden boardwalk, called The Promenade, stretches along 0.75 mile of Susquehanna riverfront. If you are visiting at the end of September, be sure to attend the annual Havre de Grace Art Show.
The Waterway Guide Team has gained extensive boating knowledge over the years, and now we are sharing all of the tips, skills and tools we’ve picked up along the way!