Michael O. Bourne
Southern Terminus, Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal
Erie & Water Streets, , Havre de Grace, , Harford County
The Southern Terminal of the Susquehanna & Tidewater Canal is located along the western bank of the Susquehanna River at the northern end of the town of Havre de Grace, north of Erie Street. Still standing at the site are the Lock Master's House, the canal's outlet lock, and the foundations of a bulkhead wharf along the river side of the lock. Most of the structures built to serve various aspects of the canal's operations are no longer standing, but the locations of warehouses, stables, and several other buildings, including a broom factory, are shown on old city maps. The stone foundations and cellar hole of a brick hotel or boarding house for boatmen remains. The hotel was reportedly destroyed by fire. The Lock Master's House or Lock House, built of red brick and standing about 40 feet southwest of the land wall of the lock, has been little altered since its construction and is in fair condition. The Lock House yard was separated from the canal outlet by a wooden fence. This five bay house had two principal elevations, the northeast which faces the river and the southwest. The northeast elevation had, at one time, a one-story porch along its entire length similar to that now on the southwest. The southwestern porch, however, is not original. Built of brick laid in common bond. The Lock House has a large, corbeled brick cornice which incorporates a saw tooth design. The hipped roof has a very low pitch.
The Susquehanna & Tidewater Canal was chartered by Pennsylvania and Maryland in 1835. Construction began in 1836, and the canal was opened at the end of 1839. It became an integral part of the canal system which served New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. At its northern end, the S&T made contact with the central division of the Pennsylvania Canal at Wrightsville. This canal, when it was built, extended the capabilities of shipping through the Havre de Grace port. The canal, as was the case with most other canals, was unable to meet railroad competition and fell into disuse. Much of the canal has been obliterated. However, at Havre de Grace the physical features are unusually well preserved and are accessible to the public. Even though operation of the lower portion ceased about 1900, this canal, as part of the larger network of such waterways, played a significant role in the economic development of the mid-Atlantic states. Outlet locks which discharge directly into tidewater as do those at Havre de Grace are rare. Thus, this site which contains the southern terminus of the waterway as well as the lockmaster's house, represents an important aspect of this canal system.