panarama looking down from the bridge courtesy of

About Our Town:

Located in Cecil County, Maryland just off State Route 213 along the historic Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. Easy driving distance from Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore and Washington D.C. 

See map and directions
Go to map.

Population: 735 (1990 Census)

Size: 232 Acres, about 400 acres with C&D Canal included which divides the town into north and south sides.

Public Restrooms:  Franklin Hall,   98 Bohemia Ave. - (side entrance - handicap accessible).

Library: Franklin Hall (side entrance - handicap accessible).


First Presbyterian 410-885-3418
Bethel AME 410-885-5923
Trinity United Methodist 410-885-5641
St. Basil Ukranian Catholic 410-885-5161
St. Rose of Lima, Catholic 410-885-5533
Good Shepherd Episcopal 410-885-5375
Fine Dining:    Schaefer's New Canal House Restaurant 410-885-2200
Bayard House Restaurant 410-885-5040
Chesapeake Inn Restaurant and Marina 410-885-2040
Yacht Club Restaurant 410-885-2267
Casual Dining:    Bohemia Cafe  410-885-3066 breakfast and lunch
Tap Room 410-885-2344 seafood & crabs year 'round
Canal Creamery 410-885-3314 soup, sandwiches & ice cream
Bed & Breakfast Inns:    Inn at the Canal  410-885-5995
Blue Max  410-885-2781
Ship Watch Inn  410-885-5300
Schaefer's New Canal House  410-885-2200

Brief History

Area Museums and Tours


As early as the 17th century local settlers, including the famous Dutch surveyor and map maker Augustine Herrman,  recognized the possibility of connecting the Chesapeake Bay with the Delaware River.  In the mid 1760s, possible canal routes were surveyed along a conceptual route stretching across the Delmarva Peninsula from the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay to the Delaware River.  Not until 1824, after an unsuccessful first start further to the north, did  construction begin at the Chesapeake City location.  At it's completion in October of 1829, two structures were reported to have been standing in the town (then known as Bohemia Village): a pre-revolutionary building known as Chick's Tavern House and a lock house for collecting tolls. The town subsequently grew in response to the needs of the canal operations and commerce. In 1839, the town changed it's name to Chesapeake City in anticipation of big things to come and incorporated in 1849 when the population reached 400.

In 1927 the canal was made sea level and a new vertical lift bridge spanned the waterway linking the end of George Street to the North side of Chesapeake City. On July 28, 1942 a tanker, the "Franz Klasen" struck the lift bridge, completely destroying it (pictured at left).

The current suspension arch bridge (pictured below) was completed in 1949.

Pictured at left is a photograph (circa 1910) of Harriott's Hotel (known today as The Bayard House). Compare this view with the recent picture in color at right. Notice the buildings on the right side in the old photo do not exist in the new one. Both pictures were taken from the same vantage point. The old buildings ( and several streets and many homes) were sacrificed to the widening of the canal. The "new" span bridge can be seen in the second photo. The Bayard House is now waterfront property, and patrons enjoy a wonderful view of the canal from both upstairs and downstairs dining areas. The "Hole in the Wall" bar located on the lower floor has not been changed from its original location.  For more details on the evolution of the canal the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains a wonderful historical account of the canal project as well as current developments on their web site The Chesapeake &Delaware Canal.

Many of the homes and storefronts in Chesapeake City have been  renovated. Pictured here is a view of George Street which includes the Beiswanger-Henn House (Circa 1849), The Beiswanger Shop (Circa 1896), and the Banks Steele House (Circa 1854). This was taken about 1985 after a fire partially destroyed the center shop and damaged the Beiswanger Henn House. All three buildings were beautifully restored (new picture). Homes are still being restored today under the watchful eye of the town's Historic Committee to preserve the historic charm of these old buildings.

Chesapeake City's historic area is on the National Historic Registry, as well as Maryland's Historic Registry. The town has many restored historic homes and shops and galleries, featuring hand-painted originals and prints, antiques, collectibles, clothing, gifts and crafts. Additional sights include the Canal Museum, art galleries, summer concerts, boat tours, and tours of the nearby horse country. There are also many fine restaurants and bed and breakfasts and transient and seasonal boat dockage availability.

Most of the facts for the brief history above and much more are wonderfully related along with photos and illustrations in a little book called "Brief History & Walking Tour of Historic Chesapeake City, Maryland" written by Jack L. Shagena. The book is available through stores in town.

Museums and Historical Tours
in Chesapeake City and Vicinity

The following information was gleaned from various local publications,  pamphlets and notices.  Where possible we have provided telephone numbers in case the posted hours may have changed.

C&D Canal Museum, Chesapeake City
Depicts the history and operation of the 165-year-old canal which joins the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. Open Monday - Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 410-885-5621

Chesapeake City Historical District
Guided tours are available of this restored 19th-century town. Call 410-885-2415 for information.

Hersch Mini Museum, Chesapeake City
Features household items dating from the late 19th century and an extensive collection of irons. Tours by appointment. Call 410-885-5889.

Horse Country Tour
Take a guided tour or historic Chesapeake City, magnificent thoroughbred horse farms, the C&D Canal Museum, and historic area churches.  For reservations and half day or full day tour itineraries call Uniglobe Hill Travel in Chesapeake City at 410-885-2797 or 1-800-466-1402.

St. Francis Xavier Shrine, Warwick
One of the earliest Catholic foundations in America. Seven masses are held annually, plus special events and tours by appointment. Call 410-275-2866.

Mt. Harmon Plantation, Earleville
Restored tobacco plantation dating from 1651 offers guided tours of the house and self-guided tours of the nature trails. Open Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. Call 410-275-8819.

Historical Society Museum, Elkton
Exhibits range from a country store and colonial kitchen to a revolving gallery exhibit and research library. Open Monday noon to 4 p.m., Tuesday 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the fourth Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 410-398-1790.

Elk Landing, Elkton
Located at 590 Landing Lane Elkton, this local landmark was a busy portal for north-south travelers in the late 1700s, including Washington, Jefferson, and Lafayette. In process of restoration, the site is open to the public for special events and pre-arranged tours. Call 410-620-6400 or visit

John F. DeWitt Military Museum, Elkton
Military artifacts from the American Revolution through Desert Storm. Follows schedule of Historical Society. Call 410-398-1790.

Historic Driving Tour Vol. I
Elkton to the Sassafras River; Drive back in time to capture the rich heritage of historic eastern Cecil County, with a 60 min. audio tape and map set.  Order by phone, or call for sale locations: 1-800-CECIL-95 or 410-996-5303. 

Gilpins Falls Bridge, North East
A 119-foot long covered bridge recently restored to its original splendor, supported by long wooden arch Burr trusses. Call 410-996-5300.

Upper Bay Museum, North East
Collection of Bay area hunting, fishing, boating, artifacts. Open weekends Memorial Day - Labor Day, Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Call 410-287-2675.

Tory House, Charlestown
This restored colonial kitchen tavern is open for tours the third Sunday of each month from 2 to 4 p.m. May through September. Call 410-287-8262.

Charlestown Historic District
Established 1742, this riverside town remains nearly untouched by modern developments. Visit historic houses and taverns. Call 410-287-8262.

Rodgers Tavern, Perryville
Restored 18th century tavern that was frequented by the nation's forefathers, including George Washington. Tours by appointment. Call 410-642-6066.

Paw Paw Museum, Port Deposit
Showcases 19th and 20th century home life, industries, schools, and business. Open second and fourth Sundays of the month. Call 410-378-3086.

Port Deposit Historic District
This 19th-century town boasts many fine examples of Victorian and granite architecture. Call 410-378-3236.

Decoy Museum, Havre de Grace, MD
With collections by Madison Mitchell, Paul Gibson, Jim Currier, and others, the Decoy Museum houses one of the most complete collections of Upper Bay decoys on exhibit. Open daily 1 to 4 p.m. Call 410-939-3739 or

Concord Point Lighthouse, Havre de Grace, MD
Fully restored, this is one of the oldest continuously operating lighthouses in the U.S.  Open weekends 1 to 5 p.m. or by appointment. Call 410-939-1498.


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