Finished in 1840, the Susquehanna & Tidewater (S&T) Canal stretched from Havre de Grace, Md., at the top of the Bay, all the way to Wrightsville, Pennsylvania. It carried coal, lumberand other raw materials on their way to Baltimore.
The cargo boats, pulled by mules, passed through a series of 29 locks that kept the water level high enough for passage. Eventually railroads pushed the canal system into extinction, and only two locks of the S&T remain today, one in Havre de Grace, the other upriver in Holtwood, Penn.
At the Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House, in downtown Havre de Grace, the history of the canal comes alive for visitors. The interior of the Lock House (one of the largest built along the canal) is now a museum that reveals the everyday lives of the lock tender and his family, including a mid-1800s kitchen and upstairs bedroom and the toll collector’s office where visitors can watch a film about how the lock operated.
Although closed to the public during the winter months, the museum seeks to recreate the past through historical reenactments and seasonal events. The museum puts on a Pirate Fest every June, featuring a weekend-long pirate encampment on the Lock House grounds and the famous Buccaneer Bash, which raises greatly needed funds. This month the museum hosts its 44th annual Candlelight Tour on Saturday, December 10 from 4–8 p.m., where participants can visit homes beautifully decorated for the holidays. Tickets cost $20 (www.thelockhousemuseum.org), and all proceeds benefit the Lock House.