Peter E. Kurtze
Havre de Grace Historic District
Havre de Grace, Harford County
The Havre de Grace Historic District is an urban district of approximately a thousand buildings which incorporates most of the present town. It includes the central business district and most of the residential neighborhoods radiating out of it. The buildings date primarily from the 19th and early 20th centuries, with about 90 percent contributing to the significance of the district. The district has the feeling of an early 20th century town tied together through lampposts, building materials, paving, scale, and landscaping. The houses are primarily of frame or brick construction and the public and commercial buildings of brick or stone. Most of the major architectural styles that characterized U.S. building history on the east coast from the 18th to the early 20th century are represented in the district. Few structures from the 18th century have survived but there are a significant number of houses and commercial buildings from the early and mid-19th century. Havre de Grace experienced a boom in the late 19th century, with many Victorian structures remaining to prove it. Many of the buildings in Havre de Grace are of historic and architectural importance individually. Many other older structures contribute as a group to the surviving fabric of the 19th century tidewater town. The major intrusion is a large hospital complex along Union Street.
Havre de Grace is a small town located in northeastern Maryland where the Susquehanna River flows into the Chesapeake Bay. Historically, this town, which was founded in the 18th century, has been a major commercial and transportation service center in this section of the state. An early 19th century Post Road to Philadelphia from Baltimore crossed the Susquehanna at this point; the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal, constructed in the late 1830s, which was part o the canal system serving New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland terminated at Havre de Grace; and the town was serviced by both the Baltimore and Ohio and the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroads. The Havre de Grace Historic District consists of most of the town and is significant for the collection of 18th, 19th, and early 20th century buildings which 1) record the development and status of Havre de Grace as an important commercial and transportation center in northeastern Maryland; 2) include several excellent and well-preserved examples of the major stylistic influences that characterize American architecture up to the early 20th century; and 3) contribute through their juxtaposition and variety of design and materials to several streetscapes that retain the basic environmental qualities associated with life in small urban centers at the turn of the 20th century.