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Port Deposit

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Known as Creswell’s Ferry until 1812, Port Deposit is located on the narrow flood plain between the Susquehanna River and steeply rising granite cliffs. Plans for a booming settlement to serve as the terminus of the Susquehanna Canal, chartered in 1783, were thwarted by the canal’s construction problems and subsequent failure in 1817. However, Port Deposit’s advantageous position at the northernmost navigable point on the river generated a lively trade from rafts bringing goods such as lumber, coal, iron, slate, and grain downstream to be reloaded onto ships traveling to Baltimore and farther afield. In addition, the first bridge over the Susquehanna River opened there in 1817, helping Port Deposit emerge as a major processing and manufacturing center in the nineteenth century.

The town also became widely known for its local blue gray building stone quarried from the cliffs north of town starting in the late eighteenth century. Port Deposit granite, technically a type of granite gneiss, was prized for its color, texture, and strength and became a sought-after building material throughout Maryland and beyond by the early nineteenth century. Port Deposit’s historic core preserves many fine buildings, as well as sidewalks, retaining walls, terracing, and stairs, constructed with its local granite.

Writing Credits

Lisa Pfueller Davidson and Catherine C. Lavoie

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