A Guide to St. Michaels' Shipbuilding History

St. Michaels things to do include learning about its shipbuilding history with a visit to the maritime museums and locations where some of this country's early shipbuilding took place. Prominent shipbuilding locations are in St. Michaels, located in Talbot County a mere 2 hours away from Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, PA and Dover, DE.

Shipbuilding was one of the earliest industries in the town prior and up to the War 1812 with up to 6 shipbuilders active in the town. Fast schooners such as the Baltimore Clipper were designed in the area and used to outrun pirates and foreign navies. Examples of the town's early shipbuilding heritage can be located at the Chesapeake Maritime Museum. 

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Navy Point
PO Box 636
St. Michaels, MD 21663
(410) 745-2916

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum located at Navy Point provides visitors with information about the proud shipbuilding history along the Chesapeake Bay. Since its founding in 1965, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum resides on an 18-acre waterfront campus that features many of the artifacts of St. Michael's shipbuilding heritage.

The museum features over 9 exhibit buildings that house the early examples of the shipbuilding that took place in St. Michaels. Over 100,000 visitors a year come to experience the history of St. Michaels firsthand. In addition to exhibits and examples of the schooners and other ships that were built in the shipyard, the museum also features a live working boat yard were craftsman demonstrate how ships were built, and restore some of the older models that are on-site at the museum.

Impy Dawson's Wharf

Located at the cross section of Mulberry and Carpenter streets

While visiting the museum you may also be interested in walking over to Impy Dawson's Wharf. It was here that the battle of St. Michaels during the War of 1812 took place. A British landing party bombarded the town in an effort to destroy its shipyards. It was the response of a small armed militia positioned at the wharf who repelled the attempts of the British and helped to turn the tide in the war.

The Cannonball House

Located near the Parsonage Inn on Talbot Street

This is one of the lone surviving structures from the battle, having survived a cannonball that was shot through the roof of the home and entered through the attic, behind a frightened Mrs. Merchant who was holding her infant daughter as she darted downstairs. The home was the residence of shipwright William Merchant and is still privately held today.

Where to Stay When Visiting St. Michaels

While visiting the community of St. Michaels in the fabled Maryland Eastern Shore, to learn about its maritime and shipbuilding past, plan to extend your stay at any of the many accommodations in St. Michaels. Go to St. Michaels Inn and St. Michaels Bed and Breakfast for information on the accommodations, pricing and amenities offered at these locations.