The 45-mile long Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal ran from Wrightsville, Pennsylvania to Havre de Grace, Maryland. The canal was built between 1835 and 1839 in order to improve commerce on the Susquehanna River. The new canal would connect the extensive Pennsylvania canal system with tidewater ports—primarily Baltimore and Philadelphia.
The canal opened for business in May 1840. Raw materials such as coal, iron ore, flint, lumber and grain were taken to navigable water. Products including groceries, dry goods, and agricultural supplies were sent back.
Traffic on the canal was very heavy reaching its peak in 1864. Unfortunately the canal was plagued by ongoing problems including lack of sufficient funds, legal disputes, railroad competition and storm related damage. Eventually the ravages of nature and the cost of repairs made continuation impractical. Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna Canal never reopened after a May 1984 flood. Maryland’s Tidewater Canal continued operation for local traffic until about 1900.