Town of Chesapeake City emblem

Town of Chesapeake City MD

Today, Chesapeake City is the only town in Maryland that is situated on a working commercial canal. Most of its interesting 19th-century architecture remains intact, and the area that encompasses it on the south bank has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. At the city dock, pleasure boaters find a tranquil harbor off the busy Inter-Coastal Waterway, of which the canal is a major element. From the basin, visitors can walk easily into town or tour the Canal Museum, where the story of the canal is told and the massive waterwheel and steam engines that filled the locks stand in mute testimony. Outside is a replica of the lighthouses that lined the canal in days gone by.

Chesapeake City now is a destination widely known for its unique inland view of ocean-going vessels, for the proudly preserved and displayed reminders of its history, and for its friendly hospitality. Travelers discover fine dining, picturesque stores, outdoor concerts, seasonal events, and outstanding bed & breakfasts. From its origin as a rough and rowdy boom town, through an era of dispiriting depression, Chesapeake City has emerged as a charming and interesting place with a warm welcome for its visitors.

Read a Brief History of Chesapeake City

The 14-mile, hand-dug Chesapeake & Delaware Canal was opened to traffic on October 17, 1829. At that time there were three buildings on the south bank at the western end of the canal. As the ship traffic through the canal increased, the little cluster of buildings grew into a busy commercial community providing goods and services to passengers and shippers. In 1839, the place was named Chesapeake City. By 1849 the town, now extending over to the north bank, was well established and at its population peak. For the next 75 years, Chesapeake City prospered.In 1927, the C&D Canal was dredged to a sea-level waterway, eliminating the need for ships to stop for the locks at Chesapeake City. The town’s economic base quickly declined. Commerce was further complicated in 1942 when a ship destroyed the bridge that connected the two sides of the town, leaving residents and travelers for seven years with only a ferry as a means to cross the canal. The opening of a new high-level bridge in 1949 did nothing to restore the town’s economy—travelers swept by high above the town. Another blow struck the town in the 1960s when an entire street of 39 homes was razed to make way for a widening of the canal, which by then was the third busiest in the world.

Ordinance Adoption

Notice is hereby given that the Chesapeake City Town Council has adopted Ordinance 2023-002

Workshop Canceled

The Town Council Workshop scheduled for Monday, May 27, 2024, has been CANCELED!

Chesapeake City Resident Horseshoe Club

Saddle up, neighbors! The warm weather is finally here! The Chesapeake City Resident Horseshoe Club invites all who would like to join them, on Thursday evenings, starting May 16, at 6:30 pm, in Ferryslip Park (near Town Hall). Games will...

Town of Chesapeake City Facade Grant 2024

The Town of Chesapeake City is happy to announce that applications are now available to property owners for the Façade Improvement Grant. Please view post for PDF downloads.

Historic Commission Open Seat

The Town of Chesapeake City Historic District Commission has an Open Seat. If interested, please submit a Letter of Interest to Tonya Lockwood via email at or deliver it to Town Hall by Tuesday, April 16,...

River Towns Ride

Chesapeake City is excited to be a part of the 2024 River Towns Festival and Ride on Saturday, October 12, 2024, beginning at 9 am. Post-ride activities will be held in Historic New Castle's Battery Park and include Dogfish Head beer and...

Historic District Parking Permits

Historic District Parking Permit Applications are now being accepted for 2024. To be eligible for a Parking Permit, you MUST reside in the Historic District. Please attach a copy of your driver's license showing a Historic District...