“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Havre de Grace in Harford County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Luxury on the Bay

Luxury on the Bay Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Pfingsten, July 13, 2008
1. Luxury on the Bay Marker
Inscription.  Listen, and you can almost hear the jazz music and smell the roasting duck.
Edward F. Piersol conceived the idea for the Bayou Hotel and was the first owner. The hotel, considered lavish for a small town, was built with field stone from Harford County and completed in 1921. Each of the sixty rooms had a private bath, (a luxury for that time) and most rooms had a view of the water. Other extravagances included a parking garage and the indoor pool that is now part of the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum.
Join us for an evening at the Bayou Hotel in 1926
Mingle with famous clients who have come from Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City to hunt canvasback ducks on the flats, fish, and attend the local horse races. Feast on fresh roasted duck in the large dining room with a view of the bay and then stroll through the formal gardens to the indoor heated pool for a dip. Finally, head back to the hotel bar for a nightcap and retire to your waterfront room.

The hotel did well during the 1920s but by the early 1930s things began to look grim. A large fire in 1932 caused the Bayou to close for renovations. Sinkboxing,
The Bayou Condominiums today image. Click for full size.
By William Pfingsten, July 13, 2008
2. The Bayou Condominiums today
the favored form of duck hunting in the area, was outlawed. The Depression and Prohibition hurt business. In 1934, the Bayou Hotel shut its doors and went out of business.

Later the Hotel served as a retirement home for the Franciscan Sisters. A two-story tower was added in 1953. Shortly after this, the hotel became the Bayou Villa Apartments. The building fell into disrepair and stood empty. The city assumed ownership in 1976. The Bayou is now a privately owned condominium association.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EntertainmentIndustry & Commerce.
Location. 39° 32.356′ N, 76° 5.21′ W. Marker is in Havre de Grace, Maryland, in Harford County. Marker can be reached from Commerce Street. Marker is on the Havre de Grace Promenade, a board walk from Millard E. Tydings Memorial Park to the Havre de Grace Lighthouse. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Havre de Grace MD 21078, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lure of the Chesapeake (a few steps from this marker); Attack at Frenchtown (within shouting distance of this marker); Invasion at Dawn (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Bayou (about 400 feet away); A Crucial Connection (about 400 feet away); Aids to Navigation Fog Bell
The Bayou image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 4, 2013
3. The Bayou
(about 400 feet away); A Perfect Location (about 400 feet away); The Boyer Family Shad Shack (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Havre de Grace.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Walking tour of Havre de Grace Promenade
Also see . . .  Bayou Hotel. HA-1127, Maryland Historical Sites Survey, 1977, Maryland State Archives. (Submitted on October 6, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 
Additional comments.
1. The War of 1812
The Bayou represents the approximate location of the Concord Point Battery that resisted the British attack on May 3, 1813. The battery held out until a man named Webster was killed by a Congreve rocket. As the American defense collapsed, 2nd Lt. John O'Neill at the Potato Battery (near the foot of Revolution Street) was the last American defender.
    — Submitted October 6, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.
The Bayou History Sign image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 4, 2013
4. The Bayou History Sign
The Bayou

Construction began on the Bayou in 1917. Built with solid 18" thick Harford County Fieldstone walls and 14" thick wooden beams, it took years to complete.

The Bayou Hotel opened for business in 1921. Its sunning facilities included a large lobby and 60 guestrooms with baths. The main dining room was located on the first floor and opened onto a large terrace where the diner could have a spectacular view of the Upper Bay. A Building just north of the hotel (currently the Decoy Museum) was at one time the hotel's enclosed, heated swimming pool. A small garage was tucked under the pool for guests' automobiles.

The stock market crash and a fire in 1929 signaled the beginning of the demise of the Bayou as a grand hotel. The hotel was forced to close its doors. The building was purchased by the Franciscan nuns for use as a home for the aged. A chapel was added to the water front side of the building.

In 1953, the Bayou was purchased and converted into apartments. In the early 70's the building again suffered a fire and in 1976, it was abandoned and given to the city of Havre de Grace. The Bayou was boarded up, stripped of its plumbing and heating systems and for several years sat empty.

In September 1983, the National Park Service in conjunction with the Maryland State Historic Society designated the Bayou a national historic Structure and directed its preservation. In 1984 the city sold the building and it was renovated and is now condominiums.

Wayne A. Bowie & Sons, General Contractor
Eddie Matthews image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, October 4, 2013
5. Eddie Matthews

In Memory of
Edward (Eddie) Matthews
Who Lost His Life
During Renovation Of The Bayou
April 25, 1984
The Bayou at Sunset image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 30, 2012
6. The Bayou at Sunset
Credits. This page was last revised on December 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 29, 2008, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,359 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on December 2, 2020, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 29, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.   3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 6, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 7, 2021