Lapidum

copyright, Peter H. Anderson, Baltimore, MD, August, '99


Location.

Intersection of Lapidum and Stafford Roads at a public boat launch facility. ADC Map, Page 13, Coord H10. This is a part of the Susquehanna State Park.

Parking is available at the boat launch at $5.00. This may be realistic for actually putting a boat in and taking it out but seems way out of line for merely parking for an hour. Fortunately, the collection of the fee is on the honor system.

Description.

Lapidum meaning "place of rocks" appears to have been one of the earliest settled areas in Harford County (1665). At first glance this seems odd as flat land is at a real premium. However, Herring Run is narrow with steep banks and there is no shortage of stone to dam it and harness the water power for a mill. A ferry service across the Susquehanna was operated in the 1720s and apparently Lapidum was used as an early port. The Tidewater Canal was built in the 1840s.

I went up hill on Lapidum Road which parallels Herring Run looking for traces of a mill but was not successful. Any remains of a mill may have been used in banking the current road or perhaps I didn't go far enough up the hill.

There are impressive ruins of the Susquehanna Hotel at the north west corner of the intersection. The Mason Dixon Trail (blue blazes) enters these ruins from Lapidum Road and rapidly climbs to the top of the ridge affording excellent views of the river. The trail runs north east along the top of the ridge and descends to Stafford Road at Rock Run. This skirts a number of private properties along Stafford Road between Lapidum and Rock Run.

Tidewater Canal Lock #9 is located in Lapidum. Note that the locks were numbered from the Pennsylvania / Maryland Border with Lock #10 being in Havre de Grace.

I hiked a bit south along the rail line toward the Tydings Bridge (I95), which appears to cross a few private parcels. However, there were no "no trespassing" signs and I assume the structures are used by Park personell. The rail line enters the woods but easy passage is hampered by an inlet from the Susquehanna to the canal and the rail bridge is gone leaving only the two rails. I assume that after negotiating this inlet, one can continue along the rail to I95 and perhaps beyond. However, there does not appear to any trail maintenance and I suspect the going would be difficult.

The structures are interesting as at first glance, they appear to have been built within the last 25 years. However, the stone work associated with the terraces appears far too elaborate to justify such structures and I assume the stone work is quite old. The idea was to get the structures up and away from the Susquehanna which prior to the building of the Conowingo was prone to flooding and massive buildups of ice during the winter.