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St. Clement's Island

St. Clement's Island State Park
Location St. Mary's County, Maryland, USA
Nearest city Leonardtown, Maryland
Coordinates

38°12′30″N 76°44′40″W / 38.20833°N 76.74444°W / 38.20833; -76.74444Coordinates: 38°12′30″N 76°44′40″W / 38.20833°N 76.74444°W / 38.20833; -76.74444

Area 40 acres (16 ha)
Governing body Maryland Department of Natural Resources
St. Clement's Island Historic District
Commemorative Cross and Rebuilt Blackistone Lighthouse, September 2009
Nearest city Coltons Point, Maryland
Coordinates

38°12′30″N 76°44′40″W / 38.20833°N 76.74444°W / 38.20833; -76.74444

Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 72001484[1]
Added to NRHP April 10, 1972

St. Clement's Island lies in the Potomac River one-half mile southeast of Colton's Point, St. Mary's County, Maryland in the United States. The uninhabited island has been designated St. Clement's Island State Park.

The park preserves the site of the March 25, 1634, landing of Maryland's first colonists, commemorated as Maryland Day. The island was a convenient, temporary base of operations for the 150 settlers as they negotiated with the Yaocomico Native Americans for land for a permanent settlement. The settlers originated from Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England. It was the site of the first Roman Catholic Mass celebrated in the British-American colonies, said by Jesuit Father Andrew White. It is widely believed that Mass took place on the very day of the landing itself.[2] St. Clement's Manor, including the Island, was the first manor granted by Lord Baltimore and its lord, Dr. Thomas Gerard (Gerrard), who played a significant role in 17th century Maryland history. They named the island in honor of Pope Saint Clement I, patron of mariners. The island, soon renamed Blackistone Island after the Blackistone family, came under its ownership in 1669 and remained in that family for 162 years. It was renamed St. Clement's Island once again in 1961, when the property was leased to the state of Maryland.

A water ferry leaves from the St. Clement's Island-Potomac River Museum near Colton's Point. A 40- foot stone cross stands on the island, in memory of the first settlers. In 1934, to celebrate Maryland’s 300th birthday, Governor Albert Ritchie, dedicated the cross recognizing this site as the location where religious toleration in America had its foundation.[3] The park is administered by Point Lookout State Park. The St. Clement's Island Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 10, 1972.[1]

For many years the island, then known as Blackistone Island, was the site of a lighthouse. Through the efforts of the St. Clement's Hundred, a local community organization created for the preservation of St. Clement's Island, a replica of the Blackistone Lighthouse was constructed and completed in June 2008.[3]

Gallery

References

External links

  • St. Clement's Island State Park - official site
  • St. Clement's Island Historic District, St. Mary's County, Inventory No.: SM-123, including photo in 2002, at Maryland Historical Trust website
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