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C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience

History on the Waterfront

A free audio tour of Chestertown’s historic waterfront. Fridays 12-4 p.m. and Saturdays 11-4 p.m.

  About the Tour

The History on the Waterfront audio tour offers a walk back in time into an era when the streets of this port town bustled with revolutionaries and convicts, slave traders, British soldiers, and heroes of the Underground Railroad. Connecting Chestertown’s rich history to the stories of the colonial Chesapeake, and by extension, the larger stories of America, this free thirty-minute audio tour recreates the sights and sounds of an 18th-century working waterfront.

History On the Waterfront was created by Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, and researched, written, and performed by Washington College students, faculty, and staff, and members of the wider Chestertown community. Beginning at the c. 1746 riverfront Custom House and extending along Chestertown’s historic waterfront, the tour includes narrative, music, and firsthand accounts of life in the colonial port.

Due to renovation work, tours will be suspended from May 19th through September 9th. We will reopen the regularly scheduled tours on September 15, 2017.

Reservations are only necessary for groups of ten or more.

 All tours are free of charge. Tours begin at the Custom House, 101 S. Water St. in Chestertown.

For group tours or more information call 410-810-7161, or email

Click here for a printable version of the tour brochure.

Project Support  

History on the Waterfront was orchestrated by the Starr Center’s Jill Ogline Titus, and narrated by the Center’s director, Adam Goodheart. Program manager Michael Buckley oversaw technical production. This project was made possible by a grant from the PNC Foundation Legacy Project with support from the Maryland Humanities Council. The Maryland Humanities Council is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Other major funding for the tour has  been provided by the Helen Clay Frick Foundation and the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area. Full press release.

Other Places to Visit

For additional opportunities to explore the maritime history of the Chesapeake region, check out Chestertown’s own tall ship, Schooner Sultana, drop by the Bordley History Center (home of the Historical Society of Kent County), or visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in nearby St. Michaels, Md.