Scale Model Takes Havre de Grace Back to the Day Before the British Savagely Attacked Town During War of 1812

A group of volunteers has been working for nearly a year on a scale model of Havre de Grace as it existed the day before the British raided the village in May 1813.  This afternoon, R. Madison Mitchell (Mitch), one of the modelers, took time out from shaping the exhibit to discuss the handiwork of his team with a group of visitors.  They’ve worked from old maps, land records, tax assessments, newspapers and more to accurately recreate the place as it peacefully existed the day before the enemy attacked.

Painstakingly, the group has built, in miniature, the port at the top of the Chesapeake.  It was a a small place with about 250 residents and 50 homes when the British savagely stormed into the fishing village on the morning of May 3, 1813, the enemy almost completely destroying it.  After taking possession of the place and “plundering the stores of all worth taking they set fire to the two taverns,” 19 dwelling houses, and 21 stables and outhouses, besides all the craft and stages near the town, one newspaper reported.  “The British have laid in ashes the beautiful village of Havre-de Grace!  The war has now come to our own doors,” another declared.

Despite the rampage and the devastation from the flames, it recovered.  Fortunately, few American communities have had to rebuild from such devastation at the hands of an invading foreign force, according to the National Register Nomination.

Week after week, the miniature layout, occupying a space in the Visitors Center, has grown as the landscape, roads, waterfront, buildings and other elements were designed, shaped and placed.  It’s all going to be there, from the ferries to the markets, fisheries, and docks.  Too there are the nearby woodlands and pastures, as well as the homes and structures nearer the waterfront.

This is one of the initiatives undertaken by the six heritage museums of Havre de Grace and the City to tell the story of what happened when the British raided the town during the War of 1812.  While modeling still needs to be done, the photos below shows you the handiwork by Mitch and this fine group of skilled hobbyist and craftsmen, as it comes along.

The excellent work by the team carefully creating and placing the miniatures is going to make a valued exhibit as people visit Havre de Grace to learn more about the War of 1812 in the months and years ahead.  It’s located at the Visitor Center in Havre de grace, which is open M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The public is welcome to stop by to see the exhibit as it progresses.

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6 Responses to Scale Model Takes Havre de Grace Back to the Day Before the British Savagely Attacked Town During War of 1812

  1. Bill Hughes says:

    I’ll have to make another trek to Havre de Grace to see this and then go back to Chiapparelli’s for lunch. I was just there last week.

  2. LARRY SPRY says:

    I wish someone would do the same for the town of Elkton. I know there are a lot of maps around. I would be more then happy to help on a project of this kind.

    Larry Spry

    • Mike says:

      Larry, wouldn’t that be great. I wish there were more people interested in Elkton’s history. Do you do railroad modeling? Why don’t you stop in someday. You’d really enjoy going through the old maps and photos. The photos will keep you looking for days.. As for maps there are many.

      Do you remember the model you made of the old Elkton Elementary school for that fire comamnd officer’s school? AT least I think it was that old downtown school. If not, it was some other building in that area.

  3. Mike says:

    Bill definitely. While you’re down there you can give your readers a review of some fine place to eat. Always need new tips from you. Also might make a good article for a journalist out covering his beat.

  4. Bob says:

    First I’ve heard about this. I’m going to stop by and see it. Are these guys doing this scale miniature railroad modelers? This is a lot of work and it looks like they’re doing one outstanding job. I’ll stop by and look at it. Are they usually there to talk to?

  5. Mike says:

    Bob definitely stop by and talk to them. I think they are railroaders and also decoy carvers. Anyway stop by. You’ll enjoy it.

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