The historic town of St Michaels dates back to the mid-1600s when it served as a trading post for area tobacco farmers and trappers. In 1677 the Christ Episcopal Church of St Michael Archangel parish was founded in present day St. Michaels. In 1778 a British land agent, James Braddock, purchased 20 acres and deeded 58 lots. This created St. Mary's Square, the historic center of St. Michaels. To this day, this charming seaside resort town reflects its colonial past, as many of the area's homes date from the late 1700s to the late 1800s.
St. Michaels is the center of a unique and magical waterworld on Maryland's fabled Eastern Shore, about halfway between the Susquehanna source and the Atlantic mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. This diminutive well-preserved vintage port, whose origins date from the birth of the colonies, is nestled between the loping Miles River on the north and the vast vistas of Michener's Broad Creek to the south. Its influence radiates beyond Tilghman Island, Easton and Oxford to Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington and other points on the compass where our seafood trucks deliver the Chesapeake's bounty on a daily basis and the word spreads about this magnificent region.
The town is a collage of handsome churches, manicured colonial, federal and Victorian homes, historic heritage, diverse artistic talents and pleasant southern culture. It is also the proud cradle and repository of the Chesapeake's maritime history.
It is a peaceful place which wakes each morning to glorious views and closes each night in candlelit elegance. It's a town in constant contrast, from horse-and-buggy, steamboats, watermen's deadrises, century-old log canoes and ancient bugeyes to ATM's, the Internet, luxury Town Cars and fancy cabin cruisers (but there isn't any neon!).
During the War of 1812, St. Michaels gained its name as "the town that fooled the British". The residents of St. Michaels, having been forewarned that British barges were positioned on the waters to attack with cannon fire, hoisted lanterns into the trees above the city. This first successful "blackout" fooled the British into overshooting the town's houses and shipyards. Only one house, forever since known as Cannonball House, was struck.
Throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, St. Michaels was a Chesapeake Bay economy focused primarily around the shipbuilding and seafood processing and packing industries. Only in the last 30 years has the economy of St. Michaels shifted to a tourism concentration.