Imagine coming over the Spa Creek Bridge and having to pay a toll. That was the case in 1870 when the first bridge was built from Annapolis across the creek that had been known at various times as Todd’s Creek, Acton’s Creek, or Carrol’s Creek. At that time the cost to cross the wooden bridge to the brand new community across the creek was five cents for a person on foot; ten cents for a horse and rider; five cents for each horse, mule, or ox; and three cents for a sheep, calf, or hog.
The third, and current, drawbridge was built in 1949 and connected Annapolis with a thriving Eastport centered on the maritime industry and home to watermen, boatbuilders, and employees of the Naval Academy and the naval Experiment Station across the Severn.
Settled in 1665 and farmed for more than 200 years, the Eastport peninsula played a role in the military history of the United States on several occasions. The fort at Horn Point was built in 1776 to defend the Annapolis harbor from British raids during the Revolutionary War. In 1781, the Marquis de Lafayette and his troops camped along the banks of Spa Creek, near the site of the present bridge, on their way to meet General Washington for the battle of Yorktown.
During the War of 1812, Fort Horn came into service again, protecting the city of Annapolis and preventing the British from landing and marching on Washington, D.C. Fifty years later, Union soldiers who had contracted smallpox, many while in Southern prison camps, were treated at a hospital for contagious diseases on Horn Point that served as an adjunct to the larger Civil War hospitals on the grounds of the Naval Academy and St. John’s College.
Most recently, the Eastport “militia” revolted in 1998 to form the tongue-in-cheek Maritime Republic of Eastport (MRE) to promote businesses on the peninsula while the Spa Creek Bridge was closed for repairs. The MRE is still active today, hosting many events throughout the year—including the annual tug of war, “the longest international tug of war over water in the world”—which benefit local charities.
Once known as Horn Point, Horne Point Village, and Severn City, Eastport received its name in 1888, when Charles J. Murphy applied to the federal government for a post office. Murphy, one of the owners of Annapolis Glass Company, which was located at the Spa Creek end of Second Street, suggested naming Eastport after his hometown in Maine. Today, our Eastport is a prosperous community that includes marinas, restaurants, maritime services, a museum, a gallery, and of course, many beautiful homes of all styles and sizes.
The Eastport motto? “We like it this way.”