St. Clement's Island State Park

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St. Clement's Island State Park
Maryland State Park
Cross and Blackistone Lighthouse Sept 09.JPG
Commemorative cross and rebuilt Blackistone Lighthouse
Country United States
State Maryland
County St. Mary's
Elevation 10 ft (3 m) [1]
Coordinates 38°12′40″N 76°44′44″W / 38.21111°N 76.74556°W / 38.21111; -76.74556Coordinates: 38°12′40″N 76°44′44″W / 38.21111°N 76.74556°W / 38.21111; -76.74556 [1]
Area 62 acres (25 ha) [2]
Established 1962 [3]
Management Maryland Department of Natural Resources
IUCN category V - Protected Landscape/Seascape
Location in Maryland
Website: St. Clement's Island State Park
St. Clement's Island Historic District
Nearest city Coltons Point, Maryland
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 72001484[4]
Added to NRHP April 10, 1972

St. Clement's Island State Park is a state-owned, public recreation and historic preservation area encompassing St. Clement's Island, an uninhabited Potomac River island lying one-half mile southeast of Colton's Point, St. Mary's County, Maryland. The state park features a 40-foot stone cross dedicated to the beginnings of freedom of religion in the United States and a reconstruction of the historic Blakistone Island Light.[5] It is the central feature of the St. Clement's Island Historic District that was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.[6]


The park preserves the site of the March 25, 1634, landing of Maryland's first colonists, who had sailed from Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England four months earlier.[3][7] The date is commemorated annually as Maryland Day.[8] 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. They named the island in honor of Pope Saint Clement I, patron of mariners. 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 the Mass took place on the day of the landing.[6]

St. Clement's Island formed part of St. Clement's Manor, which was granted by the Second Lord Baltimore to Dr. Thomas Gerard in 1639.[9] Gerard subsequently became a major landholder and political figure in Maryland and Virginia. After the island became the property of Gerard's daughter Elizabeth, the wife of Nehemiah Blackistone, it became known as Blackistone Island. After the Blackistone family took ownership in 1669, the island remained in the family for 162 years. The name reverted to St. Clement's Island in 1962 when the property was leased from the Federal government to the State of Maryland.[3]


The island's 40-foot stone cross was erected in 1934 in celebration of Maryland’s 300th anniversary, recognizing the location as one of the foundation sites of religious toleration in the United States.[3]

A replica of the Blakistone Island Light was completed in 2008 through the efforts of the St. Clement's Hundred community organization.[3] The original lighthouse occupied the island from 1851 until 1956 when it was destroyed by fire.[10]

Activities and amenities[edit]

The island is only accessible by private boat or via a water taxi that operates seasonally from the St. Clement's Island Museum in Colton's Point.[3] Activities on the island include hiking, picnicking, fishing, and hunting.[5] Camping facilities are available, though camping on the island is forbidden without a permit.


  1. ^ a b "Saint Clements Island". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "Fiscal Year 2014 DNR Owned Lands Acreage" (PDF). Maryland Department of Natural Resources. December 18, 2014. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f "St. Clement's Island Museum". St Mary's County Recreation and Parks - Museum Division. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  5. ^ a b "St. Clement's Island State Park". Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "St. Clement's Island Historic District". National Register Listings in Maryland. Maryland Historic Trust. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Sister Ships Ark and Dove". Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Maryland Day". Maryland Manual On-Line. Maryland State Archives. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Dr. Thomas Gerard". National Society Colonial Dames 17th Century Cross Trails Chapter. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Historic Light Station Information & Photography: Maryland". Coast Guard Lighthouses. U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 

External links[edit]