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′30″N 76°44′40″W / 38.20833°N 76.74444°W / 38.20833; -76.74444Coordinates: 38°12′30″N 76°44′40″W / 38.20833°N 76.74444°W / 38.20833; -76.74444 [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 Maryland state park that preserves St. Clement's Island, an uninhabited island in the Potomac River that lies one-half mile southeast of Colton's Point, St. Mary's County, Maryland, in the United States. The St. Clement's Island Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 10, 1972.[4]


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][5] The date is commemorated annually as Maryland Day.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] Gerard subsequently became a major landholder and political figure in Maryland and Virginia. After the island became the property of Gerard's daughter Elizabeth, who was married to Nehemiah Blackistone, it became known as Blackistone Island. The Blackistone family took ownership in 1669, and the island remained in that family for 162 years. The name reverted to St. Clement's Island in 1962 when the property was leased to the State of Maryland.[3]

In 1934, to celebrate Maryland’s 300th birthday, Governor Albert Ritchie dedicated a 40-foot stone cross on the island, recognizing the site as the location where religious toleration in America had its foundation.[3]

For many years, the island was the site of the Blakistone Island Light.[9] Through the efforts of the St. Clement's Hundred, a local community organization created for the preservation of St. Clement's Island, a replica of the Blackistone Lighthouse was constructed and completed in June 2008.[3]

Activities and amenities[edit]

The island is only accessible by boat. A ferry leaves from the St. Clement's Island-Potomac River Museum near Colton's Point from June through September. Island activities include hiking, picnicking, fishing and hunting.[10] The park is administered by Point Lookout State Park.


  1. ^ a b "Saint Clements Island". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 
  2. ^ "FY2013 DNR Owned Lands Acreage Report" (PDF). Maryland DNR. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "St. Clement's Island". St Mary's County Recreation and Parks Museum Division. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  5. ^ "Sister Ships Ark and Dove". Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Maryland Day". Maryland Manual On-Line. Maryland State Archives. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  7. ^ "St. Clement's Island Historic District". National Register Listings in Maryland. Maryland Historic Trust. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Dr. Thomas Gerard". National Society Colonial Dames 17th Century Cross Trails Chapter. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Historic Light Station Information & Photography: Maryland". Coast Guard Lighthouses. U.S. Coast Guard. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 
  10. ^ "St. Clement's Island State Park". Maryland DNR. Retrieved November 29, 2013. 

External links[edit]