As the second oldest city in the U.S., there isn’t a little bit of history in St. Marys, but a lot!
St. Marys was established in 1787. All the streets in the historic district are named for the original 20 men who bought a part of the 4 block area (at $38 a piece!) It soon became a bustling seaport due to the natural harbor and was filled with 305 citizens (according to the 1790 census) and quite a few unregistered smugglers and pirates.
St. Marys’ location – on the Atlantic Coast just above Florida – led to its involvement in several of the major military conflicts in U.S.history:
- Troops were sent from New York to the area during the American Revolution.
- During the War of 1812, the Battle of Fort Peter occurred near the town, at the fort on Point Peter along the St. Marys River. The British captured the fort and the town and occupied it for about a month.
- Union gunboats shelled its waterfront buildings during the Civil War.
Want to learn a little more? Take the St. Marys History Walk that outlines the history of St. Marys & Cumberland Island. You can pick up a printed self-guided tour brochure or walk layout at the St. Marys Welcome Center.
Created by Captain E. F. Morse