BLUE ROCK FERRY

The 18th century was an adventurous time. Those who settled in the east began to feel the urge to move west. And, that westward longing meant to live on the edge of the frontier... western Pennsylvania, Ohio and western Virginia. Getting there meant fording the Susquehanna. To get your belongings and your family across it required a ferry.

John Wright settled on the west bank in 1726. He began business with an inn and pub. Four years later, he understood the need for a ferry. The success of that ferry got the attention of Lord Baltimore of Maryland who had been looking for a reason to challenge the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland. So, he sent a thug, Thomas Cresap, to claim land and discourage others from settling there. He established a fort (of sorts) and managed a ferry which ran from his property (close to where Long Level marina now exists) and ran to the eastern short at Blue Rock (somewhere near where Blue Rock Road ends at the river). The Blue Rock Ferry traversed the Conejehela Flats which Cresap called the "Isles of Promise."

Cresap was eventually run out of the area. But, ferry demand remained. About 1758, a Georgian style stone house was built in the general area of Cresap's place. This became the home of Capt. Jacob Dritt in 1783 where he later began the ferry service again. An astute businessman, Dritt transported wine and liquor across the river and instrumental in the development of Washington Borough. After Dritt's unfortunate drowning death in 1817, the family took over and maintained the property until 1851. They made a few 19th-century improvements along the way. Today, that same building is the home to the John and Kathryn Zimmerman Center for Heritage.

Blue Rock Heritage Center

2251 River Road

Post Office Box 6

Washington Boro, PA 17582

©2020

Blue Rock Heritage Center

Admission is free.

Donations are appreciated.

Open by appointment for

large groups.