Very few Tobacconists can lay claim to being situated so close to an area with as rich a tobacco history as Chesapeake Pipe & Cigar. While our modern address has us located in Annapolis, MD, we are located very close to what was once one of colonial America’s most important seaports — London Town.
Created in 1683 by the colonial Maryland Legislature, London Town or Londontowne as it is also known became an important tobacco port and a major player in the colonial trans-Atlantic trade network. It also served as an important ferry crossing on the main north-south route in the colonies, connecting Charleston, South Carolina with Boston, Massachusetts. The town was laid out on 100 acres, overlooking the South River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. Roads were created, including Scott, Mackelfish, and Fish Streets among others. And 100 one-acre lots were platted. As a center of transportation and trade, London Town reached its heyday in the 1720s, rivaling nearby Annapolis in terms of economic activity. Merchants, planters, carpenters, and coopers were important to the tobacco trade. They all either lived or owned property in London Town, as did tailors, tavern-keepers, ferry-masters, mariners, ropemakers, blacksmiths, as well as indentured servants, convict servants, and slaves. The Anne Arundel County courthouse was located in London Town from 1685 until 1695, when the court moved to Annapolis, including the cage, whipping post, stocks and pillory.
The prominence of London Town began to fade in the mid-1700s as Annapolis grew in size and prominence. With the lack of trade during the American Revolutionary War, the port town simply could not survive as it competed for business with Annapolis. Once a vibrant town, consisting of 30 to 40 occupied lots and an estimated population of 300 people, London Town began to disappear from the landscape. Only a few buildings lasted into the 20th century, one of which is the impressive brick building, known as the William Brown House, built circa 1760 as an upscale tavern for travelers crossing the South River by ferry boat.
Today, Historic London Town & Gardens park consists of one-quarter of the original 100-acre town. Beneath the ground throughout the park, there is evidence of the generations of men, women and children who lived their lives on the shore of the beautiful South River.
Because of the long and proud history of this area, we at Chesapeake Pipe & Cigar feel we have a sacred trust to serve the modern tobacco needs of the area with respect and reverence to all those that lived and died here before us.