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Way Back Machine

WAY BACK MACHINE: The Great Poplar Island Bootleg Booze Factory of 1929

On a Sunday afternoon in May 1929, Talbot County (Md.) Sheriff Thomas L. Faulkner and a team of local officers and federal agents sailed from Lowe’s Wharf, just up the mainland from Tilghman Island, heading past storied old Poplar Island and into the open Chesapeake Bay. But then the boat spun around and headed back for the island from the north. Poplar Island was a…
The Newsroom

On WBOC-TV, the fun story of the Great Poplar Island Black Cat Fur Farm of the 1840s

Secrets co-founder Jim Duffy recently went on WBOC-TV’s Good Day Delmarva to tell the tale of The Great Poplar Island Black Cat Fur Farm--a strange and ill-fated business venture in the 1840s. You can watch the segment here: Poplar Island Black Cat Story on Good Day Delmarva This is one of the scores of stories from days gone by that you can find in my…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Maybe we needed a whole building because we had so many liars.”

Lots of towns have had famous “liar’s benches” over the years--a corner in a store or post office where old men gather and tell tall tales from days gone by. But in Trappe on Maryland's Eastern Shore, they had much more than a bench--a whole building there was set aside for the fine art of small-town storytelling. The description below of what days back in…
The Newsroom

On WBOC-TV, Secrets of the Eastern Shore talks about the Prohibition Era

Secrets co-founder Jim Duffy recently went on WBOC-TV’s Good Day Delmarva to tell stories about the era of Prohibition on the Delmarva Peninsula. The 100th anniversary of Prohibition taking effect landed on Jan. 17, 1920. Have you heard the one about the guy in Wachapreague who set up a secret compartment under his kitchen floorboards so that booze would pour out of one of his…
The Newsroom

“Underground Railroad Journeys” Talk in St. Michaels, Md. on Monday, Feb. 3

Author and storyteller Jim Duffy of Secrets of the Eastern Shore will tell true-life tales about “Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva” in a presentation and discussion at the St. Michaels (Md.) Public Library on Monday, Feb. 3. The presentation is based on Duffy’s book, Tubman Travels: 32 Underground Railroad Journeys on Delmarva. Part of the Lunch & Learn series, the event begins at noon in the…
MiscellanyQuote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Steamboats, Steers, & Slapstick on the Choptank River

A couple of months back I had a great time reading Trappe: The Story of an Old-Fashioned Town by the historian Dickson Preston. Trappe is in Talbot County, Md., across the Choptank River from Cambridge. Preston spends some pages in there discussing the steamboats that used to ride up and down the Choptank, including the Avalon and the Joppa. The section at hand here begins…
From the BooksRoad Trips

ROAD TRIPS 2 EXCERPT: Boom Times on Tilghman Island

This is an excerpt from Eastern Shore Road Trips #2: 26 MORE One-Day Adventures on Delmarva: During those boom times, oyster shells were discarded off of Tilghman Island in such volume that they soon congealed into an island that would grow large enough to house a store, a post office, and, eventually, the storied Tilghman Packing Company. You can catch of glimpse of that island…
From the BooksRoad Trips

ROAD TRIPS 2 EXCERPT: ‘Notoriously Scandalous’ at the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry

One of the adventures in my book, Eastern Shore Road Trips 2: 26 MORE One-Day Adventures on Delmarva is the "Five Ferries Tour," which will have you (and your car) making five different river and bay crossings aboard history-laden routes. The excerpt below covers one of those crossings, at the Tred Avon River in Talbot County, Md. Not one of the five ferries here is…