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The Honeymooners at Great Shoals Light

When 19-year-old Vernon Cooper landed at the mouth of the Wicomico River, the Wisconsin native didn’t catch on right away that he’d found his forever home. He didn’t have a crystal ball. He couldn’t see that there was a Dames Quarter gal in his future. The U.S. Coast Guard stationed Vernon at Great Shoals Light in 1951. That screwpile affair had been guiding vessels on…
CharactersWay Back Machine

Fruitland! “The Holly Capital of the Peninsula”

The holly-wreath industry on Delmarva was born at the turn of the 20th century in Southern Delaware, then quickly moved across the border into Maryland. Soon enough, holly became known far and wide as “Maryland’s Christmas Crop.” Estimates of the number of Eastern Shore residents involved in that holly trade in any given year run as high as 10,000. Most were farmers, looking to earn…
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The Legend of Gilbert Lare, aka “The Del-Mar-Va Bandit” of the 1930s

The criminal career of Gilbert Lare, aka "The Del-Mar-Va Bandit,” began with a seemingly minor affair. Wilmington News Journal, Dec. 27, 1926: Gilbert Lare, a young man of , was arrested by Constable Thomas Nichols breaking into store on South Main Street Wednesday night and removing two slot machines. … The machines were found early the following morning along the river shores, broken up, and…
Way Back Machine

BLACK GOLD IN PARSONSBURG! The Delmarva Oil Craze of the Early 1900s

If someone ever makes an Eastern Shore version of "The Beverly Hillbillies," the family at the center of things would have to hail from Parsonsburg, Md. That sleepy town of 350ish souls--it's just east of Salisbury, on the way to Ocean City--was the epicenter of the Great Delmarva Oil Craze. Consider, for starters, the advertisement that the Wicomico Oil & Gas Co. took out in…
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Somerset Journey: The Steak Knife Was Invented in Crisfield, and That Story Begins on Marumsco Creek

The story behind the creation of the steak knife in your kitchen drawer involves a bit of manufacturing ingenuity, but there is more to it. Think romantic sleigh rides, a devastating fire, steadfast religious faith, and then—a Christmas gift from a friend that changes everything. This Somerset County, Md. tale begins with a farm boy who hated farm work. He much preferred puttering around in…
From the BooksQuote of the Day

ROAD TRIPS 2 EXCERPT: A Tight Fit in Tyaskin, Md.

This excerpt from Eastern Shore Road Trips #2: 26 More One-Day Adventures on Delmarva features a historical nugget that comes as a bonus section at the end of a chapter called "Wicomico Wanderings," set on the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland. The trip starts at history-laden Pemberton Park outside of Salisbury, Md. and then leads you along backroads and into the Nanticoke River towns of…
From the BooksWay Back Machine

How a Construction Mishap Back in 1909 Helped Create Modern-Day Salisbury

This excerpt from Eastern Shore Road Trips #1: 27 One-Day Adventures on Delmarva is comes in the midst of a road trip through Salisbury, starting on the east at the Ward Museum and then running through City Park and into downtown and its Riverwalk. Do you see that giant kidney-shaped thing at the top of this old map of downtown Salisbury? That is the 40-acre Humphrey's Lake that…
DestinationsRoad Trips

Salisbury Gems: The Ward Museum and City Park

  “Two dumb country boys.” That’s how Lem Ward liked to describe himself and his brother, Steve. They were born in the last years of the 19th century and lived in Crisfield. Both were barbers by trade, just like their father. They shared a shop, in fact. And for fun, they sang in a little barbershop quartet. Darn if those two dumb country boys didn’t end…