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Horseshoe Crab Apocalypse 1920s
Way Back Machine

The Horseshoe Crab Apocalypse of the Late 1800s and Early 1900s

The horseshoe crab is one of our region's great natural wonders. Every year in late springtime, nature lovers descend on the beaches of Delaware Bay to see the strange ancient sea creatures waddle up onto the beaches of Delaware Bay in a spectacular spawning ritual. The animals didn't always get that sort of respect from humankind. What you see up top here are horseshoe crab…
Steamboat Emma Giles to Tolchester Featured Photo SIZED
Way Back Machine

HOP ABOARD! What It Was Like Taking the Steamboat Emma Giles to Tolchester

I spent some quality time recently with a wonderful old book by historian David C. Holly, Steamboat on the Chesapeake: Emma Giles and the Tolchester Line. Among the highlights in my reading was this glorious description of what it was like to board that steamboat in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and, bound for a daytrip to the famed-but-long-gong upper Chesapeake Bay resort at Tolchester Beach in…
Gold Mining Harbeson Hickman FEATURED PHOTO
Way Back Machine

The Sussex County Man Who Made a Killing in the California Gold Rush without Looking for Gold

“Gold, boys, gold!” When that cry of joy rang out in Coloma, Calif. on Jan. 24, 1848, the response was … well … not much. Times were different. Consider: • California still belonged to Mexico on that day. The Mexican-American War was still winding down, and the Treaty of Guadalupe that would move California into the American column didn’t get signed until February. The guys…
Choptank River 1930s for Poem The Choptank Is a River FEATURED PHOTO
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

A POETIC INTERLUDE: “The Choptank Is a River/That Is in My Dreams Today”

The below tribute to our Choptank River was published in 1931 by Folger McKinzey (1866-1950), who grew up on the Eastern Shore in Elkton, Md. and became something of an adolescent prodigy. He became editor of the weekly Shore Gazette newspaper in Ocean Grove, N.J. at age 17 and then, at 20, returned to Elkton as assistant editor of the Cecil Whig. While there, he…
Ash Wednesday Storm Delaware Featured Photo
MiscellanyWay Back Machine

The Storm of ’62: “This Was ‘God’s Country’–Until Last Night”

Knowing what happened, it's hard not to shake your head upon finding the weather forecast for Mon., March 5, 1962: "Snow beginning this afternoon continuing tonight and accumulating 2-4 inches or more. High temperature this afternoon 34-40 and lows tonight 25-30. Tuesday cloudy early in the morning but partial clearing during the day with high 28-32. Outlook for Wednesday fair and cold." That Wednesday would…
Ash Wednesday Storm Aerial Featured Photo
Way Back Machine

‘A Seagull’s Eye View:’ The Ash Wednesday Storm in Southern Delaware, 1962

"Delaware's multi-million dollar playground in Sussex County just isn't there anymore." That's how newspaper reporter William Frank summarized the scenes he saw while taking a ride in an Army helicopter to get a "seagull's eye view of the devastation" caused by the hellacious Ash Wednesday storm of March 1962. The Ash Wednesday storm arrived on March 6, 1962. If it were a normal nor'easter it…
Chesapeake Oyster Wars Depraved Workforce FEATURED PHOTO
MiscellanyQuote of the DayWay Back Machine

“Depraved,” “Unscrupulous,” “Vile”–Our Oystermen, 1887

Those headline words all come from a federal government report about the state of the oystering on the Chesapeake Bay in 1887. This was, as many regular readers here will know, the height of the “Oyster Wars” in our region. Just in case you need it: Here is a 200-word refresher of an introduction to those wild times. Fear and greed fueled the Chesapeake Oyster…