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CharactersWay Back Machine

The Story Behind Wild West Sharpshooter Annie Oakley’s Time on the Eastern Shore

    Sharpshooters Annie Oakley and Frank Butler were already famous stars by the time they found their way to Maryland’s Eastern Shore back in 1912. In fact, they were ready at that point to call it a career and retire altogether from the traveling-Wild-West-show business. From what I’ve read, it was Butler’s idea to settle on the Shore. After visiting Cambridge on one of their…
CharactersWay Back Machine

Uncle Nace’s Day: A Shore Tradition for 151 years and Counting

    There are a couple of different places along Route 50 between Easton and Cambridge to stop and consider the fascinating life of Nathaniel “Nace” Hopkins, a native son whose journey began in slavery and included stints in jail and the Union Army before he launched one of the oldest and sweetest civic traditions on the Delmarva Peninsula—Uncle Nace’s Day. Click on the cover…
Way Back Machine

The Day an Elephant Marched Through the Marshlands of Saxis

    Over the centuries, several enterprising characters have tried to turn remote little Saxis on the Eastern Shore of Virginia side of Pocomoke Sound into a tourist destination. One such dreamer was Lloyd Drewer. Back in the early years of the 20th century, he built bathing houses, organized fishing trips, and sponsored various fairs and festivals. His most memorable exploit dates to the late 1930s,…
Way Back Machine

How a Big Hurricane on Aug. 22, 1933 Created the Ocean City We Know Today

The NEW Secrets Guidebook--click on the cover for details. This excerpt from Eastern Shore Road Trips #1: 27 One-Day Adventures on Delmarva is from a chapter spent wandering the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md. Ocean City dates its history back to 1875, but the resort town we know today really didn’t take shape until Aug. 22, 1933. That’s when a hellacious storm tore a hole through town…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

How This Amazing Old House in Chincoteague Beat the Odds and Came Back to Life

  Why is it that one building manages to survive for centuries while all the others built at about the same time fall victim to the ravages of time? One of the experts who has spent some time with what is believed to be the oldest house in Chincoteague—it’s still standing after 200-plus years—chalked its survival up to a magical mix of being “well built, unusual,…
DestinationsNatural WondersWay Back Machine

Why is the Town Played by Berlin in the Movie “Runaway Bride” Called Hale?

    Welcome to Hale Sign Since the subject at hand is peaches, we might as well start with the bit of "Runaway Bride" trivia highlighted in the headline here. The name Hale, you see, is actually a sly tribute to a tasty little slice of Eastern Shore history. Released in 1999 and starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, “Runaway Bride” was filmed in Berlin. Berlin, in turn, was…
DestinationsWay Back Machine

Tracing the History of the Famous Pony-Penning Party in Chincoteague

    Before I did a little research, I assumed that the Chincoteague’s big annual pony-penning festival became a big deal only after 1947, the year Marguerite Henry published “Misty of Chincoteague.” That story, of course, became a children’s classic and then a Hollywood movie. But it turns out that the story of pony-penning day actually dates back centuries, not decades. Local historians say that…
Way Back Machine

The Crazy Fun Day When Danny “Killer” Marsh Went After a New World Record

    These images are blurry because they're from a grainy 35-year-old video, but that video just so happens to be the greatest Eastern Shore footage I have ever seen. One commenter on the YouTube link posted below says: “This is the best thing I’ve ever found on the internet." Another: “Greatest YouTube video ever." They are not exaggerating. The year was 1980. The place was Cambridge. Gas station…
Way Back Machine

The True Tale of Misty, Stormy, and maybe the worst nor’easter of them all

    The deluge lasted three long days and stretched across five high tides right at the time of the full moon. More than 90 percent of Chincoteague Island flooded. The water ran six feet deep at times on Main Street in downtown Chincoteague. The island's chicken industry was destroyed--an estimated 350,000 birds died in the storm. Chincoteague's famous ponies suffered horribly as well. By the time the rain stopped, more than…