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CharactersWay Back Machine

Chincoteague Character of the Day: Thomas Downing, the ‘Oyster King’ of NYC

Growing up in Chincoteague, Va. in the 1790s and the first decade of the 1800s, Thomas Downing spent much of his time fishing, oystering, digging up clams, and catching terrapins. He must have spent a good bit of time around the kitchen as well, considering the way he grew up to become one of the most famous restaurateurs in New York City—the “Oyster King of…
Quote of the Day

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Ladies would not go out in their carriages” if “that horse frightening machine” was on the road …

The first automobiles to appear on the Eastern Shore of Virginia apparently caused quite a ruckus among the horse-and-carriage set. Here is an account of those early automotive days from The Eastern Shore of Virginia: 1603-1964, by Nora Miller Turman. You can find the book in area bookstores that carry an extensive collection of local titles, or here online. Some people had seen horseless carriages, called…
CharactersWay Back Machine

Ocean City Character of the Day: Rosalie Tilghman Shreve & the Plimhimmon Hotel

A century ago, the Plimhimmon Hotel was the most famous and iconic structure in the then-fledgling resort town of Ocean City, Md. Old pictures of the place, with its elegant oceanfront porches, expansive decks, and swooping, cone-shaped tower, have a way of leaving us modern folks weak at the knees from yearning for the splendor of yesteryear.  But there is much more than nostalgia to…
Way Back Machine

PICTURE THIS: The Story Behind the Twin Bridges of Dorchester County

    You know how the traffic goes on Kent Island come summer weekends? The backups begin many miles before from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. A legion of goofballs make it worse by looking for shortcuts when they don’t have a clue where they’re going. The poor local people end up trapped inside their houses, afraid to even run a little errand. Things used to be…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY: The Know Nothing Election of 1855 in Onancock, Virginia

Election day is coming up on Tuesday, and folks seem to be pretty excited and upset on both sides of the aisle. It was like that back during the Know Nothing election of 1855, too. John Sergeant Wise was a child then, living along Onancock Creek on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. He would have been 11 or 12 during that gubernatorial election campaign, which…
October 28, 2018
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY, 1922: “Mainland folk have been prone to think their kinsmen on the islands of the Eastern Shore a bit barbaric …”

In 1922, Edward Noble Vallandigham wrote a book full of interesting essays about the towns, churches, and people of the Delmarva peninsula. Delaware and the Eastern Shore has a great subtitle: Some Aspects of a Peninsula Pleasant and Well Beloved. Here, Vallandigham gives his views about the people who inhabit the remote islands of the Eastern Shore.   Surnames are so few on some of the…
September 23, 2018
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY: In an Old Tomato Cannery, “the Satisfication of All Our Work Done Right”

One day last winter I drove out to St. Michaels to hear a presentation at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum by a panel of local folks whose families were involved in various old canneries that used to be so central to the economy in the mid-Shore region--and all around the Delmarva Peninsula. One of the presenters passed around a copy of this poem, written during the…
September 16, 2018
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Traveling to Tolchester Beach in 1879

    In 1879, a Baltimore company called A.P. Lloyd worked up a travel guide for boaters and travelers called The Chesapeake Illustrated. Below is what they had to say about one famous old-time destination, Tolchester Beach in Kent County, Maryland. And below that are some photos of how things looked at Tolchester back in the day. TOLCHESTER BEACH, THE NEAREST and probably the most popular of…
Quote of the DayWay Back Machine

QUOTE OF THE DAY, 1852: “Each Member of the Clerical Staff Must Bring 4 Pounds of Coal Each Day.”

    Everyone knows workplace conditions were a animal in times gone by, but it's still eye-opening to consider just how different things were. Consider this old poster, which I saw on a recent visit to the Furnacetown Living Heritage Village near Snow Hill, Md. The Village is on the site of an old bog-iron-making operation, but these Furnacetown rules actually apply to the clerical…
August 18, 2018
DestinationsTubman TravelsWay Back Machine

SITES & STOPS: The Historic Pine Street Corridor in Cambridge, Maryland

    When working on Tubman Travels, my Secrets of the Eastern Shore guide to the sites and stories associated with the Underground Railroad era on the Delmarva Peninsula, I also kept a bunch of notes on other African American stories in Delaware and on the Eastern Shore. Eventually, I put those together into a PDF document that’s available as a free download to everyone…
August 16, 2018