What Is The Eastern Shore Of Maryland?


What Is The Eastern Shore Of Maryland
About Maryland’s Eastern Shore – What Is The Eastern Shore Of Maryland The Eastern Shore of Maryland consists of all of the counties East of the Chesapeake Bay including Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester, The Eastern Shore offers great boating, biking, and birding among many other attractions.

Why is it called the Eastern Shore of Maryland?

The Eastern Shore: Maryland – The words Eastern Shore bring to mind a land of marshes, unbroken expanses of wild rice, loblolly pine forests, villages of hardy watermen, grand waterfront estates of ship captains, and the midnight calls of migrating geese, ducks, and swans. This version of the Eastern Shore does exist, but a traveler sometimes has to go out of the way to find it. The Eastern Shore is comprised of several Maryland and Virginia counties located on what is called the Delmarva Peninsula, separated from the mainland to the west by the Chesapeake Bay, and washed by Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. In addition to portions of Maryland and Virginia, the peninsula also contains the entire state of Delawarehence the tri-state name, Delmarva.

Two modern bridges across the Chesapeake Bay now span the gap both physically and culturally between the Eastern Shore and the mainland of Maryland and Virginia. In 1952, the 4-mile William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge (usually called the Bay Bridge) replaced the ferry between Annapolis on the western shore and Queen Annes County on the Eastern Shore.

The 17.6-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel at the mouth of the bay brought the nearly forgotten southern tip of Virginias Eastern Shore in contact with mainland Virginia at Norfolk when it opened to traffic in 1964. With the bridges have come affluence, development, and new ideas, spilling out as from a cornucopia to this once isolated and fiercely conservative land.

Those who cruise north up the Chesapeake Bay may find themselves imagining how the land on this peninsula looked to early explorers. Captain John Smith, who left Jamestown in 1608 to explore the bay, named the Eastern Shore. He sailed north as far as the Sassafras River, which separates Cecil and Kent counties on what came to be called the Upper Shore.

Some 23 years later, people with a spirit of adventure began one of the Eastern Shores first permanent settlements on Kent Island, the largest island in the Chesapeake Bay, and now part of Queen Annes County. Surrounded by rich fishing waters, and with soil suitable for many kinds of farming beneath their feet, these pioneers began a long tradition of making a living from the sea and the soil, with little reliance on outsiders.

  • Other fishermen and farmers began to populate “The Shore” as it is known locally.
  • But with no way to keep in touch with the outside world but by boat, people developed their own culture and traditions.
  • The hardy individualism and even the British accent can still be found among the descendants of the first settlers.

Generally, they reside in small fishing villages and on farms away from the city of Salisbury, Maryland, away from the resort town of Ocean City, Maryland, and away from the bridges and modern highways that are synonymous with change. Marylands claim to the Eastern Shore lies in the southeastern part of Cecil County (described in the previous section on Head of the Chesapeake Bay ) and in the counties of (from north to south) Kent, Queen Annes, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester.

Several major waterways and innumerable tributaries wind their way through the lowlands of Marylands Eastern Shore, offering abundant recreation opportunities to those equipped with fishing rods, crabbing gear, canoes, sailboats, motorboats, yachts, water-skis, Jet Skis, duck calls, binoculars, or cameras.

Major ports of call, full-service marinas, and a liberal sprinkling of boat ramps offer access to the rockfish, catfish, bass, pickerel, crappie, crabs, oysters, clams, and other riches of Eastern Shore waters. Many rivers and creeks take their colorful names from the Native Americans who fished these waters before white settlers arrivednames such as Choptank, Nanticoke, Wicomico, Manokin, Big Annemessex, and Pocomoke.

  • Highways on the peninsula are mostly level and many have wide, paved shoulders.
  • Bicyclists, walkers, and joggers enjoy exploring the countryside using the designated shoulders, passing fields of soybeans, corn, tomatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, cantaloupes, and melons.
  • Nature lovers, hikers, and bird watchers can find solitude in the wetlands and forested uplands of the abundant parks, preserves, wildlife management areas, and refuges on Marylands Eastern Shore.

Among the most well-known natural areas are the Eastern Neck Island National Wildlife Refuge (Kent County), the Horsehead Wetlands Center of the Wildfowl Trust of North America (Queen Annes County), Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (Dorchester County), Pocomoke River State Park (Worcester County), and Assateague Island National Seashore (Worcester County).

  1. An incredible number of wildlife management areas18 in the southern four counties of Marylands Eastern Shore aloneprovide habitat for birds and animals on islands, in the reeds and rushes of tidal wetlands, and in the oak and loblolly pine forests.
  2. Tourist Facilities such as restaurants and lodging can be found, among other places, at Chestertown in Kent County, in the Kent Island area of Queen Annes County, in Easton and St.

Michaels in Talbot County, in Cambridge in Dorchester County, in Salisbury in Wicomico County, in Princess Anne in Somerset County, and in Pocomoke City and Ocean City in Worcester County.

What area is Eastern Shore?

Eastern Shore – Virginia has two counties on the DelMarVa Peninsula, and the Eastern Shore is divided into bayside and seaside watersheds Sources: US Geological Survey National Atlas and Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy The Eastern Shore of Virginia is the most-southern 70-80 miles of a peninsula located between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. a pre-World War II postcard shows the SS Del-Mar-Va, one of the ferries that linked the Eastern Shore to Princess Anne County (now City of Virginia Beach) until the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel opened in 1964 Source: Boston Public Library, The S.S. Del-Mar-Va., Norfolk, VA Physically, the Eastern Shore Route 13 marks a rough approximation of the watershed divide – land on the “bayside” of the peninsula drains to the Chesapeake, while land on the “seaside” drains to the Atlantic Ocean (and is not part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed). Route 13 in Accomack County approximates the watershed divide between “bayside” and “seaside” Source: Accomack County, AccoMap The shape of the peninsula is highly irregular, with extensive indentations filled with bays and marshes, plus many “necks” (extensions of land jutting into the water). the Eastern Shore of Virginia is part of the Delmarva ( DE laware, MA ryland, V irgini A ) Peninsula, between the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Landsat Program 35 million years ago, a “bolide” (meteor or comet) hit the Atlantic Ocean off the eastern edge of the continent, when sea levels were higher and the shoreline was close to the Fall Line.

  1. Hyper-saline water was trapped as heat evaporated saltwater before debris refilled the crater.
  2. Since then, the Eastern Shore has been below sea level long enough to accumulate over 1,100 feet of marine sediments above the impact crater.
  3. Modern water wells drilled within the crater near Cape Charles produce salty water, once they pass through the sediments that accumulated after the impact.2 What today is the Delmarva peninsula evolved as sediments were carried south by the Susquehanna River over hundreds of thousands of years.

At times of high sea level, the sediments accumulated as a bar where the Susquehanna River met the Atlantic Ocean. When sea levels dropped, the river carved a new channel south to get past the mound of sand and silt carried south from Pennsylvania and New York.

  1. The deposits were reshaped many times by river and wave action during periods when sea levels rose and fell.
  2. In addition, ocean currents carried sediments from the Hudson River and Delaware River south, extending the Eastern Shore.3 Since the beginning of the last Ice Age over 100,000 years ago, the landscape of the Eastern Shore has been above sea level.

At the peak of glaciation 18,000 years ago, the Eastern Shore was simply part of a continuous Coastal Plain that extended from the Fall Line eastward to the Atlantic Ocean, located about 40 mile east of today’s shoreline. The Eastern Shore was not isolated as a peninsula until the Chesapeake Bay formed in the last 10,000 years.4 Sea level rise is recognized as a clear threat to the Eastern Shore, which has few locations higher than 50 feet. freshwater in the Eastern Shore accumulates from rainfall in shallow aquifers, just as in barrier islands Source: US Geological Survey (USGS) – Circular 1262, Ground Water in Freshwater-Saltwater Environments of the Atlantic Coast (Figure 3) roughly 25% of the rainfall on the Eastern Shore ends up as groundwater Source: US Geological Survey, Understanding Nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Implications for Management and Restoration – the Eastern Shore (Figure 21) during the Pleistocene Epoch, the original sediments that formed the Yorktown aquifer were eroded by the predecessor to the modern Susquehanna River, creating major paleochannel aquifers that cross the Eastern Shore Source: US Geological Survey, Simulation of Groundwater-Level and Salinity Changes in the Eastern Shore, Virginia (Figure 6) If sea level rises as predicted, the barrier islands and marshes on the eastern edge will migrate westward. most structures in Wachapreague are in the 500-year flood plain (green shows 0.2% annual chance) Source: Accomack County, AccoMap The Dutch established a colony on the Delaware River in the 1600’s and desired ownership of the entire Delmarva Peninsula. Dutch traders, if not Dutch settlers, were active at Eyreville on the Eastern Shore in the 1600’s Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online Maryland also disputed Virginia’s claim to the Eastern Shore. Lord Calvert’s initial charter from King Charles I granted him all of the peninsula, south to Cape Charles.

Virginians had already settled the southern portion, so the final boundary was moved north to a line starting at Watkin’s Point on the western side of the peninsula.6 The Virginians and Marylanders disputed the exact location of that boundary. Edmund Scarborough, the Surveyor General of Virginia, had land claims in the area and sought to move the line to the north.

A 1668 survey resolved the dispute, and Chincoteague Island ended up within Virginia. Augustine Herrman’s map, prepared for Lord Calvert in the 1660’s, placed Chincoteague within Maryland Source: Library of Congress, Virginia and Maryland as it is planted and inhabited this present year 1670 (by Augustine Herrman) Dutch maps in the early colonial era indicated that the Dutch settlements on the Delaware River established a claim to the Eastern Shore Source: Library of Congress, Novi Belgii Novaeque Angliae (by Nicolaes Visscher, 1685) Politically, the modern Delmarva Peninsula is divided between three separate states.

Within Virginia, the Eastern Shore region consists of two counties – Accomack and Northampton, both created by 1643. Both counties are rural and relatively poor today, despite having been settled continuously by Europeans longer than nearly any other area in North America. The division of the region among three states diminished political support for investment and public services on the Eastern Shore.

Among various visions for creating a single political entity is one from a Methodist minister in 1886 who proposed uniting the Delmarva Peninsula: 7 Who shall declare that a Peninsula State – Virmadel, or Delmavir, or Marvirdel – is without the domain of future possibility? After 400 years of potential economic growth, Accomack and Northampton counties have some of the lowest median household incomes in the state.

  • According to the Bureau of Census, between 2006-2010 16% of individuals in Accomack County and 19% of individuals in Northampton County fell below the poverty line, higher than the average of 10% for the entire state of Virginia.
  • To encourage companies to locate on the Eastern Shore, the region was designated by Virginia as an Enterprise Zone in the 1990’s, authorizing incentive grants for job creation and construction of business facilities.8 Accomack and Northampton counties relied upon fishing, oystering/clamming, and agriculture until recently.
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The Hog Island sheep breed developed in isolation over 200 years, as sheep struggled to survive on the barrier island. Today, the heritage breed survives in exhibits at sites such as Mount Vernon, because all sheep were removed from the island in the 1970’s by The Nature Conservancy in order to restore/preserve natural habitat.9 Hog Island was home of the Hog Island sheep (photographed at Ingles Farm in Radford) Image Source: US Geological Survey Map Store, Quinby Inlet topographic map The future for economic growth on the Eastern Shore includes tourism and second home development.

The economic situation was described by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership in 2001: 10 The Shore boasts a world-class coastal ecosystem, the last undeveloped coastal wilderness on the Eastern Seaboard, extraordinarily productive waters and farm land, and a tightly knit community distinguished by its unique towns and villages.

These assets – lost to so many other coastal places – are still intact because Shore residents are determined to protect their natural, cultural and historic resources as they seek to strengthen their rural economy. But the Shore also suffers from a high poverty rate, low median income and widespread substandard housing, brought on in the past two decades by the collapse of the farm and seafood industries. Eastern Shore at night – dark, compared to Hampton Roads and other urbanized areas Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Earth Observatory – U.S. Atlantic Seaboard at Night Despite the economic stress, Northampton County rejected proposals in the 1990’s for a new state prison and for a facility to treat contaminated soil shipped in from northern states.

Instead, the Eastern Shore identified six economic priorities: agriculture, seafood/aquaculture, heritage tourism, arts/crafts/local products, research/education and new industry. “New industry” has a unique focus. The Cape Charles Sustainable Technologies Industrial Park, an ambitious plan for an eco-industrial park, was launched in the mid-1990’s.

However, so far the sustainable development industrial park has failed to attract and retain tenants.11 Modern industries are reluctant to build manufacturing facilities on the Eastern Shore, because transportation to market is slow and costly. Access to markets via road and rail transportation matters; manufacturing is limited, and the Eastern Shore ships mostly seafood and farm products. Chesapeake Bay, with Eastern Shore on the east and Northern Neck/Middle Peninsula on the west Source: US Geological Survey Accomack County is twice the size of Northampton County, and physically closer to the customers who by agricultural and seafood products in Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York.

The 2010 Census recorded 33,164 residents in Accomack County, compared to only 12,389 for Northampton County. In the 1900 Census, Accomack County had 32,570 residents and Northampton County had 13,770 people. A century earlier in 1800, Accomack County had 15,693 residents and Northampton County had 6,763.12 In 2011, the health commissioner of Virginia approved relocating the only hospital on the Eastern Shore from Northampton to Accomack, to be closer to the center of population.13 As the song goes, “the times they are a-changing.” Wallops Island, in the northeast corner of Accomack County next to Chincoteague, has expanded beyond research flights and is the site of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.

NASA has funded eight re-supply missions from Wallops to the International Space Station between 2012 and 2021, and Orbital Sciences Corp. is competing for additional space launch business at Wallops. Other companies are considering Wallops as a site for space tourism launches, though sending humans into space might require building a third launch pad at the site.14 In addition, the two runways at Wallops Island exceeding 8,000 feet in length will be used for more military operations.

The Navy built the first airbase there in 1942, when airplane patrols were increased to stop German submarines from sinking ships along the Atlantic Ocean coastline. Seven decades later, the Navy needed an additional outlying landing field (OLF) for pilots to practice carrier landings before landing on a real ship.

The existing Naval Auxiliary Landing Field (NALF) Fentress near Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach lacked capacity to satisfy all training requirements, forcing expensive deployments to Jacksonville, Florida. Wallops was selected as an alternative to Fentress, and will serve as a site for up to 20,000 practice landings/takeoffs per year. Pilotless Aircraft Research Station, Wallops Island, Virginia, in 1947 (note launch ramp in the foreground) Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), SP-4103 Model Research – Volume 1 Wallops is one on many sites suitable for training military personnel to fly drones.

The first two successful drone airplane landings on an aircraft carrier occurred in July 2013 off the Virginia coast – but the third attempt was foiled by a software glitch, so the drone diverted instead to land at Wallops. The US Navy considered the Wallops Flight Facility when selecting bases in the United States for the new MQ-4C Triton drone fleet.

Those drones are 48 feet long and have a wingspan of 131 feet, adding new capabilities to the Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force. Florida won the competition for the East Coast. Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville was chosen to serve as the Main Operating Base (MOB) where pilots will be based.

Naval Station Mayport was chosen for the East Coast Forward Operating Base (FOB), the site where drones will take off and land after patrols.15 Wallops Research Park had competition for becoming a center of employment for companies integrating drones into civilian airspace. In 2013, 24 states bid for one of the six test sites to be established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), before the FAA certified drones to perform commercial operations.16 Virginia ended up as one of the six winners when the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (Virginia Tech, the University of Maryland and Rutgers University) was chosen.

That consortium was tasked with testing the software that ensures safe responses by drones after they lose their radio connections with operators.17 Wallops Island Research Range Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Wallops Range and Mission Management Office Virginia Tech’s Kentland Experimental Aerial Systems Laboratory, located at its experimental farm near Blacksburg, expanded to include testing at Dahlgren Naval Surface Warfare Center (King George County), Fort Pickett (primarily in Nottoway County near Blackstone), and Wallops Island (Accomack County).

  • In 2017, the state completed a 3,000-foot long, 75-foot wide runway at Wallops designed for drone flights.
  • Governor Terry McAuliffe dedicated the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems (MARS UAS) Airfield by riding in a drone controlled from a laptop, giving him bragging rights as the first governor to take such a flight.18 There was no opportunity for a drone test site in Charlottesville – in 2013, that city became the first city in the US to block the use of unmanned surveillance drones.

However, the first authorized use of a drone for law enforcement occurred near Charlottesville in September, 2014, when the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership was given special permission by FAA to search for a missing University of Virginia student.19 One long-range possibility that could transform the Eastern Shore: energy development.

  • Wind energy could be developed first in the Chesapeake Bay, where the costs for building towers and transmission lines would be far less than hypothetical sites in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Any large-scale wind farms along the Atlantic Flyway will face environmental restrictions, to protect migrating birds and bats.

The oil and gas potential of the Outer Continental Shelf is unknown, but Jurassic-age rocks in the Baltimore Canyon Trough are a particular target for future development. In 2008, the Obama Administration planned Mid-Atlantic Oil and Gas Lease Sale 220 – but cancelled the sale after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

While Governor McDonnell continued to propose making Virginia the “Energy Capital of the East Coast,” no state leases were proposed for oil and gas drilling within state waters. Instead, the focus was on drilling offshore in Federal waters, 50 miles or more east of the Atlantic shoreline of Virginia.

Offshore areas along the Atlantic Coast could turn out to be as rich in hydrocarbons as the Gulf Coast. If so, then an oil/gas port with development comparable to Morgan City, Louisiana would be required to support hydrocarbon extraction and processing.

  • One candidate in Virginia is the Town of Cape Charles at the southern tip of Northampton County, though Portsmouth and even Craney Island could be major competitors.
  • The industrial potential of the Town of Cape Charles to support offshore oil, gas, or wind energy projects is constrained by the depth of the shipping channel.
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A precast concrete plant was built in 1964 at Cape Charles to supply the 3,000 piers supporting the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, and is the logical site for constructing platforms for offshore wind farms. However, the ability of that concrete fabrication plant to compete for major contracts today is limited by the narrow 18-foot deep channel.

  • The Sparrows Point Shipyard in Baltimore supplied the concrete tubes installed in 2013 for the parallel Midtown Tunnel, connecting Portsmouth and Norfolk underneath the Elizabeth River.
  • The Bayshore Concrete plant at Cape Charles needed a 35-foot channel to float the tubes out into the Chesapeake Bay, but the projected cost was $35 million – at a time when the US Congress had reduced Federal funding for small port dredging projects.

By 2011, the effort to obtain Federal funds was reduced to requests for a 22-foot deep channel.20 The land use planner for Cape Charles, Tom Bonadeo, explained in 2012 why a deeper channel was needed to trigger new economic development, beyond the transport of Bay Coast Railroad barges south to Little Creek: 21 The town of Cape Charles believes dredging will open doors: Virginia’s off-shore wind energy, the concrete company’s ability to produce gravity foundations for the wind turbines, as well as the channel’s depth to accommodate rocket parts for Wallops Island would all depend on the greater depth Cape Charles seeks. note contrast between Atlantic Ocean/Chesapeake Bay sides of Eastern Shore Source: NASA Earth from Space, Southern Delmarva Peninsula (October 1995) Hopes for an economic boom from offshore oil drill rig construction and operations were postponed in March 2016.

The Northampton Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing inclusion of waters off Virginia’s coast in the Federal government’s 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf leasing program. Accomack County had done the same in January, choosing to focus on building its tourism-based businesses rather than risk an oil spill.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released its 2017-2022 leasing plans shortly after the Northampton County vote. All proposals for leases off the coasts of the southeastern states were dropped, eliminating at least for the moment that potential for new industrial development at Cape Charles.22 nautical chart showing Cape Charles harbor Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Nautical Chart On-Line Viewer Chart #12224 – Chesapeake Bay, Cape Charles to Wolf Trap

What is the biggest city on the Eastern Shore of Maryland?

City of Salisbury – Known as “Maryland’s Coastal College Town,” the City of Salisbury has long been the crossroads of the historic Delmarva Peninsula. With a population of some 30,000, it’s the largest city on the Eastern Shore and the No.1 fastest growing city in Maryland, according to city officials.

  1. Founded in 1732 and incorporated in 1854, it also is the county seat for Wicomico.
  2. The area offers the ideal mix of an urban center, nestled within a scenic rural region, centrally located to major metropolitan areas.
  3. In 2021-22, U.S.
  4. News & World Report named Salisbury to its list of “150 Best Places to Live in the U.S.” The city was No.95 on that list, as well as No.26 on the “best places to retire” list, No.16 on the “fastest-growing places” list and No.20 on the “safest places to live” list.

The publication said: “It is a melting pot of college students, retirees and families who might all be seen together enjoying a Saturday night at a microbrewery or watching a minor-league baseball game.” And, the median sales price for a single-family home in Salisbury is lower than the national average.

Is Maryland Eastern Shore a good place to live?

So, Where is the Best Place to Live in Maryland? – As we said, Maryland’s Eastern Shore is a fantastic place to live for people of all lifestyles, career paths, and interests. Whether you want to live somewhere urban, suburban, or rural, there is something for everyone.

What counties make up the Eastern Shore of Maryland?

Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester Counties – The eight counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (listed above from north to south) are on the mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain, separated from the rest of the state by the expansive Chesapeake Bay to the west.

Maryland’s portion ot the Eastern Shore is bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and the state of Delaware. The Eastern Shore is a flat region with much of the land at sea level. The highest point is in Kent County, the northernmost county of the Eastern Shore, and is only 102 feet above sea level.

Much of the Eastern Shore is imminently threatened by sea level rise related to climate change, and effects are already being seen on habitat and birdlife. Water is a dominant feature of the landscape, creating freshwater wetlands and salt marshes, and shaping barrier islands, ocean beaches, and bay complexes.

  1. There are also many rivers and streams, almost all slow-moving, with no rapids.
  2. Because of the flat land and mild temperatures, the region has excellent farmland, as well as robust livestock and poultry industries.
  3. With its rural nature, the Eastern Shore is a birding mecca.
  4. Choose a county below to see a list of birding sites in that county.

According to eBird reports, 425 bird species have been reported in the Eastern Shore Region, compared to 459 species in Maryland as a whole. Among the four regions of the state, the Eastern Shore ranks #1 in the number of species reported, Choose a county below to see a list of birding sites in that county.

Why is it called Bloody Point Maryland?

Bloody Point Bar Lighthouse Bloody Point Bar Lighthouse is located just off the southern tip of Kent Island, marking the entrance to Eastern Bay. Though the lighthouse stands in about seven feet of water and warns mariners of shoals near Poplar Island with a red sector, it is also close to one of the Bay’s deepest shipping channels at 174 feet.

  • The lighthouse’s name is apropos since the nearby point according to legends has been the scene of a number of violent events throughout history.
  • In the early days of the nation, a group of Indians was reportedly enticed to the area by English colonists, who then butchered the trusting natives.
  • It is also rumored that a villainous French pirate was hung at Bloody Point.

Though the authenticity of these tragic events may be questionable, the charred and hollow shell of iron that is Bloody Point Lighthouse provides tangible evidence of a tragic fire that very nearly killed two crewmen.

Photograph courtesy U.S. Coast Guard


The Lighthouse Board first included a proposal for Bloody Point Lighthouse in their annual report of 1868, after numerous petitions requesting a light at the point had been received, but thirteen years would pass before Congress finally provided $25,000 for the project on March 3, 1881.

The Board decided upon “an iron caisson 30 feet in diameter and 30 feet high, surmounted by an iron tower 37 feet high” — specifications very similar to the structure then being built for Sharps Island. The contract for erecting the lighthouse was granted to Thomas Evans, while the ironwork was supplied by the same foundry used for Sharps Island.

Construction began in earnest on June 5, 1882, and by the end of that month a large wooden platform had been erected at the site upon which a derrick mast, concrete mixer, and an engine were placed. Twenty-two piles were driven into the seabed, and a floor of six by twelve-inch timbers was constructed to provide a strong foundation for the caisson.

  • The first tier of plates composing the cylinder was then bolted together, attached to the flooring, and lowered into position atop the piles.
  • When the final levels of plates had been attached, the cylinder was filled with over 700 cubic yards of concrete.
  • By the end of August, a thirty-seven-foot-tall, cast-iron tower had been erected on the caisson and lined with brick.

On the tower’s lower levels, various windows and the entry door were set in pedimented cast-iron openings, while the watchroom level was adorned with circular, porthole-type windows. The lighthouse interior originally consisted of five rooms, one of which was located below the water’s surface.

  • This basement room was accessed by a steep ladder and housed twin 250-gallon water tanks that collected rainwater.
  • The first level contained an all-purpose room that served as a kitchen, parlor, radio room, and dining room.
  • A spiral staircase led up to the second and third levels, with their spartan sleeping rooms, and then on up to the watchroom.

The lantern room is a ten-sided, cast-iron creation and originally contained a fourth-order Fresnel lens with a range of thirteen miles.J. Regester & Sons of Baltimore cast the fog bell for the station in 1882. All the construction work was finished rather promptly, allowing the light to be exhibited on October 1, 1882.

The Board was pleased that besides marking the entrance to Eastern Bay the new Bloody Point Lighthouse was also a useful Chesapeake Bay light, as mariners could make a straight run “from it to Sandy Point buoy, or the reverse, thus avoiding Thomas’s Point Shoal, should that light be destroyed by the ice.” The Board definitely favored caissons at this time, having learned that screwpile lighthouses could sometimes become dislodged from their foundations and float away with sheets of heavy ice.

The caisson at Bloody Point was not invulnerable to damage, however. Severe storms during the winter of 1883 struck the lighthouse, “scouring the sand from under the northwest side of the light-house and causing a settling of the structure toward that direction.” Bloody Point was found to be leaning five feet from perpendicular at its lantern room, and riprap stone was hastily put down around the affected northwest corner.

This solution was inadequate, though, as that stone was either carried away by storms or so heavy that it sank into the soft mud of the Chesapeake. In November 1884, the Board tried a more drastic means of eliminating the lighthouse’s tilt. Sand was dredged out from beneath the side opposite the list, successfully reducing the inclination by half, and heavy brush mattresses were placed all around the lighthouse and weighted down with small stones.

In the spring of 1885, the seabed around the lighthouse was further secured by 760 tons of larger stones, which were used to form a ‘scour apron.’ This technique has kept the lighthouse aligned within two degrees of vertical to this day, and the scour apron is visible at low tide.

The characteristic of the light was changed on April 15, 1888 from fixed red to fixed white with an eighty-eight-degree red sector covering the shoals off Poplar Island. The public got a report on the condition in which lighthouse keepers were required to keep their stations when Keeper Hiram White and Louis Carmen, his assistant, rescued Mrs.

Carl J. Hammersla and eight other people from her forty-five-foot boat in 1939. The keepers quickly whipped up a meal for their unexpected guests, and Mrs. Hammersla remarked that “the floors and walls were so spotless you could eat from them.”

Photograph courtesy U.S. Coast Guard


Bloody Point Lighthouse received a number of maintenance upgrades in 1899. Specifically, the station’s copper smoke pipe was refurbished, the pipes for the water tanks were repaired, the machinery for the fog bell was replaced, and various doors and windows also received care.

The station’s overall appearance, however, remained much the same until 1960, when an electrical short caused a fire to erupt in the lighthouse in the early morning hours of April 30th. Two young coastguardsmen, Mark Mighall aged nineteen and Heywood Savage twenty, were in the lighthouse. Savage was on the third floor writing letters and rousted Mighall out of bed when he saw smoke billowing up from below.

The pair attempted to quell the flames as they spread outwards from the equipment room. “We would use the extinguishers until the smoke got us, then run outside for air,” said Mighall. “We did this maybe three or four times until the fire spread into the kitchen and living room.” At this point it was evident that the flames would reach a storage room containing a 500-gallon fuel tank, so the two decided to abandon the station.

  • They lowered the escape boat by using a twenty-foot oar to operate the manual clutch on the boat hoist.
  • The boat descended through flames until it just touched the water, but could not float free of the davits.
  • Neither of us had a knife to cut the block and tackle.
  • We were stuck there, an inch from escape,” recounted Mighall.

Right before the terrible explosion a large wave lifted the boat and freed it, allowing the two coastguardsmen to escape with their lives and reach Tilghman Island around 1 a.m. Savage suffered minor burns “like a cook spattered with grease,” while Mighall was uninjured.

The blaze was fought by a Coast Guard cutter and two other boats for more than six hours, but the wooden interior of the structure was a total loss. A crewman aboard a forty-foot firefighting boat said the lighthouse was glowing “like a cherry-red pot-bellied stove” when they arrived around 1:30 a.m.

The lens fell victim to the blaze as well, so a temporary buoy was used until the was automated with an acrylic lens in 1961. At this time, the interior was gutted and external features such as the lower gallery roof, stovepipe, and davits were eliminated.

  1. Only a single steel ladder and the exposed cast iron plates remain.
  2. The heat stress from the fire and subsequent corrosion has caused widespread cracking of the tower’s plates.
  3. In addition, water has seeped between the steel cylinder and its concrete filling.
  4. Freezing of this seepage during the winter has caused some damage to the caisson.

Only the cantilevered lantern deck, composed of cast iron triangle plates, remains in relatively good condition. Solar panels power the modern lens, which is still an active aid to navigation. On December 7, 2006, Bloody Point Lighthouse was purchased at auction by a Nevada-based lawyer named Michael Gabriel.

  1. The online auction, conducted by the General Services Administration, opened at $5,000 on September 22, and as the tentative closing date approached, the bidding heated up.
  2. After several extensions to the auction, Gabriel finally won the 124-year-old lighthouse with a bid of $100,000.
  3. Fortunately, Mr.

Gabriel is committed to restoring the light, and he initially plans to add a dock. Later, he would like to contract out the work of restoring the kitchen and living areas. He sees the dilapidated condition of the lighthouse as a positive factor in its eventual restoration: “This way,” he said, “it’s all ready to go.” He admitted that he may “have a bit of an eccentric bent,” but he is quite serious about spending upwards of $200,000 on restoration.

He is considering donating the structure to a non-profit following his work; a nearby Baptist church has already expressed interest in maintaining it. In August 2009, Gabriel announced that he would be dedicating a room in each of his offshore lighthouses to a brewery. “I’m starting this process with Bloody Point and Fourteen Foot before moving on to Borden Flats,” Gabriel explained.

“We’re not talking about a huge amount of beer here, something like 20 to 40 barrels a week that we will look to sell to local restaurants and breweries. My hope is to have the breweries pay for the lighthouse’s ongoing maintenance. We will already be using the desalination process in here to create water, but the device I am purchasing creates so much more water than we will need, and this seemed like a great use for it.

We want to create a unique beer here, and it will be unique — the only one made from seawater.” As the desalination systems costs around $100,000 and renovating the lighthouse will be more than that, having a money generating operation isn’t a bad idea. Though an official name hasn’t been selected for the beer, Sea Ale and Lighthouse Brew have been considered.

Michael Gabriel’s big plans for the lighthouse were never realized, and it appears nothing was ever done to rehabilitate or stabilize the lighthouse. Doug Roberts took of the tower in 2017 that shows a large section of the tower has broken off, exposing the interior of the lighthouse to the elements.

  • Head: Benjamin F. Lewis (1882 – 1883), William T. Bullen (1883 – 1886), William J. McGinley (1886), George H. Nelson (1886 – 1889), Robert G. Kinnamon (1889 – 1891), Julius U. Ringgold (1891 – 1892), (1892 – 1904), Elisha T. Shockley (1904 – at least 1921), James O. Casey (at least 1930 – at least 1931), Henry R. Hanberry ( – 1938), James T. Somers (1938 – 1939), Lewis R. Carman (1939 – 1940), Hiram T. White (1940 – at least 1948).
  • Assistant: Joseph B. Ross (1882 – 1883), William T. Bullen (1883), Jacob W. Bullen (1883 – 1884), William Ally (1884), J.E. Coleman (1884 – 1886), George H. Nelson (1886), William J. Hoxter (1886 – 1888), William T. Barton (1888 – 1889), Julius U. Ringgold (1889 – 1891), James D. Cowman (1891 – 1892), Moses W. Legg (1892 – 1899), John H. Grain (1900 – 1901), Fabious F. Dailey (1901), George Conner (1901 – 1902), Loch W. Humphreys (1902 – 1905), William T. Donald (1905 – at least 1921), Arthur M. Midgett (at least 1930), Henry R. Hanberry, Ray L. Bowers (1936), Hiram T. White (at least 1939 – 1940), Clyde M. Farrow (1940 – ).


  1. Annual Report of the Lighthouse Board, various years.
  2. Bay Beacons, Turbyville, 1995.
  3. “Bloody Point Bar Light Station’s National Register of Historic Places Nomination,” 1998, USCG Historian’s Office.
  4. “Restoring Lighthouse: Priceless,” Brittney Pescatore, The Washington Times, December 22, 2006.
  5. “Something is brewing at Borden Flats Lighthouse,” Jay Pateakos, Herald News, August 25, 2009.

: Bloody Point Bar Lighthouse

Is Baltimore on the Eastern Shore?

The Eastern Shore of Maryland is a place like no other. Nestled across the Chesapeake Bay from Baltimore and Washington D.C., the Eastern Shore of Maryland feels a world apart from these big cities.

What is the meaning of Eastern Shore?

East of the Bay.2. sometimes, the entire Delmarva Peninsula.

Is Eastern Shore Maryland or Virginia?

The Eastern Shore region is Virginia’s part of the Delmarva Peninsula, which is shared with Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

Is Annapolis part of the Eastern Shore?

Maryland’s Eastern Shore – The Maryland Eastern Shore was once a drive-through area between Annapolis and Ocean City, Now small bayside towns like Chestertown, St Michaels, Cambridge, Easton, and Crisfield are destinations in their own right. A visit to Maryland’s Eastern Shore might include exploring the friendly shops in our little towns, biking through wilderness parks, kayaking on a creek, and eating crab cakes at seafood restaurants.

  1. Maryland’s Eastern Shore is connected to the rest of the state by the Bay Bridge, which crosses 4.5 miles of the Bay between Annapolis and Kent Island.
  2. If you don’t want to cross the bridge, you’ll need to drive up to the top ofthe Bay and back down through Delaware.
  3. The easiest and most enjoyable way to the Shore from New Jersey via the Lewes/Cape May Ferry,

From luxury resorts to quaint bed-and-breakfasts, there are plenty of places for you to spend a week or a weekend on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

What counties make up the Eastern Shore of Maryland?

Kent, Queen Anne’s, Caroline, Talbot, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester Counties – The eight counties on Maryland’s Eastern Shore (listed above from north to south) are on the mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain, separated from the rest of the state by the expansive Chesapeake Bay to the west.

  1. Maryland’s portion ot the Eastern Shore is bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and the state of Delaware.
  2. The Eastern Shore is a flat region with much of the land at sea level.
  3. The highest point is in Kent County, the northernmost county of the Eastern Shore, and is only 102 feet above sea level.

Much of the Eastern Shore is imminently threatened by sea level rise related to climate change, and effects are already being seen on habitat and birdlife. Water is a dominant feature of the landscape, creating freshwater wetlands and salt marshes, and shaping barrier islands, ocean beaches, and bay complexes.

There are also many rivers and streams, almost all slow-moving, with no rapids. Because of the flat land and mild temperatures, the region has excellent farmland, as well as robust livestock and poultry industries. With its rural nature, the Eastern Shore is a birding mecca. Choose a county below to see a list of birding sites in that county.

According to eBird reports, 425 bird species have been reported in the Eastern Shore Region, compared to 459 species in Maryland as a whole. Among the four regions of the state, the Eastern Shore ranks #1 in the number of species reported, Choose a county below to see a list of birding sites in that county.

Is Maryland Eastern Shore a good place to live?

So, Where is the Best Place to Live in Maryland? – As we said, Maryland’s Eastern Shore is a fantastic place to live for people of all lifestyles, career paths, and interests. Whether you want to live somewhere urban, suburban, or rural, there is something for everyone.