I was born and raised in Calvert County, Maryland. I spent my years growing up between Chesapeake Beach and North Beach, leaving the county briefly for almost 3 years only to return and make my home once again in Chesapeake Beach.
We are but one very small town along with many others that makes up our wonderful Calvert County. Although, small we have fun things to do here and our history is amazing.
In the summer our town is busy with lots of tourists coming to stay in our local beach front resort, eat at one of our many seafood restaurants, fish, tour the railway museum, come to the waterpark, or just to play on the beaches.
Below is a brief summary on our history along with a few pictures. Following that I will share a few pictures of our current attractions.
Otto Mears, a Russian immigrant and railroad tycoon, moved east from Colorado in 1895 with a vision to build a resort on the Chesapeake Bay and a railroad linking it to Washington, D.C. The vision became reality on June 9, 1900, when thousands of excursionists disembarked from the train at Chesapeake Beach station and were saluted by a uniformed brass band at full volume.
In the early years, the fare for the round trip train ride from District Line station at the eastern corner of Washington [see Seat Pleasant, Ed] to Chesapeake Beach was 50 cents. Express trains took about 60 minutes to make the trip; “locals” took about 90 minutes. At the resort, there was a mile of boardwalk lined with concession stands and amusement booths. Other attractions included a carousel complete with Wurlitzer organ, a roller coaster, a band shell, various other “popular entertainments,” and dancing in the pavilion to the music of J. Worthington Krunkley’s orchestra. But the the greatest attraction was the water of the Chesapeake Bay, where hundreds of bathers took the plunge every day.
Extending out into the Bay was a long pier that visitors used for strolling, fishing, and crabbing. Steamboats carrying excursionists from Baltimore docked at the end of the pier.
The elegant Belvedere Hotel catered to Washington’s tired and jaded for two decades until it was destroyed by fire on March 20, 1923.
The hotel was not rebuilt. Patronage had been declining for several years; affluent Washingtonians now had automobiles that carried them swiftly to ocean beaches. In 1933, a hurricane irreparably damaged the resort’s facilities. On April 15, 1935, the last train left Chesapeake Beach. The Chesapeake Beach Railway Company shut down, and the rails were torn up.
The town of Chesapeake Beach was left behind, but it survived. Charter fishing gained popularity. In 1946, a group of entrepreneurs refurbished the amusement park and added a salt water pool. In 1948, slot machines were legalized in Southern Maryland, and business boomed.
Remnants of the old resort are still visible today. The Chesapeake Beach Railway Station on Mears Avenue, for example, has been renovated to house the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum.
In the summer of 1995, the town opened the Chesapeake Beach Water Park, complete with water slides and a hydraulically controlled flowing river. The Northeast Community Center has been built to provide regional recreation andmeeting facilities. The faces have changed and buildings have been rearranged, but Chesapeake Beach is still a pleasant home for its residents and a welcome sight to visitors arriving by car or boat.
HISTORICAL PICTURE (CIRCA 1910) COURTESY OF CHESAPEAKE BEACH RAILWAY MUSEUM
(taken from Chesapeake Beach)
Here are some snapshots of my beautiful town. (boats at one of the docks, Flag in Veterans Memorial Park and the town Clock)
One of the memorials at the Veterans Memorial Park.
This is my kids playing on one of our beaches.
A picture of the Rollercoaster that was here a long time ago
Our welcome sign and a picture of our local crabs
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