Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Vintage Del-Mar-Va" | Old Postcards, Images and History of the Delmarva Peninsula

The term "Del-Mar-Va" was born from the land which encompasses three states and nine counties along the east coast. This distinctive area includes the eastern shore counties of Maryland and Virginia along with the state of Delaware, and the hyphenated portions of each name made up it's original title. The peninsula is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware River, Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

"The Delmarva Peninsula, or simply Delmarva, is a large peninsula on the Southern Mid-Atlantic East Coast of the United States, occupied by most of Delaware as well as the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Although called a peninsula, it is technically an island after the digging of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. The peninsula is 170 miles (274 km) long. In width, it ranges from 70 miles (113 km) near its center, to 12 miles (19 km) at the isthmus on its northern edge, to less near its southern tip of Cape Charles. It is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay on the west, the Delaware River, Delaware Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Elk River and its isthmus on the north." Source

The following is a collection of images, travel materials and postcards from the area. They are not in any particular order, just a mosaic of visual history, attractions and various sites. There are a number of links throughout and at the bottom of this post to point you in the directions for additional information.

Map postcard focusing mainly on the Ocean City area
What began as an outlandish dream eventually led to the creation of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which officially united the eastern shore with the mainland.
Read this fascinating history at Bridging the Chesapeake: A 'Fool Idea' That Unified Maryland. This book is a history of the rivalry between Maryland's Eastern and Western Shores and the bridge that changed their relationship - see the Facebook page here.
Railroad travel was of course an essential mode of transportation. Stations dotted the peninsula, some of which have been preserved and restored.
This brochure and map illustrates efficient travel routes via the eastern shore of Virginia
"The History of the Virginia Ferry Corporation"
Highlighting the significance of the poultry industry was the yearly Chicken Festival. A summertime staple, after 65 years the festival ended with the 2014 event. "The Delmarva Chicken Festival is an annual event sponsored by Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc started in 1948 with the purpose of publicizing the Delmarva Peninsula with an emphasis on its arguably most important agricultural enterprise, raising chickens." Source
One of the attractions at the Chicken Festival was the World's Largest Frying Pan. "The pan's history began in June 1950 when it made its first appearance at the third Delmarva Chicken Festival in Dover. Designed and built by the Mumford brothers at Mumford Sheet Metal Works in Selbyville, the pan was given to Delmarva Poultry Industry for use in promoting chicken produced on the Delmarva Peninsula."
Black and white image from 1950
In 2016 during a visit to the Marvel Carriage Museum in Georgetown, DE (which is also home of the Georgetown Historical Society), I came across the frying pan in it's current resting place.
A nod to the watermen and seafood industry, a Del-Mar-Va Oyster Stew recipe
Tolchester Beach, Maryland - "Tolchester Beach was a popular resort established in 1877, located on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Kent County, Maryland. It was located just north of Rock Hall, Maryland, and closed in 1962." Source
I was totally unaware this place had even existed until discovering an awesome Facebook page dedicated to the history of the former resort and popular summer destination.
Despite being a popular beach resort for nearly 85 years, today Tolchester Beach is no more.
"The resort was built in 1877 when a Chesapeake Bay ferry stopped there. It had a 155 acre amusement park bordered by sang beaches. The park included a merry-go-round, roller coaster, carousel, harness racing and a roller skating rink.
But then the Chesapeake Bay Bridge opened in 1952, opening up Maryland and Delaware’s Eastern Shore to family vacations. The ferries stopped running across the Chesapeake Bay and the vacation resorts withered away. While Betterton, up the Bay a bit, was able to hang on, Tolchester didn’t. All that remains is Tolchester is a marina with a small, private swimming beach and swimming pool." A museum in Rock Hall tells the story of Tolchester Beach Revised.

Sites of interest:

Delmarva Pinterest Boards:

Flickr Albums of Delmarva:

Other vintage collections on Blogger:

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