A map of the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railway Company and the Maryland, Delaware and Virginia Railway Company from 1906.

ELKTON — From the Sept. 11, 1869 edition of the Cecil Whig, the following account of a reconnaissance of the Eastern Shore with the view of establishing a more desirable connection between this rapidly improving portion of the State of Maryland and its metropolis, is given by the Kent News. It might be styled, a scheme to connect Baltimore and the Eastern Shore by railroad, if it were not that 20 miles of the proposed new route is over the water. We give below what the News says on the subject:

We understand that M. J. B. Wingate, at the instance of a committee of the city council of Baltimore, has been examining the routes over which additional railroads would have to be built to connect the Queen Anne’s with the Maryland and Delaware road, and the latter with the roads below on the peninsula, in order to afford more direct communication with Baltimore byway of the proposed railroad from Massey’s to Elkton; and that after examining these several routes, he has recommended another and shorter way of reaching Baltimore, and one which, in his judgement, would secure to that city a larger share of the Eastern Shore trade than any other that could be adopted. He proposes to start from Salisbury, and thence byway of Sharptown and Eederalsburg to Denton, thence to Greensboro, Beaver Dams, Church Hill and Chestertown, to Rock Hall.

This route has the advantage of commencing at Salisbury with 55 miles of railroad now built and in operation, viz:—32miles of the Eastern Shore and 23 of the Wicomico and Pocomoke road, both of which are having additions made to them. It crosses the Dorchester and Delaware Road at Fedralsburg, and the Maryland and Delaware Road at Greensboro’; also crosses the Kent and Queen Anne’s Road near the Hewett farm. The distance by this route 66 ½ miles to Chestertown. There connecting with the Kent County Railroad,12 2/3 miles to Rock Hall, making a distance of 70 miles by rail, and 20 miles by steamer to Baltimore, or a total distance of 99 miles against 173 miles byway of the Delaware Railroad to Wilmington and Philadelphia. Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad to Baltimore— thus showing a savings of 74 miles from Salisbury to Baltimore. The route passes for the most part through a fertile section of country, which is at present destitute of railroad or water communication, except where it crosses rivers or railroads at right angles.

The route is said to be very favorable in all respects for building a road, the most costly part being between Church Hill and Chestertown, and that is not extravagant. Mr. Wingate has made an approximate estimate of the cost of the 66 ½ miles of road, and makes it $950,000, or about $14,000 per mile. This covers everything complete, ready for the rolling stock, including depot buildings, &c. An accurate estimate depends upon a survey, which ought to be authoritatively made.

There are three grave objections to this new route, which we doubt not will forcibly strike the reader, and which arc insuperable objects to its success. No route which meditates both rail and water carriage will ever rise to the dignity of a successful freighting line. The immense labor and expense, to say nothing of loss of time in shifting the freight from cars to boat and boat to cars, must forever defeat such a project. This point needs no elaboration to make it apparent. It must strike every reader at once. In the second place winter effectually blocks all water routes on the Chesapeake for several weeks at least in the year. And this third objection is that the route there proposed leaves all that section of country lying between the line from Chestertown to Rock Hall in Kent county and the P. W. & B. Railroad in Cecil county in its present condition, as far as facilities connecting it with Baltimore are concerned, which is a very large part of the most productive region of the Eastern Shore. If communication by steam boat between the Eastern Shore and the city of Baltimore is all that is necessary to draw trade and travel from that section to the city, Baltimore would be without a rival, for the facilities between the two points by steamers is not surpassed in any part of the country. But in this respect we know that one railroad direct to Philadelphia with branches that are being thrown out from it, is more than a match for all the rivers and steamboats that vainly strive to carry the trade of the Shore to Baltimore. The above proposed route would only add another steamboat line to the numerous ones which now ply between the Eastern Shore and Baltimore in the summer months, and would utterly fail, if carried out, for the reasons here stated, to have any appreciable influence on the trade or travel between the two points; but if the iron track wore extended, making a continuous and unbroken rail to Elkton, thence by the P. W. & B. Railroad to Baltimore, then the latter city would have railroad facilities with the Eastern Shore equal to those now enjoyed by Philadelphia, in addition to her present advantages of water communication. Baltimore city may as well make up her mind to this at once, or abandon this periodical decision about successfully competing with Philadelphia for the trade of the Eastern Shore. No amalgam route of rail and water will ever compete successfully with a continuous rail.”

Stop in and see us at the Historical Society of Cecil County on Main Street in Elkton to learn about this and many other topics. Access to the digital newspaper collection is free to members and is included in the $5 library fee for non-members.

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