Rarely do you hear it said, “My home town hasn’t changed a bit since I was a kid.”
Much more common is regret for the good old days. This town isn’t what it was, you might hear. It used to be so much better when we were young …
We know that’s not exactly true, certainly for the 125-year-old town of Chesapeake Beach. There have been lots of changes, with many happening under its feet while preparations are being made for April 6’s anniversary celebration of the town’s incorporation.
Local historian and Twin Beaches Library branch manager Joanie Kilmon remembers the “good old days.”
“I remember the way it was, sure,” she says. “I remember donkey-baseball games played in the open field across from West Beach where the Windward Key community sits now. Those were good times!”
She also knows what it takes to keep up with the demolition and construction of changing times. “Things change,” she says. “We grow. But you can’t get bitter. You learn to adapt.”
Saturday’s event remembers the town’s April 3, 1894, commemoration as the Bayside destination of the Chesapeake Beach Railway, the Ocean City of its day. You’ll see pictures of the old days from Bayside History Museum’s archives: Stinnett Restaurant, formerly at 31st Street and Bayside Road … Chaney’s Restaurant, formerly at the site of today’s Mamma Lucia by the Bay … and Camp Theodore Roosevelt, a former Boy Scout summer camp.
State Sen. Thomas V. ‘Mike’ Miller, who lives in the modern evolution of Camp Roosevelt, and Gov. Larry Hogan, have been invited. Refreshments are on the town with appetizers served by Mamma Lucia’s.
“There is a lot of change going on,” says Chesapeake Beach Mayor Pat ‘Irish’ Mahoney. “But deep down we are still the charming small town we’ve always been. We love enjoying ourselves at the beach, and we are throwing a birthday party.”
Kilmon provides the main event of the day, a slideshow history of the town.
“Some of us love change,” Kilmon says. “Change forces us to find new ways to see the beauty of what’s around us. We have such a unique geography here with our inlets and cliffs that has attracted everyone who has ever visited — and of course those natives who were here long before John Smith, the ships, the trains and the roller coaster. The slideshow will have it all.”
Kilmon’s branch houses a digital county history and once a month hosts Calvert Conversations, informal seminars on the people and places of the county. Sometimes there are field trips to museums, churches and destinations like Jefferson Patterson Park with its specialized Maryland Archeological Conservation Laboratory.
“Joanie,” says Mahoney, “is a walking encyclopedia of the history of the town and the county.”
Saturday, April 6, 4-6pm at Chesapeake Beach Town Hall, free: www.chesapeakebeachmd.gov.