River Heritage in TweetView

Mapper Eric Fischer has created the most detailed tweet map ever.  Six billion tweets over 3.5 years – worldwide:

tweets earth

What does the map look like closer to home?   Zoom in here and look around:

Zoomed out, it looks like a population density map.  Like a census map but with a bias toward showing population segments more likely to be engaged with social media:

tweets delmarva

Zooming in, we see other patterns and try to understand their meaning.  Near Denton, the local hotspots for tweeters are North Caroline High School (upper left) and McDonald’s near MD 404 (lower right).  The NCHS hotspot is easy to interprist:  a  population more likely to be active in social media:

tweets NCHS & McD

But why are tweets coming from farm fields?   Tractor and harvester operators are tweeting while they plow furrows or harvest soybeans?

tweets in farm fields

And why are all these tweets coming from the middle of the Choptank River and from the marshes north of Denton and the MD 404 bridge?   Waterfowl hunters?  Seems unlikely.  Bad geolocations in the Twitter data are always possible.  But why scattered here?

tweets in choptank

And, of course, you have to wonder about all those tweets along Routes 404 and 50.  Those just passengers tweeting, right?  Can’t be drivers !

tweets 404
Got ideas?  Write to me:  cartographer @



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Skipjack, fertilizer sack, mule, boy. Repeat.

As many as four or five two- and three-mast sailing vessels at a time were often tied up at the Denton wharves.  I often had the job of leading the mule forward to lift the bag out of the vessel’s hold, and backing him up again to drop the bag onto the wharf and to lower the tongs back into the hold for another bag. You get the picture – the mule and the boy – back and forth all day until the last bag was out of the hold.

Continue reading Skipjack, fertilizer sack, mule, boy. Repeat.

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Choptank & Tuckahoe culture, inventoried

The Old Harford Town Maritime Center (OHTMC) in West Denton is no more.  But OHTMC’s legacy continues.

Choptank River Heritage sites were first catalogued by OHTMC and published in two volumes:

Maryland’s Upper Choptank River and Tuckahoe River Cultural Resource Inventory (1999)

Lower Choptank River Cultural Resource Inventory (2002)

These studies were funded by the Maryland Historical Trust.  They identify many types of historic sites and structures, including:

  • towns
  • landings
  • wharves
  • warehouses
  • canneries, and
  • sunken vessels

Since the inventories were published, Choptank River Heritage (CRH) continues the work of OHTMC by publishing historic maps, site descriptions, and stories of people and places of the Choptank River watershed.

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Ships in a sea of Eastern Shore corn

You fly down Route 404 across the Delmarva Peninsula,
like Lawrence and his Arab fighters across the Sinai,
380 horsepower and Camels on the dash.  

Through a sea of sand toward Suez.
Through a sea of corn toward Rehoboth.    

Traffic comes to a dead stop.
It’s a line of ships blocking your route.


It’s 1873, here.

Continue reading Ships in a sea of Eastern Shore corn

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Change was inevitable. So was the map.

If change was inevitable,
so was the map that shows it.

1875-1897-1905 compare


See changes in Caroline County, 1875 – 1897 – 1905.



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USGS does the Shore

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) started printing beautiful paper maps of the American West in the 1860s.   Then worked its way east until it finally got to:

usgs topo dates table

Continue reading USGS does the Shore

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1897 is a certified true copy of the original

Author Block 300x

It’s 1897.   Here.

Continue reading 1897 is a certified true copy of the original

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Before GPS, you watched for a crossroads up ahead

At Hubbard’s Crossroads, take the right fork.

hubbards crossroads

Continue reading Before GPS, you watched for a crossroads up ahead

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Country roads: Sorry, no Google street view

Take to the highway, won’t you lend me your name?
Your way and my way seem to be one and the same.
Mamma don’t understand it.  She wants to know where I’ve been.
I have to be some kind of natural born fool to want to pass that way again.
But you know I can feel it, yeah-yeah, on a country road.

Walk on down, walk on down,
walk on down a country road.

In 1875, all roads in Caroline County were dirt.  Most were crooked.

dirt roads - 1875

Continue reading Country roads: Sorry, no Google street view

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Downtown Federalsburg, 1875

Zoom in.  Then use the transparency slider and background map changer at upper right.

From the John B. Isler 1875 map of Caroline County.

See the larger map of downtown Federalsburg here.

 [Search:   xxdowntown ]


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On Maryland's Eastern Shore