I was scanning aerial photography of Caroline County and saw this striking image in the landscape – above-ground crypts in a church graveyard:
The 1897 map shows this was the site of St Paul African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church:
I finally visited the site a few weeks ago. The scene was incredible. Pulpit, piano, pews, and stained glass were still in place. I found hand-hewn sill timbers – evidence that the building was indeed built in the early 1800s, as noted by one source.
The roof is caving in. One of the newer headstones in the graveyard was deliberately toppled off its pediment. Within a generation, this old church building will die and disappear into the landscape like many others. The gravestones will remain hidden under tangled vines for a thousand years. Then they will disappear, too. The viewing is here:
Stand in the Place.
Soon St. Paul AME church will be gone. The obituary might read like this – adapted from the non-profit St. Paul Church Historical Revitalization and Maintenance Inc.:
“St. Paul Church Historical Revitalization and Maintenance Inc. was formed in December 2000 to preserve church and maintain the grounds. The church building is over 150 years old …
Barbara Cook – First President
William H. Briggs – First Treasurer
Odette Hawkins – First Secretary
A century before Ridgely, there was Boonsboro.
During 1800-1850, Boonsboro was a thriving crossroads village with a church, school, wheelwright shop, and homes. Its leading citizens were the descendants of John Boon, who acquired large landholdings nearby in the late 1700s.
Boonsboro disappeared before 1900. The historic Boon farmhouse vanished suddenly before 2016. Only the family burial plot remains.
Maps, aerial photos, and a CRH site visit in 2009 tell the story.
The first woman president of the NAACP, Dr. Enolia P. McMillan, started her professional career as a teacher in Caroline County in 1927, when she taught at the Denton segregated black high school. Continue reading First woman President of NAACP got her start in Denton
Almost all of the old buildings are gone. But we can lay old maps over aerial and satellite imagery of Caroline County to find the places where they once stood.
Do the “helicopter tour” of the school sites as they look today. We fly north to south – 1000 feet above each of 14 sites. Click any site name to explore the site in an interactive map.
The helicopter route map below shows all 14 sites.
“You know the feelings of the white people here in Delaware.
Are you ready to die?”
I said, None of these things move me.
I never was so inspired to speak since the day I was born.
And news went back to Caroline,
that I was shot and killed.
Dutch immigrants poured into Caroline County in two waves in the 1890s and settled in “Wilhelmina Colonies” east of Dover Bridge. They came to America when farmland became scarce in their native Holland. They worked hard, built homes and churches, and called Caroline home. When war broke out in Europe and America sent troops, Caroline residents took a long look at their “foreign” neighbors.
The 1875 and 1897 maps of Caroline County show where hotels, stores and shops, churches, fairgrounds, and many other kinds of places were located over 100 years ago.