Category Archives: Historic Preservation

I know your name but can’t recall where we met.

Jumptown? Casho’s Mills? Furman’s Grove? Jadwins Creek?

These were the names of real places in Caroline County 50 or 250 years ago. The places are still there, but many of the place names are lost to memory. Now you can find them again and Stand in the Place.

With one click at Choptank River Heritage Place Names Search, you can find that lost place in:

Continue reading I know your name but can’t recall where we met.

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Historic Boon Farmstead – Vanished from the face of the Earth

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.

Continue reading Historic Boon Farmstead – Vanished from the face of the Earth

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For map geeks only: Choptank watershed 1898-1944 from KML

I created a map app where you can compare  hi-res USGS topo maps of the Choptank River watershed for different time frames, 1898-1944.

I did it by downloading KMZ files using the USGS TopoView app and publishing them on my own web server.  Then adding the URLs to my map app.  So easy, you can do it yourself.  Heh.  I’m sure you’ll want to read details here about the map scales, dates, and metadata.

To see all the layers for all the years, you have to view the larger map app.  No time?  Just zoom in with this map that shows only 1904-1918.  You’ll get the idea.  (Yeh, that a KMZ service can be slow.)

View larger map

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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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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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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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