Call to make an appointment to visit our museum!
2740 Church Street Whitehaven, MD 21856
Welcome to Whitehaven - Maryland’s Eastern Shore village nestled along the Wicomico River. Settled by the English in the late 1600’s, it was named by Col. George Gale after his hometown in England. His first wife, Mildred Warner Washington, lived in Whitehaven for a brief time before her death in 1701. She was George Washington’s grandmother by a previous marriage.
The Whitehaven ferry began operation around 1692. The town of Whitehaven was established in 1702. From the beginning, Whitehaven was a maritime town. The ferry also brought business to the area, along with passengers headed to Baltimore and Annapolis. After the arrival of steamboats, Whitehaven was frequently at the end of the line, due to the shallow unmarked channel of the Wicomico River. After the river was dredged all the way to Salisbury, Whitehaven became an intermediate stop on the way up river. Still in operation today, the Whitehaven ferry is one of the oldest continuously operating ferries in the United States.
For many years, the main stage coach road from the northern part of the peninsula to the county seat at Princess Anne, ran through Quantico and Whitehaven. In the 1800s, the village hotel was one of four stops on the stage road from Vienna to Princess Anne. A marine railway and shipyard also added to the town’s prosperity.
Whitehaven’s shipyards were busy, and so were the stores and shops that supplied the shipyards and the men who worked in them. Until the last years of the nineteenth century, a prosperous farming community along the Wicomico River brought additional business to the area. The gradual rise of the water level in the bay, and the breakdown of a system of dikes that had protected the land, brought deterioration of the farmland. Marshes developed and spread. Many families abandoned their farms and homes and moved away.
World War I saw a boom in Whitehaven. Its shipyard was in need of workers. The town added a roller rink, bowling alley, soda parlor and dance hall for entertainment. In 1918, a bank was chartered. It failed when the Armistice brought the boom to an end. In the early 1920s, rum running provided excitement, if not much business to the area. The capture of the ship, “Mary Travers,” in 1921 slowed rum running, but did not stop the operation.
Whitehaven has been a quiet village for the past one hundred years. Today its residents are interested in the historic preservation of its schoolhouse, church, historic homes and hotel. The ferry still operates daily and the remains of the marine railway are still visible.
"The mission of the Whitehaven Heritage Association (WHA) is to identify, interpret, collect and share the cultural and natural heritage of Whitehaven and its surrounds. The WHA works to preserve the schoolhouse in its traditional role as a community center and to maintain other elements essential to the character of the village." The WHA was deeded the Whitehaven Methodist Church in 2016 to maintain as well. Whitehaven Heritage Association, Inc. is a nonprofit 501©3 organization.
Whitehaven Heritage Association is raising funds to match a $5000 grant from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore to replace the roof on the Whitehaven Schoolhouse.
We are dedicated to improving the lives of those in our community. Your contribution today helps us make a difference.
Col. George Gale founded Whitehaven in 1702, and named it after Whitehaven, England, his homeland.
Steamboats stopped at Whitehaven for passengers going to and from Baltimore and other places.
The shipyard was very busy during World War I. Parts of the marine railway are still visible today.
Rum running was in the area, until the ship, "Margaret Travers," was captured in 1921.
Whitehaven has the longest continuously operating ferry in the United States. Operation began as early as 1692.
The "Whitehaven Company," of Somerset County Militia, fought with the Maryland Line in the Revolutionary War.
Travelers and salesmen (called drummers) stayed overnight at the Whitehaven Hotel. Visitors were given fresh horses or vehicles and sent on their way. Today the hotel is a bed and breakfast.
The 1740 Bolton Home is the oldest structure still standing in Wicomico County Maryland.
Whitehaven has one of the largest Maple trees in the State of Maryland.
Whitehaven is on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as one of Maryland's historic districts.
It is said that George Washington's grandmother was a resident of Whitehaven for a short time.