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M. M. Davis Shipyard During the Great War
by Robert J. Hurry, 2018, 13 pp., Click here to download (710 KB)
A century ago, the world was embroiled in a conflict called the Great War or World War. A Calvert County, Maryland, business that grew to meet the wartime demand was Solomons’ own M. M. Davis & Son shipyard. On the eve of America’s involvement in the war, the business acquired land to expand its shipyard, restructured its finances, enlarged its workforce, and enhanced its shipbuilding capabilities. The shipyard was prepared to do its part in the war effort.
The Ark of Hungerford Creek
by Richard J. Dodds, 2017, 12 pp., photographs, paperback. $10.00
This booklet follows the story of this most unusual vessel from its beginnings as a lifeboat on the German transatlantic ocean liner Kronprinzessin Cecilie in 1906, to its current resting place on the grounds of the Calvert Marine Museum. Mr. Dodds tells the story this lifeboat and its ship, from being an ocean liner to a troopship in World War I to eventually finding its way to the Patuxent River. It is here the lifeboat and the ship, renamed Mount Vernon, parted company – the ship to be scrapped, and the lifeboat to begin its new career as a land-based chapel known as The Ark.
The Happy Solution: A Short History of the Dewey Floating Dry Dock
by Merle T. Cole, 1988, 36 pp., photographs and maps, paperback. $1.00
Built in Baltimore in 1905, the Dewey dry dock was towed to Solomons in June of that year where it remained for six months before departing for its final destination in the Philippines. While anchored off Solomons, the Dewey dry dock underwent a number of tests to evaluate its sturdiness and reliability as a cradle for ships in need of repair and maintenance. Approximately 500 feet long, the steel dry dock was constructed to support the weight of such cruisers and battleships as the USS Colorado and the USS Iowa. The Dewey dry dock's ultimate purpose in the Pacific was to provide a local repair station for naval vessels, rather than having them return to the United States.
Skeletal Anatomy of Alligator and Comparison with Thecachampsa
by George F. Klein, 2016, 75 pp. Annotated photographic atlas.
During the Miocene epoch, large predatory crocodilians lived in a warmer southern Maryland. Their fossilized remains are now found along Calvert Cliffs. By providing a detailed annotated photographic atlas of the skeleton of the living Alligator, this work will help identify the fossilized bony remains of Thecachampsa - the marine crocodilian that shared its habitat with the likes of megalodon.
Click here to download publication. (35 MB PDF)
Purchase a hard copy of this book. Only $14.99 (USPS shipping included).
Thrills and Spills: The Golden Era of Powerboat Racing in Southern Maryland
by Robert J. Hurry and Richard J. Dodds with contributing author C.R. "Buddy" Parks, 2013, 157 pp., photographs, maps, paperback. (ISBN 978-0-941647-21-2) $25.95
Not too long ago, powerboat racing was one of the largest and most popular spectator sports in Southern Maryland. Today, the golden era of powerboat racing in Southern Maryland is largely a memory. We aim to preserve this important legacy for future generations with this book and our new exhibit - Thrills and Spills.
Boats for Work, Boats for Pleasure: The Last Era of Wooden Boatbuilding in Southern Maryland
by Richard J. Dodds and Robert J. Hurry, 2009, 129 pp., photographs, maps, and drawings, paperback. (ISBN 978–0-941647-20-5) $19.95
This publication presents a retrospective look at a way of life that has almost disappeared – the building of wooden boats for the work of watermen and for the pleasure of those who enjoy boating. The craftsmen introduced here represent the last generation of builders of wooden boats from the three Southern Maryland counties of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s. There are photographs of both the builders and the boats, with drawings of plans of some of their efforts.
Miocene Shark Teeth from Around the Chesapeake Bay
Full color, wall mount poster (24” by 36”), prepared by the Paleontology Department.
This poster features life restorations of extinct sharks, their fossilized teeth, as well as descriptive vignettes. Collectors of shark teeth will find this guide very useful. $13.99
Working the Water: The Commercial Fisheries of Maryland’s Patuxent River
edited by Paula J. Johnson, 1988, 218 pp., numerous photographs, paperback. Published jointly with The University Press of Virginia. (ISBN 0-8139-1156-7) $14.95
This work focuses on Maryland’s Patuxent River, which once boasted some of the most productive commercial fisheries in the Chesapeake region. In recent years these fisheries have declined, and as the character of the area changes, the river’s rich maritime heritage is in danger of being forgotten. Included in the book are three interpretive essays, a descriptive catalog of artifacts from the museum’s vast collection of fisheries gear, and over 200 illustrations. It celebrates the history and traditions of the river’s fishing industries.
Sirenians & Sirens: Sea Cows and Mermaids
by Stephen Godfrey, 2002, 30 pp., color photo-graphs and illustrations, maps, booklet. (ISBN 0-941647-15-3) $6.95
Although this small booklet was prepared as a guide to an exhibit in the museum in 2002 and 2003, it has a wealth of information about these interesting mammals, both living and as fossils, relating them to their mythological counterparts, the mermaids. The author also describes the current concerns for the endangered future of sea cows.
Fossils of Calvert Cliffsby Wallace L. Ashby, third edition, 1995, 19 pp., illustrations and map by Mary A. Parrish, paperback. (ISBN 0-941647-11-0) $7.95
This is a popular guide to the fossils found along the Chesapeake Bay shore in Calvert County, one of the most important natural history resources of our region. Mr. Ashby has studied these fossils for many years, and he provides information about the geologic history of the cliffs as well as details of the fossils to be found there. The illustrations are particularly useful for fossil buffs.
Islands in a River: Solomons and Broomes Island, Maryland
compiled by Richard J. Dodds, 2008, 230 pp., photographs and maps, paperback. (ISBN 978-0-941647-18-2) Out of print.
Solomons and Broomes Island, two waterside communities on the Patuxent River originating during the heyday of the oyster industry, became the most important watermen’s communities in Calvert County in the nineteenth century. Over time, they have been transformed by a growing population, a spreading network of roads, and a decline in the productivity of the river. This work highlights the families who developed Solomons and Broomes Island, and the schools, stores, and churches that sprung up to serve the needs of the residents. It traces the rich tapestry of the region’s seafood, boatbuilding, and recreational-fishing industries, becoming a permanent record of a vanishing maritime past.
I Remember -- Recollections of “Pepper” Langley: Growing up in Solomons
as related to Melvin A. Conant, 1990 (reprinted 1998), 115 pp., photographs, paperback. (ISBN 0-941647-14-5) $9.95
James LeRoy “Pepper” Langley spent most of his life in Solomons, working and watching the changes that have taken place since the years of World War I. In the 1980s he narrated his memories to maritime historian Mel Conant who selected and organized them into the story of Pepper’s life and accomplishments. There are photographs of family, as well as lists of the carvings, ship models, and lettering that mark this remarkable career.
Cradle of Invasion: A History of the U. S. Naval Amphibious Training Base, Solomons, Maryland, 1942-1945
by Merle T. Cole, 1984 (reprinted 1994), 37 pp., photographs and maps, paperback. (ISBN 0-941647-03-X) $4.95
The Amphibious Training Base on 100 acres on the Dowell peninsula across Back Creek from Solomons was the most extensive involvement of the United States Navy in Calvert County during World War II. The navy set up the training facility in 1942, and during the next three years 70,000 officers and enlisted men were trained there, with a most significant impact on the surrounding community. Mr. Cole traces the history of the navy’s efforts to find a location for amphibious training; the selection of Solomons as a base; the problems of establishing this base within a short period of time; the training activities and facilities there and at the adjacent areas of Cove and Drum Points; and the close of the base in 1945. Developed from archival sources, there are a number of official navy photographs, two area maps, and many bibliographical notes.
The Patuxent “Ghost Fleet” 1927-1941
by Merle T. Cole, 1986 (reprinted 2009), 70 pp., photographs, paperback. (ISBN 978-0-941647-19-9) $19.95
This is a little-known story of how four former passenger liners, once the pride of the German Merchant Marine, came to spend much of the period between World Wars I and II laid up in a quiet backwater of Maryland’s Patuxent River. Interned in the United States during World War I, the stately ships saw limited service with the U.S. Shipping Board until the postwar economic slump caused them to be mothballed, awaiting better times. The ships became an almost permanent feature of the local landscape, an attraction in their own right over the next fifteen years, until darkening war clouds led to their removal, either for scrap or government use.
“Solomons Mines”: A History of the U. S. Naval Mine Warfare Test Station, Solomons, Maryland, 1942-1947
by Merle T. Cole, 1987 (reprinted 1998), 46 pp., photographs and maps, paperback. (ISBN 0-941647-08-0) $6.95
The U. S. Naval Mine Warfare Test Station was one of two significant naval installations established on the Calvert County side of the Patuxent River near Solomons during World War II. Its purpose was to provide a test site for experimental minesweeping and mine countermeasures in a location relatively isolated, with deep water, and with conditions allowing for the investigation of harbor defenses. The author has examined official records to create a history of the station and its organization, further documented with photographs. Some personal interviews have also been incorporated into this detailed history. Mr. Cole also describes the later use of the site under different naval agencies up to the early 1980s.
Tankers in the Patuxent: The Esso Fleet Lay-Up Site in the 1930s
Throughout the 1930s, during the height of the Great Depression, a significant portion of the world’s largest tanker fleet lay idle in the Patuxent River near Solomons, Maryland. The ships of the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey were a familiar sight until 1941, when the last tanker departed, and the United States geared-up for World War II. Click here to download a copy. (5.25 MB PDF file)
A Brief History and Introduction to Building Techniques.
By Alexander Lavish and George Surgent of the Patuxent Small Craft Guild.
Out of print. Click here to download a copy. (3.16 MB PDF file)
One Family and Three Generations of Boatbuilding Tradition
By Richard J. Dodds. Click here to download a copy. (677 KB PDF file)
By Merle T. Cole. Click here to download a copy. (867 KB PDF file)
The First Aerial Photograph of Solomons?
Fishlighters: The Story of the Vanished Commercial Fishery at Flag Ponds, Chesapeake Bay, Calvert County, Maryland
by Harry C. Knott, 2002, 110 pp., photographs, illustrations, and map, paperback. Issued by the Battle Creek Nature Education Society, Port Republic, Maryland, in cooperation with the Calvert Marine Museum. $8.95
Pound netting, a form of fish trapping practiced long before the Europeans arrived in North America, was introduced to the commercial fisheries of the Chesapeake Bay late in the nineteenth century. During the first half of the twentieth century it flourished along the shores of Calvert County. Flag Ponds, near the town of St. Leonard, was particularly active for fishermen who established a camp from which to operate. (The area is now a county park.) Mr. Knott researched the history of the many men and women who worked at this camp, learning much about their methods and their lives. These recollections form the real substance of this book.
Chesapeake Bay Sailing Craft
by Marion V. Brewington, 1966 (reprinted 1986), 14 pp., drawings, booklet. Issued jointly with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. $1.25
Working sailing craft were a common sight on the bay at the end of the nineteenth century when well over three thousand could be found. Most of these types have since declined or disappeared. Mr. Brewington, long interested in the maritime history of the bay, provides brief descriptions of the nine most common types, illustrated by drawings by Maryland maritime artist Louis Feuchter.
Marshnotes: An Introduction to the Salt Marsh
by Jeffrey Rothenberg, 1987, 16 pp., illustrations and maps, paperback. (ISBN 0-941647-07-2)$1.00
Planned as a publication to help interpret the marsh boardwalk that is part of the boat basin of the museum, the information and illustrations have applicability to a broader range of marshes in Southern Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. The excellent illustrations by W. Scott Rawlins and Susan LeVan enhance the value of this brief guide.
The Othello Affair: The Pursuit of French Pirates on Patuxent River, Maryland
August 1807, by Donald G. Shomette, 1985, 37 pp., illustrations and a map, paperback. (ISBN 0-941647-04-8) $1.00
This small booklet by a CMM research associate is an account of the pursuit of pirates that took place in the Patuxent River area in 1807 when the 280-ton Boston merchant ship Othello was assaulted by a small pilot schooner, General Massena, flying French colors. Mr. Shomette explores the political implications of this assault and the reactions of the American public. Some of the details are reminiscent of the wonderful sea tales of popular author Patrick O’Brian.
Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, Maryland
prepared by the museum staff, 2002, 24 pp., color photographs, illustrations, booklet. (ISBN 0-941647-16-1) $2.00
This is an illustrated guide to the museum, its history, its exhibits, and its activities. It serves as an overview for those visiting the museum, as well as an introduction to those planning a visit.
Out of Print Publications
“It Ain’t Like It Was Then”: The Seafood Packing Industry of Southern Maryland
by Richard J. Dodds and Robert J. Hurry, 2006, 95 pp., photographs and maps, paperback. (ISBN 0-941647-17-X) Out of print.
For 150 years, the seafood packing industry of Southern Maryland has defined the area’s waterfronts and fueled the economy. The bounty of seafood from the Chesapeake Bay spurred an abundance of oyster-shucking, crab-picking, and clam-shucking houses, but fewer than a half dozen survive today. The transformation of the bay is almost complete and the region now relies heavily on outside imports of the seafood that was once so plentiful. This text highlights those individuals and businesses in the counties of Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s whose stories form part of the rich and colorful history of seafood packing in southern Maryland.
Solomons Island and Vicinity: An Illustrated History and Walking Tour
compiled by Richard J. Dodds, 1995, 83 pp., photographs and maps, paperback. (ISBN 0-941647-12-9) Out of print.
This guide is intended to aid visitors to Solomons in appreciating the history of this interesting area and in identifying some ninety-four sites on the island, in Avondale, and other nearby locations. It is based on considerable research over a twelve-year period, as well as on interviews of long-time residents. The photographs and maps aid visitors as they tour Solomons.