Wicomico County

somerset county seal

Wicomico County, located on the Eastern Shore, was created from Somerset and Worcester counties by the Constitution of 1867, Art. XIII, sections 2-6. It was named after the Wicomico River, whose name comes from the Indian words wicko mekee, meaning "a place where houses are built," apparently referring to an Indian town on the banks of the river. The county is bordered on the north by the Mason-Dixon Line and Delaware, the east and southeast by Worcester County, the south by Somerset County and the Wicomico River, and the west by the Nanticoke River and Worcester County.

The local economy of Wicomico County is similar to that of Worcester County. The farming and processing of fresh produce is a major industry in the county. The introduction of the refrigerated railroad car revolutionized farming in the county, since produce could be transported fresh to distant markets. County farms also produce corn, soybeans, and sweet potatoes. After World War II, the broiler chicken industry grew dramatically in the county. Today approximately seventy-five million broilers are produced in Wicomico County alone.

Salisbury has been the seat of government since the creation of the county in 1867. The city was founded in 1732, but fires in 1860 and 1886 destroyed reminders of the towns colonial heritage. It is the home Salisbury State College, established in 1925, and the Wildfowl Museum, known for its collection of beautifully carved decoys.

- The Salisbury baseball team, 1896
MSA SC 1477-6476

The Salisbury team drew a fair-sized crowd on this summer's day in 1896.

A fire destroyed much of Salisbury in 1886
MSA SC 1477-6482

The great fire of 1886 burned the heart of Salisbury's business district: the town hall, opera house, churches, post office, fifty-five stores, fifty-eight homes, and two hotels were all destroyed. This view was taken from Camden Bridge.

The Wicomico County Courthouse survived the fire
MSA SC 1477-6481

The Wicomico County courthouse was the one public building that survived the fire. The bell from St. Peter's Episcopal Church, which sounded the first alarm, was installed in the courthouse tower to announce the hours.

In 1940, a Salisbury beauty pageant
MSA SC 1477-6567

A beauty pageant held in Salisbury in July of 1940 attracted a large crowd of spectators.

Salisbury, county seat
MSA SC 1477-6412

When Wicomico County was established in 1867, Salisbury was named the county seat. Originally, the city was partly in Somerset and partly in Worcester County. Since the advent of the automobile, Salisbury has been the commercial center for the lower Eastern Shore.