Worcester County

worcester county seal

Worcester County, occupies the extreme southeastern corner of the state, bordered on the north by Wicomico County, the Mason-Dixon Line and Delaware, the east by the Atlantic Ocean, the south by Virginia, and the west by Somerset County. The county was created from Somerset County by Chapter 9, acts of 1742. It is named after the Earl of Worcester.

Unlike the southern Maryland counties, this area was never tobacco country. The earliest settlers raised grain and livestock, and since the introduction of the refrigerated railroad car, this has been a vegetable and fruit growing area. Raising and marketing broilers is also big business in the county. Summer visitors to the ocean resorts also boost the county's economy.

Snow Hill, the county seat since 1742, was a commercial center for the lower Eastern Shore even before the creation of the county. Destructive fires in 1834 and 1893 burned most of the old part of the town. It is a town of shingled frame houses, many built in the Victorian era. Houses that remain from earlier days can be identified by large outside chimneys and separate kitchen buildings connected to the main house by curtains, all characteristics of early nineteenth century houses of the lower peninsula.

Every summer tourists flock to Ocean City, Maryland's largest coastal resort. Swimming, fishing, and sunning are but a few of the amusements to be found at the resort. Assateague Island, a primitive wilderness of beach, sand dunes, and marshes, is a favorite among fishermen and campers. Here roam the Chincoteaque ponies, descendants of horses brought to Maryland by seventeenth century settlers.

- Harrison's Orchard in Berlin, 1928
MSA SC 1477-6491

Harrison's was for many years the largest employer in Berlin. Founded in 1884, the fruit tree nursery was once the largest in the world, with more that five thousand acres under cultivation in Maryland. In 1928, some of the workers paused from their picking in the orchard to pose for this picture.

Market Street, Pocomoke
MSA SC 1477-6457

Pocomoke City is the commercial center of Worcester County. Although the town was first established in 1700, there are virtually no structures left from those early days as a result of major fires in 1888, 1892, and 1922. This view of Market Street was published as a picture postcard c. 1913. Bridge.

Field Day parade float, 1920
MSA SC 1477-6599

Worcester County boasts some of Maryland's richest farmland. These local youngsters were well on their way as they climbed aboard their Field Day float in 1920.

Magee Yacht Basin, Ocean City
MSA SC 908-24-708

Ocean City, the state's only port directly on the Atlantic Ocean, has long been a favorite vacation spot for Marylanders. The city's first hotel, the Atlantic, opened in 1875. Marlin fishing became fashionable after a hurricane in 1933 reopened an inlet south of town, giving access to a safe harbor on Sinepuxent Bay.

farm extension agent talks to farmer
MSA SC 1477-6604

An extension agent talks to a farmer in an asparagus field, c. 1925.