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Tolchester Beach was a resort town in Kent County, Maryland in the late 19th and early 20th century. Established by the Tolchester Steamboat Company in 1877 and created wholecloth from what had formerly been several large plantations, Tolchester was a fantasyland of rides, games, music, and other diversions built on a bluff overlooking the northern Chesapeake Bay. Visitors could rent bathing suits, enjoy picnic lunches in shady groves, pilot electric launches around a small pond, and ride the wooden Whirlpool Dips rollercoaster. Day trippers or weekenders left Baltimore’s Light Street wharf early in the morning, and spent the 2-hour trip to Tolchester picnicking, enjoying the fresh breezes and taking in the Chesapeake scenery.


By the 1950′s, Tolchester had fallen on hard times. World War II saw many of the steamboats requisitioned for war use, and the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge dealt the final blow as Ocean City became the resort destination of choice. By 1962, the resort, dilapidated and a shadow of its formerly-grand self, was formally closed to the public. It was demolished and razed a few years later, and a marina currently operates where the amusement park once stood. Today, all that is left are a few buildings, carefully saved and restored by a local man, Walter B. Harris, and some artifacts, carefully preserved in the collections of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum.


1889 Tolchester Beach poster, 19th century Tolchester postcards, and 20th century image of passengers on Tolchester Beach Wharf, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum collections.