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Press Releases

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Nabb Center Presents 'Beyond Cotton Patch: Opening Salisbury Harbor and Changing the Landscape of Wicomico County' March 29

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SALISBURY, MD---The dredging of the Wicomico River beyond Cotton Patch wharf in 1882 made way in Salisbury for the Baltimore, Chesapeake and Atlantic Railways Co.’s (BCA’s) steamboat Virginia, a passenger ship that plied the area’s water for decades.

Dr. Phillip Hesser discusses the new opportunities this event presented for the area during the talk “Beyond Cotton Patch: Opening Salisbury Harbor and Changing the Landscape of Wicomico County.”

His presentation is 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 29, in Salisbury University’s Edward H. Nabb Research Center Gallery, 190 Wayne Street.

At the turn of the 20th century, the BCA promised “a little voyage” from Baltimore aboard the Virginia that was “filled with delight.” The overnight crossing of the Chesapeake Bay offered stopovers at four bayside and Wicomico County wharves, docked in the harbor at Salisbury, and provided rail connections to Ocean City.

Commercially, the deeper port opened the area to markets throughout the Northeast. The resulting steamboat network transformed the region before being outpaced by highways as the wharves were swept away by storms.

Hesser’s talk is presented in connection with the exhibit “This Trip Is a Treat: Looking Back at Steamboating to Salisbury a Century Ago,” on display at the gallery through Friday, April 29. Gallery hours are 1-4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Admission is free and the public is invited. For more information call 410-543-6312 or visit the Nabb Research Center website at

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