Board Struggles to Save Bainbridge Museum

By Katy Ciamaricone Cecil Daily

In its heyday, the United States Naval Training Center at Bainbridge was a 1,200-acre, full-fledged military base where nearly 40,000 recruits at a time went through boot camp and other training to prepare for war.

After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the United States’ involvement in World War II became imminent, and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt approved orders to create U.S. military training bases around the country. One of those bases was Bainbridge – on a bluff above Port Deposit, right here in Cecil County.

Chief Petty Officer Stephen Kowalski closes up BNTC in 1976.

 At the time, Tome School for Boys occupied the land high above town proper. But the school – created from a $3 million trust left by Jacob Tome after his death – had struggled financially due to the Great Depression; the federal government acquired the land in 1941 for around $1 million.

In the span of about five months, more than 500 buildings were erected on the base to house, among other things, a dental facility, a naval hospital, commissary, theater, bowling alley, several indoor pools, a Naval Academy prep school, four barracks, and schools where recruits and non-recruits learned firefighting, motion-picture operation, electrical maneuvers, radio-control operations, and how to run nuclear-powered submarines.

article continues on Cecil Daily

click here for related article:  Last Sailor at Bainbridge Says Goodbye to Friends at the Winchester Bar


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