Society Talks History and Economic Development at Chamber of Commerce Meeting

On November 14, 1963, Cecil County hummed with excitement as the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, came to Cecil County to dedicate the Northeastern Expressway. This important public works project shaped the future of this corner of Maryland, and as planning for the massive highway got underway local economic development experts talked excitedly about the opportunities presented by I-95.

It would yield major dividends by spurring business growth, as commercial, industrial and residential development clustered near the interchanges, they anticipated.  By 1962, big earth moving machines scooped up earth, cutting a 300-foot wide path through heavily wooded, uncultivated areas, as workers rushed to build the highway across the top of the Chesapeake.

Exactly on the 50th anniversary of this significant milestone, one that changed the area’s landscape, the Historical Society of Cecil County was asked to examine that unforgettable period for community business leaders at the monthly meeting of the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce.  Drawing on a large collection of resources, including photographs, newspaper accounts, governmental documents, oral histories, and economic development reports from a half-century ago, the Society discussed how what became the John F. Kennedy Highway shaped the growth and development of the area.

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