Steamboating Days in 1916

In the early years of the 20th century steam boating days on the Chesapeake Bay commenced slipping slowly away.  But in the summer of 1916, Elkton obtained renewed service, the Philadelphia and Baltimore Steamboat Company (Ericsson Line) launching a new line with connections to Baltimore.

Leading up to the return of a regular schedule on July 1, a number of arrangements were taken care of. The company bought an attractive steamer, the Carmania in Mobile Alabama to ply the route, and leased Jeffers’ Wharf at the foot of Bridge Street.  Last minute preparations involved cutting a basin in the vicinity of the mill wharf, allowing the boat to turn for the trip back down the winding Big Elk Creek.

Throughout that hot summer before World War I, the Carmania called at Elkton tiny port on the Creek.  It departed each morning for Betterton, Chesapeake Haven, and Town Point and returned in the afternoon.  Passengers desiring to go to Baltimore could connect with the Philadelphia boat at Betterton.

There were special evening excursions too.   On a sweltering Wednesday evening in July, she ran a special moonlight cruise, taking people down the river to get relief from the intense heat that made the evening uncomfortable.  The Elkton Cornet Band furnished music on the expedition to Town Point.

The boat completed the season for 1916.   It is unclear if some service returned in 1917, but in 1918, a government report noted that line had been abandoned.

Click here to see additional photos — Steam boating Days on the Big Elk Creek

The Steamer Carmania. An unamailed postcard from 1916.  source:  personal collection

The Steamer Carmania. An unamailed postcard from 1916. source: personal collection


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