Cambridge, Maryland – An Eastern Shore Town in Change

By | Jul 16, 2008

Cambridge Maryland is the county seat of Dorchester County. Cambridge was laid out as a town in 1684 and is one of the oldest towns in Maryland and on the Delmarva Peninsula. Incorporated by the State of Maryland in 1793.

As a port town it was said to have one of the safest ports in the region. The town has had a unique past with a changing economy over the years. From shipbuilding, to canning of fruit and vegetables and metal fabrication, Cambridge has changed with the times.

The town has been the home to four of Maryland’s governors. Civil War governor Thomas Hicks was a Cambridge native. It was due to Hicks’s efforts that Maryland remained a Union State during the war.

Annie Oakley, the female sharpshooter of “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” fame, lived in Cambridge from 1912 until 1917. The house that she built was supposed to be the retirement home for her and her husband Frank Butler. Butler liked the hunting potential of the area. This house is the only surviving primary residence of Oakley.

In parts of the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s and into the 50’s Cambridge fielded teams in the Eastern Shore Baseball League. The first incarnation lasted from 1922 to mid-1928 (disbanded in July), the second from 1937-41, and the third from 1946-49. Many major league baseball players played some of the games in their career in this league including Frank “Home Run” Baker, Mickey Cochrane, Jimmie Foxx, Bill “Swish” Nicholson, Mickey Vernon, and Don Zimmer.

Times are changing in the city. During the 1960’s the city was in the center of Civil Rights protests. In 1967 race-related violence erupted in the city which needed the national Guard called in to ease tensions. Just last week the city elected their first African-American Mayor, Victoria Jackson-Stanley.


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