A Town On The Bay

By | Jul 31, 2009

Betterton is a small town of under 400 on the Chesapeake Bay. Looking at it today one would not know that during the 1st half of the 20th Century it was a summer resort with arcades and amusements for people to escape the heat of the cities of Baltimore and Philadelphia. There were daily scheduled steamship service by several lines including the Ericsson Steamship Line.

Betterton Beach Amusement Pier

The town sits where the Sassafras River meets the Chesapeake Bay. First founded as a fishing village in the mid 1700’s by the end of the 19th century it was a point ideally situated for shipment of produce from the Eastern Shore to markets in Baltimore and through the C&D Canal to Philadelphia.

With the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and travel by automobile increased fewer people traveled by the steamships causing the decline of many of the tourist towns of the early 20th Century. Towns that were easy to get to via water were less convenient by road, Betterton included.

While the town relishes its tourist roots, the tourist economy is now nearly non-existent. However the current public beach still gives a glimmer of its grand days. It’s a place for swimming and family picnics. It is equipped with a bathhouse with public restrooms and 500 feet of boardwalk, with benches, lighting and handicap access.

Located where the Sassafras and Elk Rivers meets the Chesapeake Bay the lower salinity of the upper Chesapeake keeps Betterton’s waters nearly free of sea nettles.

On the first Saturday of August each year the town hosts its Betterton Day Celebration. Highlights of the day is a parade down main street and cow-chip bingo an annual fundraiser for the volunteer fire company.

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1 Comment so far
  1. Hailie Hampton July 31, 2009 1:56 am

    I enjoyed reading your text. Excellent work!!

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