October Edition has been rained out …


Well, that is not entirely accurate. But as readers may have already guessed, there will be no October edition of the Delmarva Chronicle.  Our apologies.  Let’s just say this is due to circumstances beyond our control, more or less.  And believe it or not, rain was a factor.  The items already included in the draft October issue will be added to the November issue.  But as a consolation, here is a photo taken of the new Academic Commons building of Salisbury University which opened last month. The building includes the new home of the Nabb Research Center.academic-commons-by-linda

1930s artifact at the Purnell Museum


Purnell_morro castle whistleThis unusual artifact at the Julia A. Purnell Museum links the Town of Snow Hill with a tragic event of 1934 which occurred off the coast of New Jersey, creating national and international news.


On exhibit at the museum is the steamship whistle from the passenger ship, the S.S. Morro Castle, which operated a route between New York City and Havana, Cuba.  On September 8, 1934, during the return trip from Havana, the ship caught fire off the coast of New Jersey and 137 passengers and crew lost their lives. The burning ship drifted toward the shoreline where it ran aground near Asbury Park, New Jersey, just off the boardwalk at Convention Hall, to the horror of shoreline onlookers, many of whom became first responders to save the survivors and transport the dead.

The S.S. Morro Castle was a luxury liner built in 1929-1930 at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company in Virginia.  The tragedy led to significant changes for improved shipboard fire safety. The ship operated by the Ward Line was named after the stone fortress and lighthouse in Havana.

The cause of the inferno that consumed the ship has always been something of a mystery. But the fabrication of the ship, with its paint, wooden interior and cleaning fluid, and other materials, contributed to the rapidly raging fire.

Eventually the ship was towed to the Union Shipyard near Baltimore where it was scrapped. Much of the scrapped steel was sold to other countries, with Japan as the largest buyer of the largest buyer. A cannery in Snow Hill acquired the ship’s whistle, today exhibited by the Purnell Museum.

The Asbury Park Historical Society website features the Pathe newsreel video of the incident. In 2009, Asbury Park held the 75th Commemoration, dedicating the first monument honoring the victims and the first responders. A film of the commemoration and the tragedy is available online.

Written by Linda Duyer for the Julia A. Purnell Museum



Paden family shares views of Crisfield history


1921 colorized street sceneJoe Paden says Crisfield, Maryland has a story to tell and he and his mother are helping to tell it. Using colorful and creative means,  the Paden family is sharing new ways of looking at this history.  Joe Paden created a local buzz recently when he posted in social media some historic images and stories to go with them, catching the attention of the Delmarva Chronicle. He showed an old aerial photograph of part of Crisfield that was digitally enhanced and colorized by his mother Linda Paden. Joe provided context with old maps and his knowledge as a history enthusiast and writer.

As he noted, “What is really nice about the colorized photos is it makes it a lot easier to see the details. Her attention to detail is amazing, she colored each face, article of clothing, everything in the photos.” And he explained about how the color image was part of an ongoing Paden historical project involving about 50 historic images that Linda similarly colorized. The first part of the project will be to create matted prints of the images. The next part of the project is for Joe to combine other historic information with her images for a book.

Click on the image to read more of the article and view other images in the PDF version.  Visit the website to view the issue in the page viewer.


Seaford: a look back in time


12045607_1684098168527173_4303208865245450747_oThe Delmarva Chronicle likes to showcase interesting internet websites, particularly those which openly share an extraordinary wealth of intriguing photographs and stories. So we are grateful to Jim Bowden for allowing us to showcase some of his inspiring Facebook page, “Seaford Delaware, a look back in time.” Being James E. Bowden, Jr., he is from a long line of family from the area, so the local history is in his blood. He now lives in Georgetown, has lived there about 38 years after having moved from Seaford.  As he puts it, “I still consider Seaford my hometown but I now proudly consider myself from Georgetown!”

His historical involvement is considerable. He is President of the Georgetown Historical Society, Director of Sussex County Return Day, Inc., Life member of the Seaford Historical Society, member of Historic Georgetown, Curator of the Delaware Telephone Museum, and more. And that list does not include his regular family life and work history and other interests. Be sure to check out his Facebook page.  Click on the image to view the PDF version of the article showing additional images.