Wicomico County MDGenWeb

White Haven

This article is excerpted from John E. Jacob, Jr.'s 1981 book, Salisbury and Wicomico County: A Pictorial History. The book is currently out of print, and we are grateful to the author for giving permission to place excerpts from this wonderful book online.

White Haven Hotel

The town of White Haven was established in 1708 and named after Whitehaven in England. It became a haven for the White family, a fact which accounts for the difference in spelling. From the beginning White Haven was a maritime town. The ferry brought business to it and passengers for the packet boats to Baltimore and Annapolis that stopped here. After the arrival of the steamboat White Haven frequently was the end of the line because of the shallow unmarked channel of the Wicomico. Not until the 1870s did it become only an intermediate stop on the way up river.

White Haven's shipyards were busy, and so were the stores and shops that supplied the shipyards and the men who worked in them. Until the last years of the nineteenth century a prosperous farming community along the Wicomico River brought additional business to town, but the gradual rise of the water level in the bay and the breakdown of the system of dikes that had protected much of the farmland brought deterioration of the land to marsh and caused many families to abandon their farms and homes and move away.

World War I was a boom time for White Haven. Its shipyard was crying for workers and the town had a roller rink, a bowling alley, a soda parlor, and a dance hall to keep them from straying away. In 1918 a bank was chartered, just in time to fail when the Armistice brought the boom to an end.

In the early 1920s rum running provided excitement if not much business, but the capture of the Margaret Travers in 1921 made rum running less open if it did not stop the operation.

Today White Haven is a village of about fifty people interested in historic preservation.

The hotel at White Haven is shown (above right) after the days of its glory which ended with the close of World War I. This Victorian hostelry is now the object of restoration efforts. The problem: to restore it to be used as a home with an expenditure of approximately $50,000 or an an inn at a cost of $250,000. Either way, the residents of this village are determined that White Haven shall rise again. Courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Duncan Augustine.

Editor's Notes: Here are some interesting facts about White Haven:

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Sunday, 13-Aug-2023 09:51:55 EDT