The waterfront was fun and exciting for all ages.
The last quarter of the 19th century has been called Maryland's Golden Age. It was a time of expanding educational and economic opportunities and during those years, the waterfront provided the setting for burst of fun and frolic: showboats, minstrel shows, swimming, picnics, and boating parties. Steamboats from Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia brought tourists for the afternoon or the week.
The James Adams Floating Theatre first docked at Leonardtown Wharf on Sunday, January 27, 1915. They offered six performances, Monday through Saturday, with a different production each day. For more than a generation, even when competition from moving picture shows and other entertainments began to draw audiences away from traditional showboats, Leonardtown provided sellout crowds. In 1925, Edna Ferber spend four days aboard the Floating Theatre researching her novel Showboat. Joe Gunn and Aggie Scott, who served as cooks, crew and cast members, were transformed into Joe and Queenie in Ferber's novel.
Loker, Alec; A Most Convenient Place, Leonardtown, Maryland, 1650-1950
; Commissioners and Solitude Press, 2001; Living in St. Mary's County
; Maryland Department of Education copyright 1954, 1959, 1962, 1967.
With Special Assistance from Robert Hurry of Calvert Marine Museum, Silas Hurry of Historic St. Mary's City and Christopher Kintzel of the Maryland State Archives.