Chesterfield Avenue: River to Railroad Connection

Chesterfield Avenue: River to Railroad Connection (HM1J22)

Location: Centreville, MD 21617 Queen Anne's County
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Country: United States of America
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N 39° 2.874', W 76° 4.096'

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Centreville Heritage Trail

These 20th Century tickets for Centreville, while portraying a sense of the excitement of the circus coming to town do not represent the impact of those first circuses that came by boat up the Corsica, and up this street. The Aron Turner's Circus was truly famous and came to Centreville before the Civil War. James Myers was the clown, renowned throughout the Atlantic States for his ability. From here he went to tour Paris and other European cities as one of the premier clowns of the 19th Century. Turner's son Napoleon was the star of the show with his nationally famous six horse acrobatic riding act. However, it was Abdullah the elephant who first lumbered up the Chesterfield and captured the curiosity of Centreville. This 1851 story from the Centreville Observer announces the coming of the circus, led by the New York Brass Band!
Nothing that came by water up the Corsica River could reach Centreville without traveling along Chesterfield Avenue. Originally the private road to the Chesterfield Plantation home of Elizabeth Nicholson, and the Hopper home at the wharf beyond this mile long road carried coal, fertilizers, building supplies, agricultural goods, and even circus elephants into Centreville and beyond. Chesterfield Avenue was also the route by which agricultural products, wood, and brick were transported from Centreville to points around the Bay. Even as the railroad was established in the 1870's in the center of town, some of the greatest days of life at the wharf and Corsica River commerce were ahead, well into the 1900's.
Best known in its early days as a raceway for horses and even buggies, the above early 1900's postcard titled Speed Way, Centreville, shows that the racing aspect was carried on for more than 100 years. Apple orchards graced the early lands where houses stand now on both sides of the street.
Coal, Coal & Coal
Coal was vital to Centreville. It was needed to fuel the town's utilities by the end of the 19th century. Most homes had a wooden chute available from outside to deliver coal to the basement. The only way to get coal to Centreville was by boat. All of the coal for the town, for private homes, commercial or government use came from one source: the Georges Creek mine in Allegany County. The mine land has been described as near primeval forest prior to the beginning of mining in the 1840's. Coal was brought from there to market in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore by the B&O Railroad and the C&O Canal, purchased for Centreville in Baltimore and transported by schooner to the Centreville Wharf where it would be picked up by customers. The two main purveyors of coal were R.J. Price and Cloudsbury Clash. All of the coal traveled up Chesterfield Avenue.
HM NumberHM1J22
Placed ByMaryland Heritage Area Authority
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, February 7th, 2015 at 1:01pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 407558 N 4322635
Decimal Degrees39.04790000, -76.06826667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 39° 2.874', W 76° 4.096'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds39° 2' 52.44" N, 76° 4' 5.76" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)443, 410
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 300-398 MD-304, Centreville MD 21617, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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