The house Salem Avery built for his family in 1860 still exists today, but you have to look closely to see it.
The original home was modest and had only one room with a loft. Imagine the building in front of you reduced to just the colored section above without the roof extension on the first floor.
What do you think it was like to live there as part of the Avery family, with two parents and seven children.
The house was eventually expanded to two rooms on each floor. The house expansion connected a small detached kitchen on the east side of the house. The house would stay this way until 1927. Although Salem Avery passed away in 1887, his family worked the water and lived here until 1921.
Can you spot the vertical line in the siding that marks the expansion, which joined the original house with the small, formerly detached, kitchen?
In this view of the house from the waterside lawn in 1925, the expansion and small kitchen (left) is clearly visible. Notice the house appears to be up on blocks. The house needed to be moved inland because of the rising river water and shore erosion.
A group of Jewish Masons from Washington, D.C. bought this property in 1923 as a vacation and fishing camp for their families.
other minorities at the time, Jewish American groups were denied access to private beaches and clubs. The National Masonic Fishing and Country Club was formed as a way for these families to enjoy summer pastimes and shore life.
In 1927, the small kitchen was demolished and replaced with a large assembly hall with eight rooms on the second floor. Outdoor bathrooms and showers, cold running water, and communal kitchen and dorms were a rustic contrast to their suburban D.C. homes. The club house addition created the "Big Room" on the first floor, with plenty of space for leisure time with family and friends.
In 1968, the club house was named "Our Place" and in 1973, indoor plumbing was finally installed. But new highways and the Bay Bridge made more remote places like Ocean City easier weekend destinations.
Families started choosing other vacation spots and visits to Our Place declined. The remaining member families enjoyed it as a shared vacation home until 1989, when it was sold.
The Shady Side Rural Heritage Society began preserving the property in 1989, adding the boat shed and rain gardens, creating today's Captain Avery Museum.
1814: During the War of 1812, British troops enter Washington D.C. and set fire to the White House
1831: Salem Avery is born in Blue Point, NY
1857: Salem Avery marries
1863: President Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address
1880s: Chesapeake Bay oyster production peaks at 14-20 million bushels harvested per year
1887: Salem Avery dies, leaves the house to Lucretia
1921: Salem's youngest son, Andrew Nelson Avery, sells the family homestead.
1933: Franklin Delano Roosevelt is inaugurated, Prohibition ends
1937: The deadrise Edna Florence is built
1961: I-495 Beltway opens in Washington D.C.
1973: First indoor bathrooms installed in Our Place
1992: Property reopens as Captain Salem Avery House and Museum