Bain­bridge Day re­turns to Port De­posit Sept. 17

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JANE BELLMYER jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

PORT DE­POSIT — In its hey­day, Bain­bridge Naval Train­ing Cen­ter was the largest town in Ce­cil County with some 50,000 res­i­dents.

This Sun­day, the pub­lic is in­vited to see what is left of the once grand col­lec­tion of build­ings and its his­tory span­ning World War II un­til 1974. Bain­bridge Day is about re­mem­ber­ing the for­mer mil­i­tary base and all who passed through its gates.

Most of the events — in­clud­ing a con­cert by the United States Navy Band Quar­tet — are free, ac­cord­ing to Wayne Hill, pres­i­dent of the board of di­rec­tors of the USNTC Bain­bridge Mu­seum.

“We’ll start at noon with open­ing cer­e­monies on the steps of the mu­seum at 6 S. Main St.,” Hill said.

Del­e­gate Kevin Horn­berger (RCe­cil) will be master of cer­e­monies. Then, be­gin­ning at 12:30 p.m. at the VFW Jerry Skri­vanek Post No. 8185, Paul Flem­ing, one of the found­ing mem­bers of the mu­seum, will present a his­tory of the prop­erty.

“He’s ex­tremely well-versed in Bain­bridge his­tory,” Hill said.

At Port De­posit Pres­by­te­rian Church, the quar­tet will give a free con­cert be­gin­ning at 1:30 p.m.

“That’s what’s been miss­ing all along,” Hill said of an ac­tual con­nec­tion with to­day’s U.S. Navy. Ul­ti­mately, Hill would like to get the USS Bain­bridge, a 2004 stealth mis­sile car­rier, to dock in Port De­posit at a fu­ture Bain­bridge Day.

“Plebes from the Naval Academy used to come to Ch­e­sa­peake City,” he re­called. “There’s no rea­son why they can’t come to Port De­posit.”

Hill said Bain­bridge’s claim to fame in­cludes its dis­tinc­tion as one of the largest naval bases in U.S. his­tory. Port De­posit of­fi­cially an­nexed its 1,200 acres into town lim- its in 1999.

Tours of the rem­nants of the base will be of­fered at 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. from what used to be Gate 14 off Jacob Tome High­way near Burlin Road.

For $5 per per­son or $10 for a fam­ily, the guided tour will at­tempt to ex­plain what used to be a thriv­ing city with its own hos­pi­tal, store, bowl­ing al­ley, movie theater, am­phithe­ater and more.

“There’s vir­tu­ally noth­ing stand­ing now,” Hill said.

Grove Miller and Pete DiVir­gilio will be tour guides.

“Grove did two stints at Bain­bridge. Pete was a fire­fighter on the base,” Hill ex­plained.

While the fo­cus is Bain­bridge, Hill said other venues will also be open to vis­i­tors in­clud­ing the Tome Gas House and Vis­i­tor’s Cen­ter, The Paw Paw House, Tome Memo­rial United Methodist Church, and of course, the Bain­bridge Mu­seum.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Com­ing by land, this PT boat will re­turn to Port De­posit Sun­day and be on dis­play as part of Bain­bridge Day from noon un­til 4 p.m.

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