Bainbridge Day returns to Port Deposit Sept. 17
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.
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.