Kent Is­land Her­itage So­ci­ety to honor Sen. James E. Kir­wan

Record Observer - - News - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

CH­ESTER — The Kent Is­land Her­itage So­ci­ety will cel­e­brate “James E. Kir­wan Appreciation Day” on Sun­day, Sept. 17, dur­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s an­nual pic­nic at the Kr­wan House and Musuem in Ch­ester.

At ex­actly 3:15 p.m., the Her­itage So­ci­ety will high­light the im­por­tance of Sen. Kir­wan’s ef­forts to save Kent Is­land from be­com­ing a mil­i­tary prov­ing ground, ac­cord­ing to Her­itage So­ci­ety President Jack Brod­er­ick.

“Kent Is­land in 1917, the first year our na­tion was in­volved di­rectly in World War I, was con­sid­ered an ideal place for mu­ni­tions de­vel­op­ment. Se­na­tor Kir­wan led some 500 lo­cal cit­i­zens to go to Con­gress in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. to per­son­ally lobby against this place­ment hap­pen­ing on Kent Is­land. Among other things they men­tioned, they told the Con­gress­men that Kent Is­land was the orig­i­nal set­tle­ment of colonists to Mary­land, and was very much a pro­duc­tive farm­ing and seafood pro­duc­ing com­mu­nity that should not be de­stroyed,” Brod­er­ick said.

The ef­fort by Kir­wan and lo­cal cit­i­zens took two and a half months.

“Kir­wan earned the nick­name, ‘the grand old man of Kent Is­land’ for his ser­vice,” Brod­er­ick added.

Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sioner Mark An­der­son will read a procla­ma­tion signed by all the com­mis­sion­ers, of­fi­cially mark­ing Sept. 17, as “James E. Kir­wan Appreciation Day.”

The time, 3:15 p.m., was the ex­act time on Sept. 17, 1917, that Con­gress an­nounced Kent Is­land would not be pur­chased by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment for mu­ni­tions use. The procla­ma­tion and cer­e­mony will be de­liv­ered at that time to honor what Kir­wan and all who were in­volved 100 years ago did to save Kent Is­land.

Dur­ing the cer­e­mony, a small can­non will be fired, and then the ring­ing of a bell.

Mem­bers of Shore United Bank (formerly Cen­tre­ville Na­tional Bank) will also be present. Kir­wan was a mem­ber of the Cen­tre­ville board for 40 years, and of­ten bragged about “never miss­ing a board meet­ing in all his years served,” Brod­er­ick said.

“If Se­na­tor Kir­wan had not saved Kent Is­land from be­com­ing a mu­ni­tions cen­ter for the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, like Aberdeen turned out to be, the en­tire Shore would be very dif­fer­ent now!”

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

Built more than 100-years ago, the James E. Kir­wan home and store al­low vis­i­tors to step back in time to an era when home­own­ers lived in their busi­ness. Lo­cated along Do­min­ion Road in Ch­ester.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

A com­mem­o­ra­tive float for the cen­ten­nial of Kent Is­land win­ning its bat­tle against the War De­part­ment in 1917 was cre­ated by the Kent Is­land Her­itage So­ci­ety for the Kent Is­land Day pa­rade in down­town Stevensville on May 20.

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