Sunday Star

Lowman’s Letters: Chester River Bridge, the ‘Gateway to Chestertow­n’

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Did you know in the early 1800s, if you wanted a direct line over the Chester River into Chestertow­n from the Queen Anne’s side of the Shore you had to take a toll ferry, which was slow and often perilous. By the 1820s a wooden pile bridge was constructe­d, which had a bridge keeper whose job included collecting tolls directing boats coming by, and replacing wood planks — a necessity that occurred often. He lived at the Bridge Keepers House that literally was at the end of the bridge. The job was hard, and dangerous. The bridge was replaced with iron in the mid 1800s with a crank device, and the bridge became a target for boaters, who would inadverten­tly collide with the structure. One such accident in particular became immortaliz­ed in Gilbert Byron’s book “The Lord’s Oysters”. In the early 1900s the bridge no longer required a toll and became a vital connection for many Shoremen. Today’s version of the bridge is over 90 years old, beautiful and still with some of its initial wood reinforcem­ents underneath.

Excerpted from Love Letters To the Shore’s author Troy Lowman, a story documentar­y featuring testimonia­ls and interviews of people from the Eastern Shore of Maryland. From people returning to the shore after having left or people living presently on the shore, all describe what the Eastern Shore means to them, and as they hit the foot of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, what it feels like to be coming home.Available for streaming online or visit Lowman’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ bullittpoi­ntfilms.

 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO ?? The Chester River Bridge Keeper’s house circa 1902.
CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO The Chester River Bridge Keeper’s house circa 1902.
 ?? CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO ?? The Chester River Bridge as it stands today.
CONTRIBUTE­D PHOTO The Chester River Bridge as it stands today.

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