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