Not far from Cambridge Harbor lies more than 32,000 acres of ecological wonder. With one-third of Maryland’s tidal wetlands, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) is home to an abundance of flora and fauna that live within its three major habitats: forest, marsh, and shallow water.
Near and around Cambridge Harbor there are various destinations focused on preserving and honoring the legacy of Harriet Tubman. Born in Dorchester County in 1822, Tubman grew up in the chains of slavery before she made her escape north in 1849. Over a dozen times Tubman risked her life to lead enslaved friends and family to freedom as a conductor of the Underground Railroad.
The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway is a self-guided driving tour that begins on our site at the Dorchester County Visitor Center and spans across 223 miles of the Eastern Shore, ending in Philadelphia where she first found freedom. The tour connects 45 sites that tell stories of Tubman’s life, the inhumanity of slavery, and dangerous escapes to freedom through the Chesapeake landscape. Other notable stops in Dorchester County and close to Cambridge Harbor are: Long Wharf and The Harriet Tubman Museum in downtown, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center, and numerous stops along Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge
At the Harriet Tubman Museum in Downtown Cambridge, those following the tour will be able to see the powerful mural that drew national attention in 2019. Painted by local artist, Michael Rosato, Tubman is depicted with a calm, caring expression, and her hand outstretched as she beckons viewers to follow her on the journey to freedom.
This is not the only impacting visual representation of Harriet Tubman in Cambridge, however. Only a five-minute walk from the Visitor Center at Cambridge Harbor is another of Rosato’s masterpieces, Reflections on Pine, a mural that highlights and celebrates Cambridge’s African-American heritage. Tubman’s portrait is featured centered along the expansive wall. In the words of the artist himself, “At the center of the mural is Harriet Tubman, who is a symbol of courage, hard work, perseverance, and loyalty to her family and community.” Around her are leaders such as Gloria Richardson Dandridge who shaped local and national history as a key figure in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and less known everyday citizens that have nonetheless made an impact on the culture and heritage of the area.
As part of the planned new gateway entrance to Cambridge Harbor, the landscape around Reflections on Pine is to be converted into an artwalk for visitors and those following the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway and Chesapeake Mural Trail to enjoy.
To learn more about the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway please visit Where Harriet Tubman’s Journey Began – On Maryland’s Eastern Shore (harriettubmanbyway.org).
The Emerson E. Harrington Bridge, now the old fishing pier next to our site, marked an economic boom for Cambridge in the 1930s, becoming the first constant direct link northward to Annapolis and Baltimore.
With much rejoice from the Cambridge Community, the Cambridge-Maryland Hospital first opened its doors on November 17, 1904. It sat on the shores of the Choptank River adjacent to the Rose Hill community, where our site sits today.