A Revitalized Harbor and the Rise of Cambridge’s Industry
History / June 18, 2022

Cambridge’s industry grew rapidly following the Civil War. A charter was granted to the Cambridge Harbor Internal Navigation and Wharf Company to cover the costs, around $7,500, to move the riverbed with mud machines. After which, the City of Baltimore and even the United States Engineering Corp came to help finish the job. By 1873, new railroads and a newly dredged Harbor were complete.

However, by this point, the population of Cambridge was less than 1,500 people. To support industrial growth, businesses advertised jobs in other cities and regions. Many tradespeople and watermen would travel from Baltimore on a One-day Steamer running twice a week. By 1890, the population of Cambridge reached over 6,000, and Cambridge Creek was the berth for an 800-oyster boat fleet. The shores of the Choptank River and Creek were lined with vessels. It was also home to many support service businesses such as lumberyards, shipyards, blacksmiths, wheelwrights, countless carpenters and sailmakers, storage yards, and canning factories.

The Oyster Fleet operating from Cambridge, Md.

Canning became the industry of note in Cambridge, given access to a bustling port, easily accessible routes to plentiful fishing areas, and plenty of land area to build on. J.W. Crowell moved from New Jersey to start multiple businesses, the largest of them the Cambridge Manufacturing Company. This and other businesses like it would continue the maritime boom through the turn of the century.

Our maritime roots speak to the can-do-grit and fortitude this community has shown over the past century. We bring this same attitude to our efforts at Cambridge Harbor. We’re determined to realize a viable and sustainable development that fosters the live-work-play environment in Cambridge.

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