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.
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.
Near and around Cambridge Harbor there are various destinations focused on preserving and honoring the legacy of Harriet Tubman. Born into the chains of slavery in Dorchester County in 1822, 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.