Westside Historical Society
Copyright 2016 Westside Historical Society Inc.
P.O. Box 194
Mardela Springs MD 21837
Saving & Celebrating the history and traditions of western Wicomico County since 1985
also called Santo Domingo
More Historical Places of Interest Around Barren Creek Country
The Rosenwald School and the village of San Domingo is significant in many ways. The village was
settled by free blacks in the very early years of the 1800's and at one time was home to more than
300 residents. While slavery existed in this area from the 17th century, it was never as extensive as
in the southern most parts of Somerset County. Here, free black families lived amid white farmers,
both slave owners and not, worked and traded with them, and lived without any hostility. After the
Civil War, these families continued to live here and prosper.
In the early 1900's a new school was built in the community through the efforts of the
Rosenwald Foundation, established by Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears and Roebuck
Company, in order to increase the number of schools in the more disadvantaged parts of
the nation. This school in San Domingo is being restored as an important part of the
community's history, led by the John Quinton Foundation.
One result of the new State Constitution adopted for Maryland after the Civil War was a
redistricting of several parts of the Eastern Shore and the creation of a new county.
The Nanticoke watershed area always had been part of Somerset County, but in 1867
the northern part of both Somerset and Worcester Counties was formed into Wicomico
County, and the northern part of Barren Creek District was carved out to become
Sharptown District. The Sharptown Historical Museum is in the town of Sharptown, a
community that grew from a river crossing settlement in the late 1700's, centered
around what was then Twiford's Wharf. In the early 1800's it had become a small
farming/commercial villageand was the site of the first ferry crossing across the
Nanticoke River north of Vienna. The river was for much of its history the key to its
development. Shipbuilding began there by the time of the Civil War and continued
until World War II. Fishing, canneries, and basket factories producing for the many
farms around the town, led to a thriving town by the late 19th century. While its
bustling economic heyday has passed, its past is recalled in the exhibits in its museum.
On the riverbank is a beautiful small park and boat slip, Cherry Beach, that visitors will
find most appealing.
Just east of Mardela Springs is the growing community of Hebron, a town created by the
coming of the railroad in 1890. Its name was chosen by the President of the railroad
company. Around the station a thriving town grew through the early 1900's. A cannery,
basket factories, flour mill, sewing factories, stores, and bank attracted scores of families.
Churches and a school were built and a volunteer fire company. Today, the fire fighting
history is told in the Hebron Fire Saving Museum, open by appointment. In 1928, local
businessmen were successful in bringing the first airport to the Delmarva Peninsula.
Hebron has one of the last two remaining annual carnivals on the Eastern Shore, both chief
fundraisers for the Hebron and Sharptown Volunteer Fire Companies. The town is
attempting to restore the original train station as a small town museum.
Moving south along the Nanticoke, one crosses Rewastico Creek, into Quantico District and the town
of Quantico. Today's Methodist church, built in the 1800's harkens to its 18th century beginning as a
center of the growth of Methodism locally. A Post Office was first established in the town in 1808. this
village, like so many others in the watershed, once were busy commercial centers for the
surrounding farm country. Quantico also was the site of a grist and saw mill, was home to the area's
only tannery and, in the Civil War era, boasted the world's largest annual goose auction. The
Quantico Hotel was, for decades, home to the County's political party caucuses and terrapin dinners.
the Southern sentiment around the town merited the U.S. government stationing Union troops there
during the Civil War. Wetipquin, on the southern edge of Quantico Districty was home to two of the
oldest homes in the county - Long Green built by James Dashiell and New Nithsdale built by Captain
Levin Gale, both in the 1600's.