Call for Holland Island Relics & Personal Memories

Eastern Shore historians are collecting artifacts and stories about a long-abandoned island in the Bay.

 Holland Island's last remaining house, before it fell into the Bay in 2010

Holland Island's last remaining house, before it fell into the Bay in 2010

Holland Island in Dorchester County, Maryland, was once home to 360 residents. It had the largest population on any Bay island. Around 1910, it held 70 houses and buildings, including its own post office. Most people made their living off the water, and the island's population peaked along with the seafood boom at the turn of the century. But  the islanders had also cleared forests on the island to create farm fields—unknowingly making the island incredibly susceptible to the impacts of erosion. In just ten years' time, large portions of the island had washed away—and every resident had relocated to the mainland. 

One last house, captured in iconic photos, remained on Holland Island until it finally fell into the Chesapeake in 2010.

Now, the Dorchester County Historical Society is planning an event to celebrate the history and people that once lived on the island. But first, they want to collect all the memories, stories, and items from the time the island was settled in the 1600s until it was abandoned in 1918.

The Historical Society will host a heritage meeting for people with personal connections or artifacts from Holland Island, on Friday, February 16 at 1:00 p.m. It will be at the Heritage Museum and Gardens of Dorchester in Cambridge.

The Historical Society says, "Much has been left to the imagination in terms of the lives that were made, the strength of the community and other personal histories.  Family names include Parks, Todd, Powley, Bennett, Griffin, Price, Bradshaw, Duncan, Kelly, Walter, Jenkins, Wilson, Dize, Evans, Fisher and McCoy among others."    

They're asking anyone with photos, papers, artifacts, or stories to come to the meeting or to contact the Historical Society at 410.228.7953.

holland island landscape.JPG
Megan Viviano