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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Leonardtown in St. Mary's County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Fun on the Waterfront

Leonardtown Wharf

 
 
Fun on the Waterfront Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
1. Fun on the Waterfront Marker
Inscription.
The waterfront was fun and exciting for all ages.

The last quarter of the 19th century has been called Maryland's Golden Age. It was a time of expanding educational and economic opportunities and during those years, the waterfront provided the setting for burst of fun and frolic: showboats, minstrel shows, swimming, picnics, and boating parties. Steamboats from Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia brought tourists for the afternoon or the week.

The James Adams Floating Theatre first docked at Leonardtown Wharf on Sunday, January 27, 1915. They offered six performances, Monday through Saturday, with a different production each day. For more than a generation, even when competition from moving picture shows and other entertainments began to draw audiences away from traditional showboats, Leonardtown provided sellout crowds. In 1925, Edna Ferber spend four days aboard the Floating Theatre researching her novel Showboat. Joe Gunn and Aggie Scott, who served as cooks, crew and cast members, were transformed into Joe and Queenie in Ferber's novel.

Sources:
Loker, Alec; A Most Convenient Place, Leonardtown, Maryland, 1650-1950; Commissioners and Solitude Press, 2001;
Living in St. Mary's County; Maryland Department of Education copyright 1954, 1959, 1962, 1967.
With
Fun on the Waterfront Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
2. Fun on the Waterfront Marker
Special Assistance from Robert Hurry of Calvert Marine Museum, Silas Hurry of Historic St. Mary's City and Christopher Kintzel of the Maryland State Archives.

 
Location. 38° 17.156′ N, 76° 38.282′ W. Marker is in Leonardtown, Maryland, in St. Mary's County. Marker can be reached from Washington Street. Touch for map. Marker is in Leonardtown Wharf Park at the south end to Washington Street (MD 326) along the waterfront walkway. Marker is in this post office area: Leonardtown MD 20650, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Trade on the Waterfront (here, next to this marker); Steamboats at the Waterfront (within shouting distance of this marker); Invasion! (within shouting distance of this marker); War Comes to Breton Bay (approx. mile away); Tudor Hall (approx. mile away); This Cannon (approx. 0.3 miles away); Leonardtown (approx. 0.3 miles away); A Town Spared (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Leonardtown.
 
Also see . . .  "Showboat" Cook Still Aboard Boat. Joe Gunn is discussed in the Baltimore African American, December 13, 1930. (Submitted on January 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.) 
 
Categories. EntertainmentWaterways & Vessels
 
Camalier Family picnic on the Wharf about 1900 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
3. Camalier Family picnic on the Wharf about 1900
Tugboats Trouper & Elk with the Floating Theatre at Leonardtown Wharf, 1930 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
4. Tugboats Trouper & Elk with the Floating Theatre at Leonardtown Wharf, 1930
Joe Gunn image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
5. Joe Gunn
Joe Gunn, shown here late in life, was the model for Edna Ferber's fictional character in her novel Showboat.
The Frog Town Gang image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
6. The Frog Town Gang
The Self-styled Frog Town Gang about 1922. Front, Aleck Locker, with gang mascot; rear, left to right, Ford Loker (in white), Foley Drury (plunging neckline), Alfred "Tick" Gough, Duncan Harris (tall), Steve King, Robert Loker (arms folded); far rear, Reed King.
Showboat image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, January 5, 2013
7. Showboat
The James Adams Floating Theatre, shown here at Leonardtown Wharf about 1920, continued to call every summer until 1940.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 321 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on January 19, 2013, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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