Tolchester Photograph Collection - PP128

Collection finding aids of Photograph Collections in the Prints and Photographs Divisionof the Maryland Historical Society Library

ca. 1883-1925

Prints and Photographs Division, Maryland Historical Society
201 W. Monument St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Finding aid created by Katherine Cowan with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, November 1999


With the advent of steamship routes on the Chesapeake Bay, Tolchester Beach in Kent Co., Md. became a favorite destination for Baltimoreans, 27 miles across the bay. After the 1880s, as steamship travel became more popular, improvements were made to the park, and eventually there were hotels, restaurants, and facilities for games, picnics, horse-racing, etc. An amusement park featured a merry-go-round and roller coaster, with games including a shooting range and tenpin bowling alley. Other activities were bathing and crabbing.

The Tolchester Steamboat Company, incorporated in 1878, ran excursion steamships to Tolchester Beach from Pier 15 at Light Street in Baltimore. One of the most popular excursion steamers on the bay was the company's side-wheeler Louise, acquired in 1882. With a capacity of 2,500 passengers, Louise is said to have carried 5 million passengers in 40 years of operation.

At times, the Tolchester Steamboat Company operated routes to Annapolis, and along other Maryland waterways including the Susquehanna, Sassafras, and Little Choptank Rivers. The Susquehanna, a screw steamer built in 1898, ran to Betterton, Port Deposit and Havre de Grace under the direction of Capt. John Kirwan. The Express, purchased in 1925, was a double-end side-wheeler with an extra deck to carry automobiles.

The original Tolchester Steamboat Company closed in 1936, and was taken over by a new company, Tolchester Lines, Inc. In the late 1950s the company was sold and resold, with the Tolchester Beach excursion service and park lands remaining in operation through the early 1960s. The land at Tolchester Beach was finally sold for development in 1962.

Collection Origin

Gift of S. Vannort Chapman, 1984 (001232).

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 2 boxes with 23 folders. There are a total of 75 photoprints (14 larger format photos are stored separately) from ca. 1883-1925 of Tolchester Beach in Kent County, Md. Included are views of the beach, parks, amusements, and hotels at Tolchester, with excursion steamships of the Tolchester Steamboat Company on the Chesapeake Bay including Louise, Susquehanna, and Express. There are views of a flood and damage from a storm at Tolchester Park ca. 1915.

There are also 9 photos of rallies at Mt. Vernon Place in Baltimore, ca. 1917 (some are dated). Several depict a ground-breaking ceremony for the Lafayette monument, attended by French Marshall Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre and Baltimore Mayor James H. Preston.


The photographs are arranged according to PP catalog numbers. Medium-sized photographs are stored separately. Duplicate/copy negatives are stored in the Photographic Services Department of the Maryland Historical Society.

Container List

2 Boxes, and 13 photoprints stored in Medium-sized Photographs area.

Box 1: 11 Folders

Box 1, Folder 1
PP128.5-.9 - Rally in Mount Vernon Place at Washington Monument, Baltimore, ca. 1917. Some photographs made by H.B. Leopold.

Box 1, Folder 2
PP128.10 - Boat-rental building on shore with three men, ca. 1915.

Box 1, Folder 3 (FOLDER NOT FOUND)
PP128.11-.13 - Tolchester Park (amusement park), ca. 1888. Shows merry-go-round. Duplicate/copy negative Z24.1424.

Box 1, Folder 4
PP128.14-.16 - Tolchester Park (amusement park), ca. 1909. Shows roller coaster.

Box 1, Folder 5
PP128.19 - Tolchester Park, bathing beach, ca. 1883. Duplicate/copy negative Z24.2114.

PP128.20 - Railroad bridge at Tolchester, ca. 1883. Duplicate/copy negative Z24.2115.

Box 1, Folder 6
PP128.21-.22 - Tolchester Park, dock, ca. 1883.

Box 1, Folder 7
PP128.23-.25 - Tolchester Park, dock, ca. 1915.

Box 1, Folder 8
PP128.26-.28 - Flood at Tolchester Park, ca. 1915.

Box 1, Folder 9
PP128.29-.31 - Tolchester Park, race track and grandstand, ca. 1883.

Box 1, Folder 10
PP128.32-.34 - Tolchester Hotel and Lunch Room, ca. 1883.

Box 1, Folder 11
PP128.35-.40 - Tolchester Hotel, ca. 1905.

Box 2: 12 Folders

Box 2, Folder 1
PP128.41-.42 - Tolchester Lake, ca. 1883.

Box 2, Folder 2
PP128.43-.45 - Tolchester Lake, ca. 1905.

Box 2, Folder 3
PP128.46-.48 - Tolchester Park, showing gazebo, ca. 1905.

Box 2, Folder 4
PP128.49-.50 - Tolchester Park, southern entrance, ca. 1910.

PP128.51 - Tolchester Park, picnic ground, ca. 1910. Duplicate/copy negative Z24.1650.

Box 2, Folder 5
PP128.56 - Tolchester Park, posed group portrait of people on horseback, ca. 1888.

PP128.57-.58 - Tolchester Park, unidentified road, ca. 1910.

Box 2, Folder 6
PP128.59-.63 - Tolchester Park, damage following storm, ca. 1915. Shows buildings, docks, trees, and amusement park structures.

Box 2, Folder 7
PP128.64-.65 - Sailboat Hudson, partially sunken, ca. 1910. Also shows steamship Kitty Knight.

Box 2, Folder 8
PP128.66-.67 - Steamship Louise, ca. 1883.

Box 2, Folder 9
PP128.68 - Steamship Louise, ca. 1915.

Box 2, Folder 10
PP128.70 - Crew of steamship Susquehanna, with small photo of ship attached, ca. 1900.

PP128.70a - Steamship Tolchester, n.d.

Box 2, Folder 11
PP128.72 - Unidentified Italian vessel, ca. 1905.

Box 2, Folder 12
PP128.73 - Tolchester Park amusements, shooting gallery and tenpin bowling, ca. 1883.

Medium-sized photographs (in flat file)

PP128.1 - Ground breaking for Lafayette memorial, Mt. Vernon Place, Baltimore, 1917. Shows Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre (Marshall of France), M. Rene Raphael Viviani, Marquis de Chambrun, and James H. Preston (Mayor of Baltimore). Photos by H.B. Leopold.

PP128.2 - Ground breaking for Lafayette memorial, Mt. Vernon Place, Baltimore, 1917. Shows Joseph Jacques Cesaire Joffre (Marshall of France), M. Rene Raphael Viviani, Marquis de Chambrun, and James H. Preston (Mayor of Baltimore). Photo by C.M. Meyers.

PP128.3-.4 - Rally at Mt. Vernon Place, Baltimore, ca. 1917. Photos by Hughes Co. Duplicate/copy negative Z24.1080 (PP128.3).

PP128.17 - Tolchester Park, entrance archway, ca. 1910. Duplicate/copy negative Z24.1079.

PP128.18 - Tolchester Park, pavillion, ca. 1910.

PP128.52-.53 - Tolchester Park and Tolchester Hotel, ca. 1910.

PP128.54 - Tolchester Park, showing archway, ca. 1910.

PP128.55 - Tolchester Park, pavillion, ca. 1910.

PP128.69 - Steamship Louise, ca. 1925.

PP128.71 - Steamship Express, ca. 1925. 2 different views.

PP128.74 - Tolchester Company Excursions, quarters at Light Street, Pier 16, Baltimore, ca. 1925. © 2001 Maryland Historical Society - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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