Denton (Maryland) Photo Collection - PP120

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

ca. 1906

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, July 1999


The town of Denton, located on the east side of the Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore, is the county seat of Caroline County. It was originally named "Edenton" for Sir Robert Eden, proprietary Governor of Maryland in 1769-1774; the "E" was dropped after the Revolution, when Governor Eden left Maryland for England. Denton was established as the county seat of Caroline County in the early 1790s. A courthouse and jail were built ca. 1791, then a causeway was built through the marsh on the east side of the Choptank River with a wharf at the end of the causeway. Soon after that, surveying began for the town proper.

The first bridge over the Choptank River at Denton was built ca. 1811, a one-way drawbridge for which a toll was charged to non-residents of Caroline County. It was replaced in 1875 by an iron bridge, which stood until replaced by a concrete structure in 1913. Steamboats began to come up the Choptank River from Baltimore prior to 1850, and Denton became a port for steamers and freighters. Denton's streets remained unpaved into the early 20th century.

The Law Building, built in 1902, was the site of "The Law Building and Realty Co.", as well as a post office, hardware store, other offices, lodging, and a law library. The Brick Hotel, built in 1775, was first a tavern and inn. In the early 1900s, it was a place for local men to chat about politics, livestock, and crop prices. It was also the summer home for writer Sophie Kerr Underwood, who came to see friends each year, and may have based her book One Thing is Certain and some of her stories on people in Denton. The Peoples' Bank, organized in 1898, operated in the Masonic Building for a few years, then constructed a building from Indiana limestone saved from the 1904 Baltimore Fire. The Christ Protestant Episcopal Church was built in 1873-1874 by contractor Samuel H. Fluharty.

Collection Origin

Gift of Grace Vernon Smith, 1987 (001960).

Scope and Contents

The collection, contained in 1 folder, consists of 1 album with 15 photoprints, and 5 loose photoprints, all from ca. 1906. Made by Leroy Francis Smith, the photographs depict buildings and scenes in and around Denton in Caroline County, Maryland. There are rural streets with horse-drawn carriages, a court house, businesses such as a hardware store and a bank, a prison, bridges and trains, and boats including the steam boats Avalon and Joppa. Copy negatives exist for two of the album photos.


The loose photographs are arranged in 1 folder according to PP catalog number, followed by the album. Duplicate/copy negatives are stored in the Photographic Services Department of the Maryland Historical Society.

Container List

1 Box

Box 1: 1 Folder and 1 Album

Box 1, Folder 1
PP120.1 - Peoples' Bank. 1 item.

PP120.2 - Iron Bridge. 1 item.

PP120.3 - Court House. 1 item.

PP120.4 - Jail. 1 item.

PP120.5 - Causeway. 1 item.

Box 1, Album 1
18 x 26 cm., ca. 1906. 1 item (album with 15 photoprints).

Images captions provided by donor (in order): PP120.6 - Court House;

PP120.7 - Causeway;

PP120.8a - Court House with Christ Protestant Episcopal Church in background;

PP120.8b - High School (now Primary School);

PP120.9 - Law Building;

PP120.10 - Market Street;

PP120.11 - Brick Hotel;

PP120.12 (Z24.1149) - Bay steamers on Choptank River (boats are Avalon and Joppa);

PP120.13 Choptank River with sailboat;

PP120.14 (Z24.1148) - Train on railroad bridge over Choptank River;

PP120.15 -  Railroad bridge over Choptank River;

PP120.16 -  Primary School (now Community Club);

PP120.17 Old Jail; Old Jail being taken down; Christ Protestant Episcopal Church (3 images on one page)

Duplicate/copy negatives:

Z24.1148 - Train on bridge over river.

Z24.1149 - Steam boats Joppa and Avalon. © 2001 Maryland Historical Society - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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