A Place Apart
by Gary D. Crawford The Eastern Shore has never been quite “where it’s at.” Wait, wait ~ let me rephrase that. To everyone (except those of us who live here) the Eastern Shore has always been “over there” ~ a vague land across the water, a distant shoreline, sort of a place apart. Now let’s get some terms straight. I don’t consider the Eastern Shore to be the same as Delmarva. And what is “Delmar va,” any way? It was invented in 1913 when some folks down in Chincoteague chose “Delmarva Heat, Light, and Refrigerating Corporation” as the name of their new company. The term was gradually picked up in the 1920s, and we needed some name to refer to the peninsula, so it has proliferated since. Still, it makes no sense to me for Rehoboth or Ocean City to be considered part of the “Eastern Shore.” After all, they’re on the Atlantic shore. That’s the East Coast, not the Eastern Shore. How often have we tried to explain this simple fact to friends from the Midwest? Look, the Bay has two shores, one of which is the mainland. We over here refer to that as the “western shore” ~ though no one else does ~ and it is never capitalized. Besides, the mainland
isn’t really a place, is it? How can it be? It runs all the way to California! But the Eastern Shore, now that is a place, a realm. It deserves capital letters. It runs from the town of North East to Cape Charles City. It has a history that began even before the Pilgrims arrived up there in cold and rocky Massachusetts.
Ind ia n T imes ~ The Native Americans considered the Eastern Shore a far land, a separate region. Their word for it was “Accomack” ~ meaning “on the other side.” This is not to say that they found it too remote to be useful, for when the English arrived, Delmarva appears to have been populated from top to tip with numerous tribes. Before the arrival of the English i m m ig r a nt s ~ w hol l y u ndo c umented aliens, I might point out ~ the Eastern Shore was populated with Indians of various tribes and groups. They were related to the