Pictures from the Past

The pictures presented here are to remind the older generation of the way things were when they were young and the newer generations of the way their parents and grandparents experienced the ways of their times. Memories are made of this. Many of the items pictured here came from old post cards and were the signs of their times then. These pictures depict a way of life here on the Eastern Shore that is now mostly long gone.

Visitors to the Eastern Shore mailed these post cards to their friends and relatives all over the U. S. This collection of old post cards were hard to compile because we were at the origin of where the cards were mailed from and not the destination. Therefore the post cards were widely scattered over the entire country.

Other pictures came from the author's collection. Some of the originals are seventy five or more years old.

Enjoy the pictures. Maybe they will invoke a few memories or bring up some questions and some more pleasant conversations.

To see a larger version of these pictures, click on them and then use your browser's "BACK" function to return to here.

The Accomack County Court House is in the county seat town of Accomac and centrally located between the northern border of the county at Maryland and the southern border with Northampton. Nearby, in the County Clerk's office, are kept the official records going back to the original founding of the county in the mid 1600's. Accomack County Courthouse
Onancock was originally was known as Port Scarburgh and has survived since its founding in the 1600's. It is located on the central west side of Accomack County on a large navigable creek which has served the town well to maintain its reputation for being a center of commerce despite it lack of rail access. Pictured here is the business section of Onancock as it appeared many years ago Onancock Main Street
Onancock is another one of the larger towns on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Because of its location next to a large creek, its several business and residential areas are built on both sides of that creek and its tributaries. One of those waterways is spanned by this wooden bridge. The coming of larger motorized traffic has caused this bridge to loose some of its utilitarian value but none of its scenic beauty. Onancock bridge
Dunne Avenue is the business section of Parksley. It intersects with Bennett Street on the north end and is just two blocks long. Nowadays in those two blocks are two banks, one clothing store, a drug store, the town firehouse, a variety store and many other small businesses. Dunne Avenue faces the railroad square which contains the Railway Museum, an old railroad station and the overflow parking for the businesses across the street. This is the way it was many years ago. It has not changed over time by very much. Parksley Dunne Avenue (looking north)
Dunne Avenue is shown here as it existed many years ago. Notice the old vehicles, trees and building canopies none of which exist today. In that group of businesses were three grocery stores, a barber shop, a department store, some clothing stores and many others. Parksley was founded in the 1880's and served as a centralized terminus for rail shipping for many years. This scene covers the same area as above but from a different view point Parksley Dunne Ave. (looking south)
Bennett Street is the main east/west thoroughfare through the town of Parksley. You can enter Parksley from the east on Bennett Street and go out the west side. It was named after one of the founding fathers who were instrumental in the planning and platting of Parksley when the railroad went through in the 1880's. Bennett Ave.
The Railroad Station at Parksley was its center of commerce for many years after the 1880's. Agricultural products were the main outgoing products. Incoming freight included fertilizer, coal, items for the many stores and businesses and  other  home necessities. And of course there was considerable passenger and mail business for all the surrounding  areas and villages. Multiple  northbound and southbound trains stopped here and made Parksley one of the main hubs of commerce. Parksley Railroad Station
The Matthews Building at Parkley is a sign of the times gone by. At various times it has been the site of a hardware store, a potato storage facility and a garment factory. All are items of the past now. It is there now just waiting for its next enteprenuer to take advantage of its ample parking, capable labor supply and its atmosphere of being near the center of commerce in this fine old southern town. Matthews Bldg
The Parksley Hotel was another place where the traveling public was always welcome. It was in easy walking distance to the railroad station, the business district, churches, post office and other sites. In years gone by traveling salesmen made it one of their stopovers on a trip through the Eastern Shore. Parksley Hotel
People who were traveling through Eastville or those whose sales trip took them to see local businesses often spent the night at the Eastville Inn. Its clean rooms and convenience to the highway and to the local county court complex made it one of the favorite places to stop for a while Eastville Inn
Whispering Pines is probably fondly remembered as the traveler's landmark. It became known as a favorite place for the motoring public to spend a restful night and to enjoy the local cuisine. It reached its heyday in the mid twentieth century when travel became less expensive and more accessible with each passing year. But decline set in with the advent of high speed travel and the introduction of the interstate highway system. Whispering  Pines
White potatoes were one of the primary crops grown in this area. During harvest time row upon row of barrels of this staple of the American diet could be seen in many places. Nowadays the mechanization of potato farming and harvesting has made this another of the vanishing sights. Barrells of Potatoes
Steamships were one of the early primary methods of transporting goods and people. The Eastern Shore was surrounded by water on three sides. A fleet of them moved up, down and across the Chesapeake Bay. The Pennsylvania was one and it was capable of carrying a large load of maritime commerce. It is shown here as it came into one of the local harbors. Steamer Pennsylvania
Two steamers which were in the harbor of Cape Charles at the same time are shown here. They were picking up freight and/or passengers for other ports of call on the Chesapeake Bay. They were not long-voyage ocean-going freight carriers but rather were used for short hauls of a few hundred miles or short trip duration of a few days to its destination and back. Two Steamers
Onancock freight dock was one of the places from which local farmers shipped barrels of potatoes to the markets at Baltimore and other receiving points on the Chesapeake Bay. During harvest time the steamers called regularly to take on a cargo of produce to transport it to eager markets in the big cities on the Bay. From there it went to many inland places. Onancock Steamer Dock
Chincoteague used to be an island off the east coast of the Eastern Shore. It has been since connected through a causeway and a series of bridges which now make the island accessible by motorized vehicle. This has helped to make it a tourist attraction as well as a boon for commerce, a storm evacuation route and a way for residents to come and go as their needs dictate. It also allows boat to pass though for marine traffic in the channel. Chincoteague Bridge
The Hotel Russell on Chincoteague was the prominent place for tourists, salesmen and business people to stay while there. It featured fine dining and a commanding view of the local waterways. People who stayed there always came away with a favorable impression and were anxious to come back again should the occasion arise. Hotel Russell
The main street of Chincoteague was like so many other main streets of Eastern Shore of Virginia towns. It was not paved in early days. It was wet and muddy after a big rainstorm went by. There were no bridges then so the only way of moving about was on foot or by animal drawn carts or carriages. The needs of the residents arrived on Chincoteague by boat. Chincoteague Main Street
The ponies of Chincoteague are world famous, thanks partially to a series of books by Marguerite Henry, a movie based on one of those books and the fact that some of them are auctioned off every year to help support the local volunteer fire company. The pony auction, the resulting publicity and the Chincoteague way of life draw many tourists to help the local economy and the fire department. Pony Swim
The Chincoteague ponies live most of the year on Assateague Island. Once a year they are rounded up, swam across the channel separating the two islands and herded through the streets to the carnival grounds where some colts are auctioned off to the public. The main herd reverse that process and live out a normal life until they are again rounded up a year later. Ponies through the streets
The Country Club of Accomac was where many friendly business deals were cooked up, where the sport of the day was less important than the camaraderie offered and the friendships made here lasted for a lifetime. Golf was only an incidental here. Accomack Country Club
Cape Charles was a center of business for many years. Notice that this was another place where paving of roads had not happened yet. The cars were older and horse drawn equipment was still in existence. The scene is basically the same area but many years prior to the ones below. Even the roads were unpaved in this view. Cape Charles Business District
These three images (the ones prior, this one and the next one) are all of the same basic area. Notice the changes that took place as Cape Charles evolved As the decades passed and the times changed, there was some recognizable changes. The automobiles were modernized and the stores changed somewhat Cape Charles Business Area
Cape Charles was the center of business for the lower end of the Eastern Shore. Business was bustling when this picture was taken. Please notice that nearly all of the parking places were occupied by cars. Cape Charles was served by rail, road and water.  And this was a good day for road traffic. Cape Charles Business District
The Cape Charles residential areas were quiet places with homes on tree lined streets. The more affluent citizenry built large Victorian houses where they could raise their children away from the hustle and bustle of the daily commerce. A stroll down the sidewalk through the neighborhood on a sunny day was a welcome break from the daily grind. Cape Charles Residential Area
The local wheelwright's shop or the smithy was one of the places where the local residents gathered on good days to discuss the news of the day or to express their opinions on a variety of subjects. This one at Cashville was no exception. Cashville Wheelwright Shop
The Nassawadox Hospital was located centrally in the Eastern Shore of Virginia area so it could serve both Accomack and Northampton counties with their medical needs. This building was torn down after a larger more modern facility was constructed nearby. The Old Hospital
The fishing village of Quinby had one thing missing in this picture from days gone by. The modern day picture would have included outboard motors on some of these boats. But other than that this picture shows things substantially the way they are today. The people who make part or all of their living and the sportsman still come to the Quinby harbor. Docks at Quinby
The Wachapreague Hotel catered to sportsman who came to this small seaside village which was famous for its excellent fishing. During fishing season people came from far and wide to try the local waters. The hotel was destroyed by fire and was never reconstructed. Only memories and the good fishing are left. Wachapreague Hotel
The fishing in the waters surrounding the Eastern Shore is the envy of many a coastal town or village. The reputation for good catches and broken records still holds up after these many years. An average day on the water produced catches such as is pictured here. The local sports guides could and did schedule fishing trips frequently which produced results such as this for his guests and customers. The residents enjoyed this all the time. A good day