Dorchester celebrates 350th anniversary

Dorchester Banner/Dave Ryan
County Council Member Libby Nagel District 5) removed a letter from the just-opened time capsule, sealed Oct. 10, 1969. It was addressed to, “Miss Rescue Fire Company, 2019.”

CAMBRIDGE — Hundreds of citizens joined local and state officials for a celebration Sunday in honor of Dorchester County’s 350th anniversary. Named for the Earl of Dorset, the area was one of the Maryland colony’s original counties and was established in 1669.

“Today is a day to reflect on how far we have come,” County Council Member Libby Nagel (District 5) said. Speaking from the steps of Circuit Court, Ms. Nagel thanked the audience for attending, and introduced a series of speakers.

State Senator Addie Eckardt (R-37) remembered how there had been careful considerations 50 years ago on what to put in a time capsule that was to be opened later in the ceremony.

State Delegates Chris Adams and Johnny Mautz (both R-37B) followed, and congratulated local residents on the milestone.
Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford made the trip from Annapolis to join the festivities. He said it was especially appropriate that the county, home of Harriet Tubman, was marking its birthday in the same month that Gov. Larry Hogan has declared “International Underground Railroad Month.”

He told the crowd that they can rest assured that they have friends in the state capital, and that rural interests including economic development, will not be neglected.

“Gov. Hogan and I are aware that there are still challenges we face here,” he said. “We’re not disregarding any portion of the state.”

The event took place in conjunction with Dorchester Showcase, the annual art festival on High Street. Also on the court house lawn was a “Heritage Village,” with displays and re-enactors portraying the periods of Dorchester’s history.
Phil Feldman was also on hand, to perform once again his original composition “The Ballad of Dorchester.” Mr. Feldman wrote the song when he was 15 years old for the county’s 300th anniversary, and received enthusiastic applause for his contribution to the day.

The time capsule was also opened, though not without a surprise. After county workers sawed through the metal box’s top and removed it, they found another steel panel underneath.

On it was written, “Welded by Harry Hubbard Jones, 10/10/69, at 3:00 o’clock.” Items from the capsule will be removed, studied and finally displayed at the Visitor Center.

Members of the 350th Anniversary Steering Committee were Chair Midge Ingersoll, Chief Donna Abbott, Tom Bradshaw, Caroline Cline, Michael Detmer, Amanda Fenstermaker, Julie Gilberto-Brady, Herve’ Hamon, Linda Henry, Phil Hesser, Lou Hyman, Amanda Kidd, Matt Meredith, Greg Meekins, Ray Paterra, Ann Phillips, Barb Seese, Andrea Vernot and Monique Ward.

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