The Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum
The world is changing faster than any of us can absorb. Now, more than ever, I believe that museums have a critical role to play in forging bonds that can inform, stimulate discussion, and bring us together as a society. The Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum tells the origin story of the Town of Chesapeake Beach at a similar time of upheaval and turmoil in America. Its story is one of great dreams, large ambitions, energy and determination—huge risks and spectacular failures. It is a quintessentially American story.
Jeffrey Murray, Curator
The Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum connects Chesapeake Beach with its history by collecting, preserving, and sharing with our community the story of the railway, the resort, and the vision that launched this place.
We believe in:
– Preserving and sharing our local history;
– Properly maintaining our collection and making it accessible to others;
– Connecting our community to this history by making the stories relevant and telling them with integrity;
– Expanding our research of the railway, the resort, and the origins of the town in order to build our collection and scholarship;
– Welcoming staff, volunteers, and visitors with respect and acceptance;
– Investing in and building partnerships with other institutions that share our goals.
All Aboard for Chesapeake Beach!
In the late 1800s, a group of Colorado railroad men shared a dream to build a world-class seaside destination on the shores of the Chesapeake and a railroad to connect it to Washington, D.C. The official opening ceremony for the railway took place on June 9, 1900 and the last train departed on April 15, 1935. The amusements continued until the 1970s, evolving with the times. During its heyday, the Chesapeake Beach Resort attracted tens of thousands of people. However, changing tastes, wars, damaging storms, the great depression—experiences that are familiar to us today – all conspired to bring this enterprise to a close. The town created by this grand endeavor lives on, and the traces of its beginnings are evident everywhere. The Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum (CBRM) tells the story of these men, the dream they built, and the town that continues to redefine the story.
Thanks to the Donovan Family, the original 1898 train depot survives and serves as the home of the CBRM. The museum opened in 1979 with the help of local volunteers and the Calvert County Historical Society. The museum is operated by the Calvert County Government with support from the Friends of the CBRM. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. You can learn much more about the railway, the resort, and the people involved through this website, and of course, as you explore the exhibits at the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum. All Aboard!
National Historic Register
The Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is included in the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties (CT-100). Erected in 1898 by the Chesapeake Beach Railway Company, the station at Chesapeake Beach derives significance from its association with the transportation and related commercial history of Calvert County and as an excellent example of rural railroad architecture. The Chesapeake Railway ran from the fall of 1898 until the spring of 1935. The station was likely the work of a Mr. Winston, who was the contractor and builder for most of the houses and structures in the original town and park.