Abandoned But Beautiful – Holland Island

Holland Island is a rapidly eroding island in the Chesapeake Bay in Dorchester county, Maryland (United States). It is located in the Holland Strait, betwween Bloodsworth Island and Smith Island.

The Island was once inhabited by watermen and farmers but is now abandoned.

The last house on Holland Island in October 2009. It fell into the bay in October 2010. Source.

The last house on Holland Island in October 2009. It fell into the bay in October 2010. Source.

History Of Holland Island

Holland Island was settled in the 1600’s. It took its name from early colonist Daniel Holland, the original purchaser of the property from the Dorchester County Sherrif. In 1850 the first community of fishing and farming families developed on the island. By 1910, the island had about 360 residents, making it one of the largest inhabited islands on the Chesapeake Bay.

The island community had 70 homes, stores and other buildings. It also had its own post office, a small school, a church and even a baseball team. But also a community center and a doctor! The residents on that island supported themselves mainly by dredging for oysters, fishing for shad and crabbing.

A. AUBREY BODINE / THE BALTIMORE SUN, 1953.

A. AUBREY BODINE / THE BALTIMORE SUN, 1953.

Wind & Tide

The wind and tide began to erode the west side of the island big time. On that side were most of the houses located in 1914. This forced the residents to move to the mainland. They tried to protect the island by building stone walls, but that didn’t work. The last family left the island in 1918, when a tropical storm damaged the church. A few people stayed on the island during the fishing season until 1922. The church was moved to Fairmount, Maryland.

Stephen White, a minister who cared for the island for many years, formed The Holland Island Preservation Foundation. White sold the island to the Concorde Foundation. In October 2010, the last remaining house on the island collapsed.

 

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4 thoughts on “Abandoned But Beautiful – Holland Island

  1. The death of an island… so sad! Must have been a sad moment for the residents when they had no choice but leave.

    They probably cut too much of the trees, accidentally killing the island themselves over the decades.

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