Prosperty & Steamships
Since Colonial days, sailing ships had came up the Patuxent River to discharge their cargoes at Lower Marlboro, and load with tobacco for the return voyage to England. Beginning in 1821, steamships began to ply the waters of the river, with Lower Marlboro still a major port. In 1859 the Weems steamship line bought the wharf itself. Carrying passengers and freight, including tobacco, peaches, apples, and other produce, the ships left Lower Marlboro in the morning, arriving at Baltimore early the next morning. It was a pleasant trip and the food on the ship was known to be excellent.
With water still the main mode of transport throughout the Chesapeake Bay region, Lower Marlboro thrived. Occupations shown in the 1850 census include farmer, shoemaker, tailor, carpenter, blacksmith, sailor, and physician. In the late 1800's the town had a grain mill, slaughterhouse, store, tavern, blacksmith, cobbler, and two Methodist churches. Around 1900, there were still two tobacco warehouses, two stores, a blacksmith shop, a canning factory, a cabinet maker, an ox trainer/handler, and a boatwright. One church remains; the second church stood on the site now occupied by the Church Hall. During this century, a large warehouse was built just south of the Harbor Master's House. That building eventually became a store (one of several in town), operated by the Hardesty, Hinman, and finally Cox families. The former store became the Great Room, Guest Suite, and Master Suite in the renovated house. Its pine floors still show stains where the pickle barrels stood.