by Jackie Nickel
Advertised in a 1909 sales brochure as “The Rising Suburb of the East,” Essex, Maryland, has seen its fate and fortune rise and fall and rise again. The town enjoyed its early reputation as a haven for city dwellers with picnic groves, hunting and fishing clubs, dance halls, and waterfront amusement parks. The boom continued with new jobs and prosperity until the 1950s, when a fire destroyed much of the town’s main street. Economic decay set in as a result of the loss of industry and an influx of low-income housing. Several attempts at redevelopment and legislation failed, resulting in the residents’ distrust of government intervention. Finally a county-backed Renaissance project was established in 2002, bringing Essex a new epithet: “The Hidden Gem of Baltimore County.”
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Memories Of “Old” Middle River: A loving look back at the town and its people
By Jackie Nickel
Essex-Middle River was a destination for waterfront recreation. Its recent publicity as the shoreline showplace of the 21st century is merely history repeating itself. To visualize the unfolding results of revitalization is to recall the days when Essex was known as “the rising suburb of the east” with Middle River as its shining star.
Very limited copies of Jackie’s book remain. They are $6 including postage, payable by check, money order or well-concealed cash to:
Scott Huffines, 721 Rockaway Beach Ave., Essex MD 21221.
Essex and Middle River (Then and Now: Maryland)
by M. Linda Martinak and Angela Martinak Sutherland
The origins of Essex and Middle River can be traced back to the early 1800s, though Essex did not attain an official community name until 1908. The area grew rapidly, particularly because of the Glenn L. Martin Company, which employed more than 53,000 residents during World War II.
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