Mildred Finlon spent childhood summers in Chesapeake Beach in the early 1920s, with much of her adult life dedicated to the park. She was to become a founding member of the museum and instrumental in preserving its history. Inspired by Mildred Finlon’s oral history.
I was about 11 years old years old in 1922 when Daddy decided we should spend time near the water, so I could learn to love it like he did. That’s why we came to Chesapeake Beach. We lived in Washington, D.C. and would take the train to the beach. Oh do I remember the train ride! It took about an hour, and not only was it hot and smoky, but the cinders blew right in through the open windows!
I remember one time the train started backing up just past Owings Station. I asked Uncle Charlie, one our favorite train conductors, what was happening, and Uncle Charlie said we were backing up because they had forgotten to leave a quart of ice cream at the station for someone who wanted it. Imagine that!?
By the time we got to the beach we were all dusty and dirty, but we didn’t mind! We’d gather ourselves together, and take the short walk to the camp grounds where we rented a shack for two weeks.
We loved the beach so much that daddy built a cottage for us, and we’d stay the whole summer! Mrs. Milton taught us kids how to swim, we canoed, we danced, ran up and down the boardwalk, and had a wonderful time. And you know what? I did grow up to love the water, just like Daddy.