The channel, which separates Kent Island from the Eastern Shore mainland, provides convenient access for vessels traveling between the broad Chester River to the north, and Eastern Bay to the south. The foot of the Kent Narrows Bridge is a good place to view numerous examples of the shallow draft work boats used by generations of waterman who deliver their daily catch to local markets, restaurants and packing houses. Although few remain today, there were once a dozen packing houses in “the Narrows,” and seafood was shipped from here to markets nationwide. The Chesapeake Heritage & Visitors Center welcomes visitors with information and exhibits about the unique heritage, culture, and attractions of the region.
The core of Centreville lies along two parallel streets Commerce and Liberty. Architectural styles, ranging from early Federal though late Victorian, illustrate the town’s development. See magnificent Victorian homes with ornate facades situated on Commerce Street, some of the earliest surviving homes in the town, dating back to 1794. Greek revival home designs (1830s) can be found along Liberty Street, while additional stately Victorian homes can be seen along Chesterfield Avenue.
Wye Island (Natural Resources Management Area)
A 1668 deed refers to Wye Island (2,450 acres) as the “Great Island in the Wye River.” Two of Maryland’s leading Revolutionaries acquired the land in 1700s; William Paca, signer of the Declaration of Independence, owned the eastern half of the island, and John Beale Bordley a jurist, owned the western half of the island. Attacked by Tories during the American Revolution, Wye Island was defended by a gunboat, the Experiment. Paca, who was twice Governor of Maryland, is said to be buried nearby, on the mainland.
In Crumpton, the Chester River narrows, providing a convenient crossing point. In 1759, Henry Callister established a ferry, operated by pulling a barge by ropes between the north and south banks. During the cold winter months the area river’s would often freeze, shutting down other ferries, but the current in Crumpton kept this specific point in the Chester River free of ice, allowing Callister’s Ferry to operate. After Callister’s death, the ferry at Crumpton remained in use until the first bridge was built in 1865.