(Oct. 4, 2019) Worcester County residents and visitors can learn more about historical properties in the area with the reappearance of Paul Touart’s book, ‘Along the Seaboard Side: The Architectural History of Worcester County.’
Published 25 years ago, the book had been forgotten by many, but then Worcester County government staff realized they had two pallets of the book still in storage. Budget Officer Kathy Whited brought a proposal to the Worcester County Commissioners to sell the hardback and paperback books at a discounted price.
“This would be a good time of year to do that before the holidays,” Whited said.
Kelly Shanahan, assistant chief administrative officer, recalled that the 1993 Worcester County Commissioners wanted to preserve architectural history of the county with the book, which was published the next year.
“They recognized that development was causing some of these properties to go away,” Shanahan said. “They wanted to document all the historical properties in the county.”
Touart, an architectural historian living in Somerset County, was commissioned to produce the book, which he also did elsewhere on the Eastern Shore.
Lisa Challenger, tourism director for Worcester County, said the book is valuable because it details historic properties that no longer exist.
“There was a hotel in downtown Snow Hill,” Challenger said. “It’s cool to imagine that there today. It’s too bad it’s not.”
She highlighted the Beverly plantation in Pocomoke City and the Rackliffe Plantation House in Berlin as some of her favorite historical properties. Challenger added that the book is interesting to residents who live in historic homes because they may find their own house in the book.
“People can learn a lot about where they live,” Challenger said.
The book price at the time was set to cover the costs of production, but county budgets have long since written off that cost. Commissioner Jim Bunting suggested donating the books to as many school libraries as possible. Challenger added that they could also donate books to the Greyhound independent bookstore in Berlin and the Ocean City Life Saving Museum.
Worcester County Commissioner Chip Bertino moved to drop the price of the paperbacks to $3 and hard covers to $5 and to disperse as many as possible to area nonprofits for fundraising purposes. Commissioner Ted Elder seconded.