Located along the Atlantic Ocean on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Worcester County (population 46,543) was created in 1742. Agriculture was the original mainstay of the economy, with tobacco, cypress wood, corn, and wheat being staple crops.
The economy still relies heavily on agriculture, but the county’s oceanfront location makes tourism another important industry. Ocean City, whose first hotel opened in 1875, draws millions of visitors a year.
Several historic cities attract heritage tourists. Snow Hill, the county seat, is the commercial and governmental hub of the county. Other historic communities are Berlin and Pocomoke City. In all, 425 properties are listed in the Worcester County Historical Sites Inventory.
Many of Worcester County’s historic sites are linked by the Beach to Bay Indian Trail, a National Recreation Trail. Berlin, Snow Hill, and Ocean City offer guided and self-guided walking tours of their historic districts. Worcester County also promotes heritage tourism through participation in the Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Area, a State-certified heritage area.
The Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Committee is one of many partners working with Worcester County to create the Delmarva Discovery Center. The facility, which will showcase the natural and cultural history of the Pocomoke River, is being developed in the historic Duncan Brothers’ Garage (1920) in Pocomoke City.
A prominent architectural landmark, the rehabilitated building will provide a much-needed anchor to the community’s downtown commercial district and hopefully will serve as a catalyst for other downtown development projects.
Designated a Preserve America Community in January 2005.