The November 19, 1965 issue of the Bay Times newspaper featured a sad obituary:
The Eastern Shore’s famed Love Point Hotel was no more.
Built at some point around the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the Love Point Hotel was a grand resort on the northern tip of Kent Island, Maryland, at the conflux of the Chesapeake Bay and the Chester River.
Enjoyed by thousands of day-tripping and vacationing visitors each season, guests boarded steamboats at Baltimore’s Light Street pier and traveled to Kent Island on such illustrious Chesapeake Bay vessels as the Emma Giles, Westmoreland, and Dreamland. Later, as car ownership became more prevalent, ferries like the Philadelphia, known up and down the bay as the Smokey Joe, took over for the steamboats in servicing the vacation spot.
After disembarking at the resort’s 100 foot wide, 1,250 foot long pier, new arrivals were treated to the scenic view of the hotel grounds: a sandy beach, expansive lawns and picnic groves dotted with cottonwood trees, a lake with canoe rentals, an amusement boardwalk with a merry-go-round, a bowling alley, and a shooting gallery. Patrons could also charter fishing parties or catch crabs from the busy pier.
The hotel itself was three stories, 50 rooms, high ceilinged, and furnished with “good beds,” horsehair sofas, and wicker chairs. After dark, Tiffany lamps threw shades of color across the nighttime.
The dining room seated 200. A thousand meals were served on typical Saturdays and Sundays. The $1.25 all-you-could-eat buffet offered crab cakes, soft crabs, fresh fish, and oysters in season, Maryland fried chicken, chops, steaks, corn on the cob, tomatoes, mashed potatoes smothered in country butter, hot beaten biscuits, and homemade pies and cakes.
Dances, either on the elegant dance pavilion or inside the repurposed dining room, were held every Saturday night. Wistful romantics who were there never forgot the summer evenings of beautiful orchestral music wafting across the water on gentle Chesapeake Bay breezes.
Locals also attended the dances and celebrated special occasions at the hotel.
Eventually, cars and the country’s improving highway system made traveling to the ocean resorts a hundred miles further east more appealing to the average vacationing family. Closed for good around 1947, nobody remembers for certain, the Love Point Hotel sat abandoned and vandalized until the 1965 blaze that ended the hotel’s physical existence, if not its sentimental and nostalgic stature, even in the imagination of those not old enough to actually remember its eminence.
Ralph Hoyt in his regular Bay Times editorial column “Baysically Speaking” suggested the loss of the Eastern Shore landmark was perhaps for the best. “Now there is nothing left to destroy,” Hoyt wrote. “The memories of happier days will linger on in the hearts of the thousands of people who knew her when she was the gracious hostess, known far and wide as the Love Point Hotel.”
The Love Point Hotel will feature prominently in the novel I’m working on, Love Point 1938, which is a prequel to Bloody Point 1976, published last year. The main character of Love Point 1938 is Tooey Walter’s grandfather, Moviestar, and the story is one from Moviestar’s younger days, when a glamorous figure from his past returns to the Eastern Shore to create havoc among their group of friends, as well as the community at large. It will take place over the Christmas holiday season, someone will end up poisoned, and many long-held secrets will be revealed, including just how did Moviestar get that nickname of his.
In meantime, read more about the Love Point hotel here :
and in my nonfiction book Remembering Kent Island: Stories from the Chesapeake Bay, available at various local retailers and Amazon:
Former manager Addie Evans Knight was my great aunt, my grandparents Marion and Joseph Evans were also involved in the running of that hotel. See I told you I have stories to tell you. Maybe you and I can work on an article about the people of Grasonville, back when and now.
Miss Marion,I’d be happy to let you guest blog anytime. Why don’t you write a little 500-800 word piece about Grasonville and I’ll post it on easternshorebrent. It’s really cool that Addie Evans Knight was a relation! Check out some of my other blog posts – I covered Kent Narrows in a I think 4 parts, and there’s a lot about Grasonville watermen. Hope you continue to enjoy the blog!
Another great story told by a great storyteller. Loved it, Brent – and the amazing photos and newspaper accounts. You are the Eastern Shore’s treasure.
Thank you, Helen – Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving.
My father, James E. Raehn, mentioned that the rotating light on top of Truck 14 (pictured in the fire-fighting pictures) was actually melted during the battle…
I have heard that as well. The whole story is in my book A History of the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department. https://www.amazon.com/History-Kent-Island-Volunteer-Department/dp/1596299819
Thanks for commenting!
Last year I bought a pair of Engine Order Telegraphs [EOT] said to be from one of the larger steam operated Chesapeake Bay Ferries. [An EOT is a clock like device ship captains used to signal the engineer down below decks to set the steam engine’s speed & direction, and the engineer uses one to signal his confirmation. These 2 EOTs were hung on the wall or post, and generally had the appearance of a large brass clock.] If you’ve seen old movies where a captain moves a lever on a dial back & forth, causing a bell to ring, that’s an EOT.
I initially thought these were from the Ferry Norfolk, but after seeing photos of the Norfolk’s pilot house, we know it’s not the same. We are following a lead that these are from the SS Philadelphia, AKA Smokey Joe, that operated from Baltimore to Love Point. The ship received a mechanical overhaul in 1936, and these would have probably dated from that time. I’m hoping to find photographs of either the pilot house or the engine house, showing either EOT in place. Or perhaps find someone who worked on the ‘ol Smokey Joe from 1936 to 1952 when she was scrapped.
If I can document these are from a Chesapeake Bay ferry or another Maryland-based ship, I’m going to try to find a place for them in a Maryland nautical museum.
Sorry its taken so long to get back to you. So interesting – who hasn’t seen those old movies, and now I know that’s an EOT! Very cool – particularly if you have an actual Smokey Joe artifact, I’m sure any nautical or historical museum wold be honored to be able to exhibit something like that. Thank you for taking the time to share that with me and my readers, Bill!
What was the actual physical location of the hotel? I have been told, Rt 18 was built on the rail right-of-way, and when I drive 18, it looks like the railroad would have curved by what is now Pier Ave, and into a large open area. Is this the spot?
Yes, Christopher, that was part of the lawn, I believe. Sorry it took me so long to respond – my best to you!