From 1938 to 1968 (I’m totally guessing these dates – I know they include the war), UD‘s grandfather, Joseph Rapoport, ran Rapoport’s department store in Port Deposit, Maryland, a small town on the Susquehanna River (vintage postcards here). He did pretty well there at first; and then, starting in 1942, when Roosevelt opened the Bainbridge Naval Training Center and thereby doubled the population of Cecil County, he did spectacularly well. He was able to put my father, as well as his two sons-in-law, through graduate school.

Wee UD visited her grandfather in Port Deposit, staying with her parents and siblings on the second floor apartments (with balcony overlooking the river) that you can see in the photograph in this post’s first link. She remembers sitting on the balcony and chatting while looking at the river and the train tracks beside the river. She remembers visiting the family that lived in the stone house (also visible at the link) across from the store. There was a bar on the other side of the street, and she remembers being wakened at night by drunks.

All of these buildings remain intact because all of Port Deposit is on the National Historic Registry. So UD can see it again more or less as it was, the whole streetscape, and that’s what she’s going to do this weekend. She and Mr UD will spend today, tomorrow, and Sunday at a nearby bed and breakfast in Cecil County, and then walk around Port Deposit, while UD sees whether it stirs any more memories. They will also visit the world’s most persistent “brownfield” site, what’s left of the naval base, which itself used to be the beautiful Tome School. We’re not sure how much access we’ll get to the ruins, but it’s clear that they’re pretty cool, set on a bluff overlooking the river.

They will also visit nearby Longwood Gardens, not only one of the world’s great gardens, but liable to look amazing (spring; floods yesterday; sunny today), and walk (sail?) along the Chesapeake Bay, and who knows what else.

UD will insta-blog every millisecond. Stay tuned.

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3 Responses to “Snapshots from Home”

  1. Polish Peter Says:

    Amtrak’s Autumn Express foliage train (http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/356/901/Amtrak%20Autumn%20Express%20ATK-13-091.pdf) out of Philadelphia last fall turned NW along the Susquehanna through Port Deposit, and while looking through the window Mr. and Mrs. Polish Peter made a mental note to revisit there someday and spend some time walking around.

  2. Timothy Burke Says:

    I’ve been thinking of going to the Tome School to take photographs but reading up on some ruin-photography sites, it will take a bit of subterfuge on your part and some willingness to walk past rather creepily Blair-Witch abandoned homes.

  3. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Tim: Yes, I’m beginning to see that actually getting on to the old campus will be tricky. I like the idea of walking past Blair Witch homes, though…

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