Local History - 1800s
The economy of the Herring Bay area in the 1800s was dominated by tobacco farms that were owned by a handful of prominent families but operated by families of slaves. According to historian David C. Holly, the estate owned by James Harwood was known as Fair Haven and that name came to be applied to the area at-large. The wharf and home built by the Weems family was transformed into the Fair Haven Hotel by 1843, providing steamboat-passengers access to “a very salubrious district, commanding an extensive prospect of the surrounding country, and the broad waters of the bay.” The hotel was a major resort destination on the Chesapeake until the early 1900s and was the scene of at least two skirmishes during the Civil War.
Links to excerpts from Mr. Holly’s book and other documents are provided below.