The Town of North Beach was platted in 1900 and was originally named North Chesapeake Beach. The town was part of an ambitious land development project, to be known as “Washington’s Salt-Water Resort.” The initial plan, encompassing Chesapeake Beach, would have grand hotels, boardwalks, an amusement park and a horse race track. Visitors would travel by railroad from Washington via the Chesapeake Beach Railway and an electric trolley would run from the railroad station in Chesapeake Beach to North Beach, a little over one mile away. While Chesapeake Beach would provide the hotels and entertainment, North Beach was sub-divided into lots for seasonal cottages.
The railroad ceased operations in 1935, and both Chesapeake Beach and North Beach saw a period of decline that was further exacerbated by the opening of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in 1952. The legalization of slot machines provided a period of brief financial relief. Slots were outlawed by state legislature in 1968, and the amusement park closed in 1972. Both towns fell into hard times.
A slow revival of the towns began in the 1980’s. In North Beach extensive renovations occurred, and the town acquired the privately owned pier and beach. Through a series of grants and other funding, the North Beach boardwalk was constructed, the beach replenished and the town waterfront became an attractive place.
Private renovations of old structures as well as new construction have flourished since then, making North Beach truly “The Jewel of the Chesapeake Bay.”
Today visitors and residents alike can enjoy the delightfully eclectic atmosphere that defines North Beach. From quaint shops to a variety of restaurants, one can delight in a small town environment with no need for an automobile. For example, where else but in North Beach would one find an American motorcycle shop that is also a Lionel trains dealer and has a selection of classic American motorcycles as well as a fantastic model train layout? Or a candy shop that has all the “penny candy’ from days long gone? Or a wine shop that features local Maryland wines? And yes, the ice cream man drives by almost every day!