Located on the scenic Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, the Betterton Heritage Museum exists to promote, preserve and restore the historical heritage of the town and the surr0unding area.
We are excited to announce the launch of our Virtual Tour! Created in cooperation with the Digital Scholarships in Museum Partnerships project and Washington College, the virtual tour allows you to visit the museum from your favorite device. Check it out by clicking HERE.
Formerly the Most Precious Blood Catholic Church, the building has been beautifully restored as a showcase for historical artifacts and a well-equipped community meeting place with wi-fi. It is the perfect place to highlight Betterton's rich history.
The Early Years
Betterton was founded as a fishing village on the shores of the Sassafras River. It was first described in a land grant from Cecil Calvert in 1664. It became known as Fish Hall and later Crew’s Landing. In 1850, Richard Turner bought land and built his home “Elwood” which still stands today. Turner re-named the town Betterton which was his wife’s maiden name. The digging of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal put Betterton in the ideal location for shipping local produce to markets in Baltimore, Wilmington, and Philadelphia. When it was incorporated in 1906, Betterton was a bustling and prosperous commercial center. As the century progressed, the easy water access and established hotels made Betterton a natural summer resort for people seeking to escape the cities. Betterton evolved into a beach resort with arcades, amusements, restaurants and related beach activities.
The Bay Belle Years
At the end of W.W.II (1945) the Wilson Line, of Wilmington, started running one of their five excursion steamboats out of Baltimore. They chose Betterton as its destination, and every day, each summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Bay Belle would carry day trippers from a hot, humid, pre-A/C Baltimore to Betterton Beach. The Bay Belle was 206' long, powered by a 1,250hp triple expansion steam engine, and could carry up to 2,400 people on the 21/2 hour trip (each way). It seldom arrived full, but regularly carried 1,000 to 1,500 people who arrived hungry, anxious for some refreshment, a cool dip in the bay, and a souvenir to take home with them.
Barbara's on the Bay — The story is simple: good food, warm and cozy atmosphere, attentive service…. That is all you need. You will find that at Barbara’s On The Bay! Friends and family gathering to share a meal, lively conversation and lasting memories. Call ahead for reservations. 410-348-3079.
Marzella’s By The Bay — Serves lunch and dinner, sandwiches, salads and pizza! Walk ins welcome or call ahead for pick up and delivery. Great restaurant for kids or groups.
"Happy Discovery. Walking by."
~Rob & Debbie G., Chestertown, MD
"Sharing parents' history."
~Barry and Julie C., Chestertown, MD
"Used to come to Betterton Beach 40 years ago."
~Camile K., Hartley, DE
"Visited here 50 years ago."
~Betty & Joe F., Holland PA
"Lived here in 20s - 40s. Lots of memories and history."
Betterton heritage museum
100 Main Street
Betterton, MD 21610