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Saturday, March 26, 2016

The "The Corner of Third and Bohemia" Story

I'm holding the paw of the black Newfoundland.  
It was an ordinary day.  Down on one knee petting one of the biggest dogs I have ever seen.  I gently took it's paw into my hand for a quick photo, then petting it before snapping a photo of it laying by the checkout counter in the Black Swan Antiques Shop in Chesapeake City, Maryland which is located on the northwest corner of Third St. and Bohemia Avenue.  
I have written many tales about Chesapeake City and the houses, shops and restaurants than make this small town in Maryland such a neat place to visit.  Chesapeake City was formerly incorporated in 1850, but began years before that when a canal was begun to connect the Christiana River in Delaware with the Elk River in Maryland.  Carol and I discovered the town in the 1970's when we began to go on yearly vacations along the Elk River with friends Sandy and Gary and our children.  The store that I am standing in, next to the huge furry mass on the floor, is one of the oldest in the town.  
The left side of the store is Toys in the Attic while the
right side is the Black Swan Antique Show.
It was built, as far as I can determine, sometime in the late 1850's and housed the I.O.O.F. which is the Indepen- dent Order of Odd Fellows.  The Cecil County, Maryland Odd Fellows Lodge No. 68 was chartered on February 13, 1850, thus making it the oldest lodge in Cecil County and the second oldest in the state of Maryland.  Trying to trace the history of establishments which have called the building home since that time has been fun and at times nearly impossible.  
1920 photo of the Bryon Bouchelle General Store.  Harry
Bouchelle is the man in the center in black with arms folded.
I have a photo of the building that was taken in the 1920's when it was the Bryon Bouchelle General Store which was established in 1896 at the location.  Since that time I have been able to determine, through word of mouth from residents of the town, that it has also been a Hardware store, Ice Cream Palor, Laundromat, Paint Store, and Bungard's Grocery Store.
The corner at Third and Bohemia as a paint store.
 Today it houses Black Swan on one side and Toys In The Attic on the other side.  Behind the storefront, an open courtyard once housed a wagon shop, paint shop for wagons and carriages, blacksmith shop and today ... garages.  When first built, the second floor of the building served as the practice hall for the Chesapeake City Town Band.  
The Chesapeake City Band.
The band played at local events and serenaded visitors on steamboats which stopped at the Chesapeake City dock.  A few published reports of the quality of the band music said that it was "difficult to dance to" with reports that the "enthusiasm exceeded the skill" of the band members.  When the band ceased to operate I have not been able to determine.  Well, my friend has decided to go to sleep so I feel it is time to depart and find my friends whom are visiting another store in Chesapeake City.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


    

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