Captain Salem Avery Museum on the Chesapeake Bay
Captain Salem Avery Museum in Shady Side, Maryland
1418 East West Shady Side Road
Shady Side, MD 20764 410.867.4486
Down in the southern part of Anne Arundel County, next to the water is a small, rural town. The coastline of Shady Side is divided between the Chesapeake Bay and the West River. Imagine the size of the bay next to this jutted area of land and put a house on it. That is what this waterman did.
Captain Salem Avery
Captain Salem Avery was already married with 7 children when he left Long Island, NY to come to MD. He found a home in Shady Side (about 30 minutes south of Annapolis, MD) and bought it in 1860. Like many others, Captain Avery was searching for the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay. For decades, the Chesapeake Bay was like the Alaskan Gold Rush for watermen, they came from all over for the fish, the oysters, and the clams. The Avery family only lived there for 60 years.
Bought to be a Country Club
In 1920 it was sold to Jewish Masons from the Washington DC area. They needed a place to gather where they would not feel marginalized for their religion. This group of Masons stayed there for a few generations. These enterprising families built onto the original structure substantially, adding a meeting room, kitchen, dorms, and several bedrooms. It started out as a fishing club, but over the course of time evolved into a country club called “Our Place”. They kept it as a country club until 1984 when it was bought to be a museum (by Shady Side Rural Heritage Society).
The Shady Side Rural Heritage Society
The Shady Side Rural Heritage Society restored the home to as close to its 1860s appearance as possible. Then the Society worked hard to give variety to this museum so it would serve the community and visitors alike. The SSRHS offers educational programs, community events, professional speakers, stewardship programs and library resources. It shares the culture and stories of the Chesapeake Bay as well as the rich history of the area. Also, by 2005, they got it on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Peaceful Grounds
The museum can be rented out for events and the grounds are open to the public from dawn to dusk. The grounds are kept in beautiful shape by Bill Mitchell, the Naturalist Gardener. Bill is a Master Watershed Steward. He has a lifetime of experience in caring for plants and wildlife, specifically in our ecosystem near the Chesapeake Bay. The areas of the Captain Salem Avery Museum look more natural and unaffected, except with rain barrels. It makes for a peaceful and soothing walk.
Beauty to Visit
This is a historic home with character, but sitting and looking at the water is something that changes every time. The best time of day is the sunrise because the house faces the water. Watching a sunrise on the grounds of this museum will be beautiful.