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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Historical tourism

POCOMOKE — To call “Worcester County Then and Now” a pictorial history fails to get at the fact that the book is more a tour of a place that no longer exists than a collection of photographs and facts.

Compiled by mother-in-law, daughter-in-law team Norma Miles and Robin Chandler-Miles, the book is the result of a year of pavement pounding and cold calling that might intimidate even the most aggressive sales person.

“I think by the end a lot of people were tired of seeing us,” Chandler-Miles said. “We really just spent most of last summer bugging people.”

What makes “Worcester County Then and Now” so like a tour guide is the way the authors integrated the story of Worcester County with photos of the homes, streets, people and events that distinguish an area that was among the earliest occupied, if not settled, by Europeans.

The two were approached by Arcadia Publishing, which produces the “Images of America” series to produce a book about the county after the success of “Pocomoke City” the pair’s first effort.

Putting the first book together was a little less of a challenge as Miles was approached to author it because of her position in several of the local historical societies. As such, she had access to much of the archival photographs depicting the Pocomoke City area.

For this book, though, they had to rely on the kindness of strangers and while it’s difficult to believe they actually wore out their welcome anywhere, the shear volume of photos and the stories they help to tell suggests a tenacity and reach beyond basic research.

“People were generous with their time and their photographs,” Chandler-Miles said. “All I did was collect people’s pictures.”

Miles credits her daughter-in-law with much more work than that. While Miles was able to provide the facts and context for many of the photos, Chandler-Miles had the job not only of doing much of the northern Worcester legwork, but also organizing the work so that it had an engaging flow.

By punctuating the photographs with prose, the book operates on several levels. The most obvious is a book worth reading from cover to cover. The second, more interesting one, involves being able to pick the book up at any point and become immediately engrossed.

The book is divided into five parts, covering most aspects of living in Worcester County from the evolution of home and work life to the transformation from a collection of farming communities to the tourism center it has become.

A significant part of that transformation was the purchase, development and the eventual progression toward build-out of Ocean Pines.

Chandler-Miles cited the research associated with the Ocean Pines story with some of her most interesting research, giving her the opportunity to delve into a community she was less familiar with than she would have imagined.

“I really developed a love for Ocean Pines during my research.”

While the book is available at both local stores as well as at Barnes and Noble and on, the authors will hold a signing 5-7 p.m. Friday, June 10 at the Merry Sherwood in Berlin.