The Whitehaven Schoolhouse hasn't been open for daily classes since the mid-1930s, but it's still a place where visitors can go to learn.
Step inside and see historic items such as documents and photos, an organ, desks and a bell. There is also information to read about the history of the area.
Another great source of information, of course, is the people. When I visited a couple months ago during one of the Whitehaven Heritage Association's Sunday open house events, I was able to learn more about the association and the village by speaking with three women involved with the organization.
The Whitehaven Heritage Association hosted open houses on the second and fourth Sundays of the month through November, with COVID-19 precautions such as social distancing and mask-wearing in place, and the organization expects to start those back up in April. People can call 410-726-3393 or 440-669-3686 to set up an appointment to visit at another time.
Cindy Bush, secretary of the Whitehaven Heritage Association, spoke about the community and the organization's preservation work as she spun yarn on a spinning wheel.
She said she loves living in Whitehaven, describing it as "tiny but beautiful."
Even if you don't set up an appointment to go inside the schoolhouse (built in 1886 and expanded in 1908) or the Whitehaven United Methodist Church (built in 1892), which is steps away, you can still explore the history of the area through a walking tour. A map and descriptions can be found on this page — head to the photo gallery, hold down on a photo and save the image to your phone to follow the information on your tour.
A few fun facts:
- Whitehaven is not just home to historic buildings, but also an especially historic tree: a Wicomico County champion silver maple tree.
- There's also a Whitehaven, England, which is featured in a framed display at the Whitehaven Schoolhouse here in Maryland.
- George Washington's grandmother once lived nearby, according to the historic marker in town.
Whitehaven Heritage Association President Nancy Robertson wants to ensure the history of the area is not forgotten.
“I started opening up the schoolhouse the second and fourth Sundays mainly to try to get the community together, and also to try to get visitors to come to the beautiful schoolhouse and also the beautiful church that we have, and so that our history would not be lost by the wayside," Robertson said.
Whitehaven is also home to the oldest continuously operating ferry in the country — the Whitehaven Ferry, which offers free rides across the Wicomico River (just be sure to check that it's open by calling 410-543-2765) — and the Whitehaven Hotel, which is right next door to the ferry.
If you're heading here from out of town or are looking for a place to relax with your significant other, the hotel was featured in a Getaway Mavens post titled 30 Surprisingly Romantic Getaways in Maryland, DC, and Virginia.
Learn more about Whitehaven and about the Whitehaven Heritage Association at WhitehavenHeritage.com. If you make an appointment to visit or just need an address for your GPS for the walking tour, the address of the schoolhouse is 2740 Church Street, Quantico (Whitehaven), MD 21856.