Since Colonial times, the Galesville peninsula has been defined by the West River and the Chesapeake Bay. But 18,000 years ago, these waters did not exist! The Susquehanna River once flowed east of here. As glaciers melted, the sea level rose, flooding the river valley. Natural and human factors have continued to shape Galesville. The once dense forests gave way to houses and businesses. As fish, crab, and oyster harvests have diminished, pleasure boats replaced works boats in local coves and marinas.
I remember ox drawn wagons pulling hogsheads of tobacco down the road in front of our house going to Steamboat Landing."
Agnes Smith Dixon, Galesville native
This illustration shows the ancient Susquehanna River superimposed on today's Chesapeake Bay.
From the early 17th to the early 20th centuries, tobacco, vegetables, fruits and livestock were shipped to local and foreign markets.
In the early 20th century, oyster houses such as Woodfield's lined the shore. Here, watermens' abundant catches were processed for shipment to far-away markets. Most of this work was done by African Americans.