Ever since explorer Giovanna da Verrazzano sailed through Sinepuxent Bay in 1524, human activty along these waters has helped shape Assateague's history. Except for intriguing place names on local maps, almost all traces of these historic events have been erased by the passage of time and the island's shifting sands.
Great Egging Island
Recreational activities in the late 1800s included a trip to the coast to go "eggin'," and Great and Little Egging Islands quickly became popular sites. Special picnics were organized for the sole purpose of collecting gull, willet, and other shorebird eggs, which were considered great delicacies. Bird protections laws eventually brought egging activities to an end.
Ferry service began at Assateague's far north end after the 1933 hurricane separated the island from Ocean City. Eventually the service moved to this ferry landing area where a deep channel was dug through the marsh. Ferries were used heavily in the 1950s when developers brought prospective buyers to the island. Ferry service ended when the bridge was built in 1964.
Of Assateague's 11 recorded historic inlets, Sinepuxent Inlet was the largest and most commercially valuable. Located just to the south of the Ferry Landing, old maps suggest that it closed and reopened many times in the 18th and 19th centuries. Large ships used this important waterway to bring goods to and form bay communities. Colonists guarded Sinepuxent Inlet with militia during the Revolutionary War.
Salt, once an indispensable food preserver, was extremely important during the Revolutionary War. When the British cut off salt supplies, local towns relied heavily on coastal operations like Baltimore Saltworks and other small saltworks on Assateague. To make a bushel of salt, 350-400 gallons of sea water were either evaporated in clay-lined pits or boiled in wrought iron pans.