July 11, 2024

History of Pax River Featured in New Book


The Calvert Marine Museum has announced the publication of its latest book, “Before the Base: Patuxent River Naval Air Test Center Property Condemnation Appraisals, 1942.”

This comprehensive work, meticulously researched, details the rich history of the region before the establishment of the naval base, according to the museum.

“Before the Base” sheds light on the documents and procedures the US Navy used in acquiring the 6,000 acres of rural Southern Maryland to unify the military’s aviation testing activities.

As a public, nonprofit, educational, and regionally oriented institution, CMM is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and presentation of the culture and history of the area. The book offers a fresh perspective on the communities and activities that thrived in the area long before the naval base was established.

“This set of documents provides researchers with solid information on the vernacular farm building architecture, farm layout and contemporary valuation, as well as valuable genealogical information,” said Mike Smolek, former cultural resource manager at Patuxent River Naval Air Test Center.

The public is invited to join editors John Cook and Eve Love on Friday, November 10, 2023, in the Harms Gallery at the museum in Solomons from 2:15 to 3:15pm for a special presentation uncovering the vast changes that occurred in St. Mary’s County during 1942.

Following the presentation, a book signing will be held in the museum store where attendees will have an opportunity to engage with the editors. “Before the Base” will be available to purchase at the store for $100.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the remarkable transformation that altered St. Mary’s County’s cultural landscape, this collection will provide insight to all.

Call 410-326-2042 for more information.

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