Sparrow’s Beach

ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford yesterday celebrated the acquisition of a 5.17-acre parcel known as Elktonia Beach, which is connected to the historic Black beaches, Carr’s Beach and Sparrow’s Beach. In March, Governor Hogan announced the state’s investment of more than $4.8 million for the acquisition, which sets in motion the development of a heritage community park dedicated to preserving the legacy of the once popular resorts that served the Black community during segregation.

“This project is important to our administration, and this land is connected to my personal history, as my mother once enjoyed concerts at Carr’s Beach in the late 1940s.” said Lt. Governor Rutherford. “I look forward to visiting the waterfront heritage park when it opens, and watching future generations of Marylanders create their own memories, while learning about our past.”

Elktonia, Sparrow’s, and Carr’s beaches were owned and operated by the Carr Family from the mid 1920s to the late 1960s, and served as a safe haven for the Black community when they were prohibited from using other beaches. Carr’s Beach was a popular location for concerts featuring many prominent Black performing artists, including Chuck Berry, The Temptations, Ike and Tina Turner, The Shirelles, Little Richard, and Billie Holiday. The newly acquired parcel contains more than 300 feet of sandy beach area with direct waterfront access to the Chesapeake Bay.

“DNR is pleased to support this acquisition, which preserves important history and provides public access to open space along the Chesapeake Bay,” said Secretary Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “Working together with our partners, we have furthered the cultural preservation and land conservation goals of both the City of Annapolis and the State of Maryland.”

A majority of the land acquisition was funded by the state. DNR committed $3.68 million in grant funding from Program Open Space (POS) Stateside, which will supplement POS Local funds from the City of Annapolis and Anne Anne Arundel County. In August, the Board of Public Works approved $1.2 million in Local Parks and Playgrounds Infrastructure funding to the Blacks of the Chesapeake Foundation in order to help the development of the new park.

The City of Annapolis, in partnership with the Blacks of the Chesapeake and the National Park Service Chesapeake Bay Office, will lead the planning and design of the waterfront heritage community park.

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