The Old Bay Line—1840 to 1962

Time Period
1825 to 1860
1861 to 1876
1877 to 1924
1925 to Today
Media Type
Business & Industry
Science & Technology
Jack Shaum

On November 3, 2022, author Jack Shaum lectured on the subject of his newest book, 122 Years on the Old Bay Line.

Old Bay Line is the name by which the Baltimore Steam Packet Company was best known over most of its 122-year history of nightly carrying passengers and freight on the Chesapeake Bay between Baltimore and Norfolk. These steamers are often mistakenly referred to as ferry boats, but they most certainly were not. They were large, sturdy vessels that operated year-round in all kinds of weather. They provided reliable on-time service for the traveling public and shippers alike, and were famed for their cuisine, impeccable service, and fine accommodation. By the 1950s and 1960s they were the last of their kind in the nation. When the company wrapped up operations in 1962, it was the oldest steamship company under the American flag.

Jack Shaum is a retired award-winning print and broadcast journalist who spent nearly fifty years in the business. He is the former editor-in-chief of the quarterly journal of the Steamship Historical Society of America. Jack is the author and co-author of several books, including Lost Chester River Steamboats: From Chestertown to Baltimore; Majesty at Sea; Night Boat on the Potomac; and 122 Years on the Old Bay Line.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

Want to listen to an audio-only version of this lecture? Listen now on Soundcloud.