Berlin wasn't incorporated officially as a town until 1868, the area history
dates back much further it was once part of the Burleigh Plantation, a 300
acre land grant made in 1677. The first school dates back to 1765,
when Reverend Charles Tennent established Buckingham Academy, a boys
boarding school. Located about seven miles inland from Ocean City,
Maryland, the city developed in the late 18th century from a livery
stable and coach stop on the plantation.
Pronounced Bur-len, its name is
thought to be derived from "Burleigh Inn", a tavern on the crossroads of
Philadelphia Post Road (now South Main) and Sinepuxent Road (now Tripoli
Street). The town's Main Street was originally part of the path
connecting the Assateague
Indians with the neighboring Pocomoke tribe,
and in Colonial times the path became the Philadelphia Post Road, and
main travel route up the shore to the centers of commerce to the north
When the railroad arrived in the 1870's,
Berlin was a marketplace for agricultural products and later a rest stop
for rail passengers on their way to the popular tourist stop of Ocean
City. The most successful industries were the Berlin Milling Company,
Phillips Cannery and Harrison Nurseries.
the town has suffered three devastating fires in 1895, 1902 and 1904,
its historical areas still showcase almost two centuries of architectural
heritage, of which forty-seven structures are listed on the National
Register of Historic Places. In the Berlin Commercial District,
33% of the buildings dating from around 1900 remain in original or near
original condition. The historic structures represent three distinct
periods: Federal, Victorian and 20th Century, with the town center
featuring mostly brick structures.
Some of the towns historic buildings
include Burley Manor and Burley Cottage, "Robins Nest", the Chandler
House, and St. Paul's Episcopal Church dating back to 1825.
town has grown as a popular spot for tourists who enjoy hunting and
fishing on the Eastern Shore, or on their way to Ocean City. The city
promotes itself as a wonderful example of citizens working together as
they renovated the town center as part of their historic preservation
efforts. Today the historic commercial district features tree lined
streets, art galleries, antique shops, the restored Atlantic Hotel and
the historic Globe Theater, dating back 100 years, which is now a
Berlin is the birthplace of 19th century
naval hero Stephen Decatur, the youngest man to reach the rank of
captain in the history of the United States Navy, and the first
post-Revolutionary War hero. You may also recognize Berlin from two
major movies, 1998's "Runaway Bride", staring Richard Gere and Julia
Roberts as the fictional town of Hale, and 2001's "Tuck Everlasting" staring
Sissy Spacek, Ben Kingsley and William Hurt, as the fictional town of
"Treegap". For that movie, they transformed downtown Berlin back to the
turn of the 20th Century complete with dirt roads, horses and carriages.
As of the 2010 census, Berlin's
population was approximately 4,500.
© Dave Alexander/Legends of America,
April, 2016. All photos courtesy of Maureen Skoblar.
Town of Berlin, Maryland
Berlin Main Street
Department of Planning, Maryland Historical Trust