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Elktonia-Carr's Beach preserved from development, given to Annapolis

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Posted at 7:21 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 19:21:31-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The soothing sounds of Carr's Beach along our Chesapeake Bay and the sound of mother nature is not what made Carr's Beach famous.

It was the sounds of music that brought people here. It was the best America had to offer.

“From James Brown, to Sarah Vaughn, from Count Basey, Duke Ellington, to Little Richard, to Stevie. All the greats came to Annapolis," Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said.

So, to make this happen, Mayor Buckley had to find financing to purchase this property to make it a heritage park.

Now, it will be here for all to reflect and enjoy. Because of racial segregation, many places were set up for white people and other places for Black people.

Unlike the white counterparts of the time, Carr's Beach was open to all.

“Whites came here too. We said, ‘your money will spend here just like everywhere else.’ So, it was a Black beach but we did not prohibit whites from coming,'" said Annapolis Historian Janice Hayes-Williams.

Carr's Beach is just outside of downtown Annapolis and so many people enjoyed the best music American had to showcase and just because it was in Annapolis, it wasn't just an Annapolis thing.

“My mother came from District of Columbia, she came from DC,” Maryland Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford said. “So, it was from DC and Baltimore and people came. This was the place to go for entertainment and beach in a time when you didn't have air conditioning.”

That inclusion continues today.

Now, the beach has been restored for all to appreciate the role Carr's Beach played in or local and national history.

“The ancestors have been wanting this forever and it happened today," Hayes-Williams said.

As other beaches opened up to African-Americans, like Sandy Point and Ocean City, the popularity of Carr's Beach faded.

The last concert at the pavilion was in 1974. Frank Zappa was the last person to perform at Carr's Beach.