Smith Island, Maryland

Smith Island, Maryland

Infobox Settlement
official_name = Smith Island, Maryland
settlement_type = CDP
nickname =
motto =

imagesize =
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imagesize =
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mapsize =
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subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = Maryland
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Somerset
government_footnotes =
government_type =
leader_title =
leader_name =
leader_title1 =
leader_name1 =
established_title =
established_date =

unit_pref = Imperial
area_footnotes =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 23.8
area_land_km2 = 11.5
area_water_km2 = 12.2
area_total_sq_mi = 9.2
area_land_sq_mi = 4.5
area_water_sq_mi = 4.7

population_as_of = 2000
population_footnotes =
population_total = 364
population_density_km2 = 31.6
population_density_sq_mi = 81.7

timezone = Eastern (EST)
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = EDT
utc_offset_DST = -4
elevation_footnotes =
elevation_m = 0
elevation_ft = 0
latd = 37 |latm = 58 |lats = 7 |latNS = N
longd = 76 |longm = 1 |longs = 22 |longEW = W

postal_code_type =
postal_code =
area_code =
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 24-72887
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 1852600
website =
footnotes =

Smith Island is a census-designated place (CDP) in Somerset County, Maryland, United States. It is included in the Salisbury, Maryland Metropolitan Statistical Area. Smith Island is Maryland's only inhabited off-shore island in the Chesapeake Bay, and its population was 364 at the 2000 census.

In the last 150 years, Smith Island has lost over convert|3300|acre|km2|0 of wetlands due to erosion into the Chesapeake Bay. To prevent the island from being lost to erosion, restoration efforts will be ongoing for the next 50 years to restore convert|1900|acre|km2|0 of submerged aquatic vegetation and convert|240|acre|km2|1 of wetlands. [ [ US Army Corps of Engineers] Smith Island, Maryland Environmental Restoration and Protection Project Accessed October 11 2007]

People traveling to Smith Island can only access it by boat. Passenger-only ferries connect Smith Island to Point Lookout, Maryland, to the west, and Crisfield, Maryland, to the east. Tourists arriving by ferry can sleep in a guest house and enjoy seafood meals. Visitors are also charmed by the islanders' hardy fishing livelihood and devotion to the Methodist church. One visitor, the author William Least Heat-Moon, described his conversations with islanders in his best-selling book Blue Highways.


Smith Island is located at coor dms|37|58|7|N|76|1|22|W|city (37.968632, -76.022849)GR|1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 9.2 square miles (23.8 km²), of which, 4.4 square miles (11.5 km²) of it is land and 4.7 square miles (12.2 km²) of it (51.42%) is water.


The Island (actually there are several islands) are predominately low, salt marsh with an elevation of less than four feet. There are three communities: Ewell and Rhodes Point - connected by a one-mile long single lane road - and Tylerton, accessible only by boat. As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 364 people, 167 households, and 112 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 81.7 people per square mile (31.6/km²). There were 256 housing units at an average density of 57.5/sq mi (22.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 98.08% White, 0.82% African American, 0.27% Native American, and 0.82% from two or more races.

There were 167 households out of which 19.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.5% were married couples living together, 4.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.9% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.69.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 14.6% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 22.3% from 25 to 44, 34.6% from 45 to 64, and 23.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females there were 95.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.8 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $26,324, and the median income for a family was $29,375. Males had a median income of $26,250 versus $28,750 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $23,996. About 14.4% of families and 22.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.9% of those under age 18 and 67.9% of those age 65 or over.

History & Language

British settlers arrive on the island in the 1600s, arriving from Cornwall and Wales via Virginia. [ [ Claws and effect - Telegraph ] ]

The most notable feature of the island is the local dialect which is like the dialect of the West Country of England since settlers from the that region of England arrived during the early Elizabethan period [American English: Dialects and Variation by Walt Wolfram, Natalie Schilling-Estes page 109 Blackwell Publishing, 2006 ISBN 1405112662] . The dialect contains some relict features indicative of its origins but is not, as is often claimed, a surviving pocket of Shakespearean era English. [Do You Speak American? by Robert MacNeil, William Cran, Robert McCrum. Page 35 Random House, Inc., 2005 ISBN 0385511981] This dialect is like the Ocracoke Brogue [ [ The North Carolina Language and Life Project] Smith Island, MD. Accessed October 11 2007] , sometimes referred to as the "Outer Banks Brogue" [Do You Speak American? by Robert MacNeil, William Cran, Robert McCrum. Page 34 Random House, Inc., 2005 ISBN 0385511981] [Hoi Toide on the Outer Banks by Walt Wolfram, Natalie Schilling-Estes, Page 156, UNC Press, 1997 ISBN 0807846260]

mith Island Cake

Smith Island has its own region-specific traditional cuisine. The most famous dish is a locally produced cake featuring 8 to 15 thin layers [Adventure Guide to the Chesapeake Bay by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers, Stillman Rogers page 435 Hunter Publishing, Inc, 2001 ISBN 1556508891] filled with creme, frosting and/or crushed candy bars. The cake is iced with a cooked chocolate icing. The cake is often made using a commercial cake mix but with unique additions such as condensed milk. It can also be made from scratch using flour. [ [ Crisfield & Smith Island Cultural Alliance, Inc.] Smith island Cake] The most common flavor is yellow cake with chocolate icing but other flavors such as coconut, fig, strawberry. lemon and orange are also common. Known simply as the Smith Island Cake, the dessert is baked for any occasion and not reserved only for holidays. [ [ SMITH ISLAND LAYER CAKE] from Maryland Traditions] The cake is also baked as the feature prize for a local fundraising tradition called a "Cake Walk" which is a game played like musical chairs where donated cakes serve as the prize. Great attention is paid to the perfection of the layers and form of the cake. Before each round, the prize cake at stake is cut in half and shown to the players who pay to participate in the game. A poorly stacked cake may not attract many players and as a result, not raise as much money as a more perfectly executed cake. [An Island Out of Time: A Memoir of Smith Island in the Chesapeake by Tom Horton, Page 10 W. W. Norton & Company, 1996 ISBN 0393039382]

On April 24, 2008 Smith Island cake was designated as the official dessert of the state of Maryland. [ [ Smith Island Cake Now Maryland's Official Dessert] from NewsChannel 8 1:38 pm Thu April 24, 2008 - ANNAPOLIS, Md. Accessed online April 26, 2008]


External links

* [ Official website]
* [ Getting to Smith Island]
* []

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