Chesapeake City is a historic waterfront village on the Eastern shore of Maryland. The town was built in 1829 and grew along the Chesapeake and Delaware canal – one of only two commercially vital sea-level canals in the United States and the third busiest in the world still today.
In 1876, Henry Brady—operator of the mule-barge team that pulled ships through the Canal— built the home at 104 Bohemia Avenue to celebrate the birth of his first son. The residence is the largest and most ornate on the street, a Victorian Gothic with Italianate and Stick decoration. Many of the design elements we see today were the modern innovations presented at America’s centennial exhibition in Philadelphia.
The second owner of the home was Ralph Rees, who ran the wharf business on the Canal and built the first grocery and hardware store next door (currently town hall). The 10’ x 10’ annex to the left of the home was built for business purposes because at the time, you could not run a business in your home. At one point, there were several other similar structures in town, but the one at 104½ Bohemia Avenue is the only remaining. It has been occupied by many business over the years—even a jail!
In the mid 20th century, Chesapeake City was greatly depressed until a group of local citizens in the 1970s sought to revive the once active Canal town. Homes and businesses in downtown Chesapeake City were restored to their former grandeur and placed on the Historic Register. At this time, the home at 104 Bohemia Avenue was converted to the bed & breakfast you see today—the first in Cecil County. Many of the original fine architectural details have been preserved, including the ornately stenciled ceilings, early American tile art, and everything from the floors to the doors to the window frames.
After 30 years in the hospitality industry as a chef and director of food services at hotels and hospitals across the east coast, Bob Roethke, with his wife, Carol, a pediatric nurse practitioner at a Delaware hospital, took over the Inn in 2009. It brings them great pleasure to share their historic home and town with guests from all over the globe.