The history of Deal Island is a rich and interesting one. Located on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay, it was a place that was created by the crabbing industry. Up until early last century, this industry was in full force along many of the coastal towns, including Crisfield to the south. Skipjacks were the nicknames for the boats that were used for to collect the crabs, and it was hard not to see one during those times. Unfortunately, due to over-crabbing and natural changes, there became less and less to catch, and the industry slowly settled down. However, this spirit lives on today throughout the area. Although there may only be a few of those skipjacks still in the water, the heritage is alive and well. Today it is a relaxing area that places strong values on its past, its tightly knit community, and the many preserved natural areas that hold abundant wildlife.
The Fire Department
Created in 1954, the Deal Island-Chance Volunteer Fire Department was originally housed in a former store. The one garage was all that was needed to shelter a single 1942 Ford pumper truck. Over the years, the department has grown slowly, and they now have five vehicles and a boat for water rescues. Many of the same families have been part of the department since its inception, with the responsibility of protecting the community being passed down through each generation. The department has many more members now than in 1954. However, the one thing that hasn't changed over the years is the hard work and dedication of all of those involved with the fire department.
(Photos courtesy of Eileen Cross & Donald Ford)