Pocomoke City, dubbed "the friendliest town on the Eastern Shore", is a city in Worcester County, Maryland, United States. Although renamed in a burst of civic enthusiasm in 1878, the city is regularly referred to by its inhabitants simply as Pocomoke . The population was 4,184 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Salisbury, Maryland-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Beginning in the late seventeenth century, a small settlement called Stevens Landing (sometimes Stevens Ferry) grew at the ferry landing on the south bank of the Pocomoke River. The town was incorporated as Newtown (or New Town) in 1865, but was reincorporated in 1878 as Pocomoke City, after the American Indian name of the river, meaning “black water.”
Stevens Landing, and then Newtown, remained a modest river crossing until the construction through the town in the 1880s of the trunk railroad line along the Delmarva Peninsula from Wilmington, Delaware, to Cape Charles on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The line eventually became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad. In addition to agriculture, industry such as lumber milling and shipbuilding and, in the twentieth century, factories making barrels and baskets for truck crops, and the canning of those crops, aided the town's growth.
In 1922, the business district of Pocomoke City was destroyed in a large fire; on one side of town this continued up to the church on third Street, known as St. Mary's Episcopal Church, but the downtown was quickly rebuilt. While truck farming declined during the 1900s, the poultry industry rose to take its place. NASA, the U.S. Navy, and the Coast Guard helped with continued growth by bringing jobs to the area.
Pocomoke City held a franchise in the Eastern Shore Baseball League, at times hosting the Salamanders, the Red Sox, and the Chicks.
Pocomoke City was named an All-America City by the National Municipal League, and for the years 1984-85, Pocomoke City was one of the nine Finalist Communities. The local schools, Pocomoke Elementary, Pocomoke Middle, and Pocomoke High, hold excellence standards with several named as 'Blue Ribbon' schools in addition to numerous other awards.
The Sturgis One Room School Museum, a one-room schoolhouse, was moved to its present location in the down-town area as a museum of local African-American history. In June 2009, the Delmarva Discovery Center on the Pocomoke River, an interactive museum focusing on local ecology and history, opened. Pocomoke City's other museum is The Isaac Costen House Museum. The Mar-Va Theater is a 1927 Art Deco auditorium known for its superior acoustics, and is being restored as a regional center for the performing arts.
In addition to the Mar-Va Theater and Costen House, Beverly, Littleton T. Clarke House, Crockett House, Hayward's Lott, Pocomoke City Historic District, Puncheon Mill House, and Young-Sartorius House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
References to the municipality's status as a city or town varies according to sources. The Census Bureau accounts Pocomoke City a city, while official state documents differ. According to the Maryland State Archives, many more official documents refer to the "Town of Pocomoke City" than to the "City of Pocomoke City." The most recent references to the "Town" are from 1963, however, while the most recent references to the "City," which come from its charter, are from 1990. Other sources also differ: the Maryland Manual Online calls it as a city, while the Maryland Municipal League speaks of it as a town. While cities and towns are significantly different in some states, Maryland's cities and towns, classed simply as "municipalities," are treated equally in state law.