Wye Island Natural Resources Management Area

​​

History

For over 300 years, Wye Island was privately owned and managed for agricultural use, including tobacco and wheat farming. Two of the most noteworthy owners were William Paca and Charles Beale Bordley. Mr. Paca, third governor of Maryland and one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence, owned half of the island north of Dividing Creek. Mr. Bordley was a distinguished lawyer and jurist who owned half of the island south of Dividing Creek. In the 1770's Mr. Bordley gave up his law career to devote his life to farming and make Wye Island totally self-sufficient. Under Mr. Bordley's control, the island prospered with its own vineyards, orchards, textile production, brick yard, and even its own brewery.

Eventually the island was sold off into separate farms. The most influential owners were Glenn and Jacqueline Stewart. Ultimately they owned a majority of the land and turned Wye Island into a cattle ranch. The Stewart's built the hunting lodge (Duck House), which remains today on Granary Creek. In the mid 1970's the encroaching threat of residential development forced the State of Maryland to purchase the island to ensure its preservation.

If you would like to learn more about Wye Island, you may want to read the book "WYE ISLAND" by Boyd Gibbons which describes the history of the island.​