This week, a large crowd gathered at the Wittman Post Office for a 150th birthday celebration. Wittman and the surrounding area is known as “Pot Pie” and local lore attributes this savory name to an elderly woman who cooked pot pies that she offered to watermen returning home after a long day on the water. Another belief is when the local preacher of the church visited a parishioner’s home and was offered refreshments, he always asked for a pot pie.
At the celebration, historical memorabilia were proudly displayed. One plaque listed the names of the eighteen persons who have previously served as Postmaster. The first Postmaster, from 1869 to 1875, was Mrs. Emily Wittman, whose family originally settled in the area in the 1860’s.
A historical photograph from the early 1900’s showed the general store across the street from the current Post Office location. Residents originally received mail at the general store. After the store closed, the Post Office moved across Pot Pie Road to its current location. Today the Post Office serves not only Wittman residents but also the communities of McDaniel and Sherwood. With the closing of the Asbury Methodist Church across Pit Pie Road, the Wittman Post Office is the unofficial gathering spot for the area’s communities.
Several dignitaries or their representatives attended the event to offer their congratulations. State Senator Addie Eckardt read both the Citation signed by Governor Larry Hogan, Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford and Secretary of State John C. Wobensmith and the Resolution from the Senate of Maryland; State Delegates Christopher Adams and Johnny Mautz read the Official Citation from the Maryland General Assembly; Mike Arntz represented Congressman Andy Harris and read his Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition. In addition, Postmistress Chris Henckel received new United States and State of Maryland flags. The United States flag once flew over the US Capitol building.
After the dignitaries’ presentations, Wittman’s oldest native resident and landlord for the Post Office, Mr. Clarence Marshall, 93 years young, cut the cake and the party began. Several previous Postmasters posed for pictures along with Postmaster Carl Starlipper from the St. Michaels Post Office on this momentous occasion.
Several tents with refreshments were set up for shade but the large crowd spilled out into the street. I enjoyed chatting with my neighbors and meeting new ones. As I walked home, I reflected upon how much I appreciated my neighborhood for its small size, congenial neighbors and its diverse mix of newcomers and descendants of original settlers that makes Wittman a very special place.
Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.