Carr's Beach

1970 USGS Map showing Carr's Beach location

Carr's Beach adjoined Sparrow's Beach on the south side of Annapolis.

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Vacationers enjoying Carr's Beach.

Vacationers enjoying Carr's Beach.

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Known Name(s)

Carr's Beach


Annapolis, Maryland

Establishment Type(s)


Physical Status



A 26-acre beach club, including the Bengazi Room, the concert pavillion, amusement rides, picnic area and a beach with access to the bay, located on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay south of Back Creek and south of Sparrow's Beach.

Detailed History

By the late 1920s, African Americans who traveled to Ocean City, Maryland witnessed the efforts by whites to reduce their access as each summer a smaller and smaller amount of ocean-front beach was made available for their use.  Henry’s Hotel, which was the only African American hotel in the ocean side resort, was primarily used by the staff of the resort’s hotels rather than tourists.  The opening of Carr’s and Sparrow’s beaches in the 1930s provided middle class African American beach goers with access to the Chesapeake Bay for day trips rather than a destination resort such as Golden’s. Two Carr sisters, Elizabeth Carr Smith and Florence Carr Sparrow, each owned a strip of beach that they had inherited from their father, Frederick Carr, in 1929. 

A 1942 article in the Afro-American by Ida Murphy Smith summed up the difference between Carr’s and Sparrow’s.  The news story noted that Carr’s Beach would feature “famous bands all summer long” along with swimming and dining.  Elizabeth Carr Smith died in 1949 and her son took over running the beach.  By the early 1950s, Baltimore businessman Willie Adams had acquired the property and expanded its entertainment venue to attract big name musicians such as Chuck Berry (1956), Sarah Vaughan (1956) and Little Richard (1962) among many others.  Another feature was the amusement park with Ferris wheel and merry-go-round.  Different groups frequently sponsored beauty pageants, and Hoppy Adams from WANN-AM regularly hosted the concerts.  The beaches closed in the 1970s and the land was sold for condominiums.  WANN continued broadcasting until the late 1980s and then was sold.   

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