At noon on Saturday, the 700-foot Wetipquin Bridge will be formally named for former Wicomico County Councilman Ed Taylor.
It’s about time.
The 84-year-old retired educator and author has kept an eye on that structure, and on the water beneath, since his youth, when his uncle was tender of the old Wetipquin Ferry.
“That bridge was in bad shape before it was rebuilt. It was originally built in 1960 and it had started to crumble in some places. I was concerned,” he said.
“Down through the years I saw what kind of shape it was in and that it was one of the bridges that needed to be replaced. I would often go across it and then when I got on the County Council I always spoke up vehemently for repairs and replacement,” Taylor said.
The old ferry, he recalled, was powered by a rope, pulled by hand by his uncle.
“We’d go down to help him and he’d be glad to see four or five strong teenagers. You had to be a strong man to pull it. He used a wooden mechanism that was in his hand,” Taylor said.
At the ceremony Saturday, “I might say a couple of words,” a humble Taylor told the Salisbury Independent this week.
He served on the County Council 12 years, ending his political career in 2005. Four years later, the newly built bridge opened.
The honor of having it named for him makes him proud, he said. There’s also a little road in the county that bears his name.
“I’m proud and thankful that this is being done by the County Council and that it was requested by one of my co-workers on the Council, Councilman (Larry) Dodd. That makes it even better,” he said.
In the spring, Dodd recommended honoring Taylor, and fellow Council members agreed.
Taylor’s friend, Phil Tilghman, who served on the County Council with him, called designating the bridge “a nice tribute to one of Wicomico county’s finest public servants.”
“Quietly, he has mentored young people including inmates in the detention center.
“Ed served his country in Korea and returned home to become an educator. He served as a school teacher and administrator for his first career. He and Doretta raised three very successful children,” Tilghman said.
County Executive Bob Culver said he is “very honored to do this for Ed.”
“He took a very active role in several things, like the corrections system, to try to help people get back on track and reduce recidivism,” Culver said.
Laughing, he said Taylor refuses to tell him where his fishing hole is.
“He always catches more than I do. I’ve asked him several times, but he won’t tell me,” Culver joked.
“That sounds like something Bob would say,” Taylor said with a smile, offering only this fisherman’s tip — he drops his line in the Quantico Creek because the water is deep.
As well as being an expert angler, Taylor, Tilghman said, “is a man of great stature with a humble demeanor.”
“I am proud to have shared a part of his years of service,” Tilghman said.
Reach Susan Canfora at email@example.com.