In a recent copy of The Record [sister paper to The Aegis], the county executive describes the area that he would like to erect a new Havre de Grace High School as a triangle near Lilly Run and in front of Harris football field. Some years ago that area was know as Gas Bottom. It was one of two black settlements at the edge of the city of Havre de Grace.
There were three Negro families living in that area. They were:
• Jimmie Lee Joyner and family. He was a medical technician.
• Casey Jones and family. He was an automobile mechanic.
• Novell "Shimmy" Bond. He was a baseball manager and an entertainment agent. He brought the Black Socks baseball team, Ernie Burk to town. For entertainment he brought Ray Charles and Duke Ellington to the Havre de Grace area.
My brother and I were fond of the berry field at Gas Bottom. We went there often to pick black berries. He would pick a pail of big juicy black berries, and I would get an underwear full of chiggers. "Turtlin Jim," Mr. James Lee, Sr. would catch huge turtles in that area.
I never knew why that area was named Gas Bottom, but at one time there I did notice two spouts of a tarry liquid emerging from the ground there. Strange eh? Yes, Gas Bottom is real! And it will make a fine school location.
Marcus Stansbury Sr.
Havre de GraceCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun