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Historic Tome Gas House

The Historic Tome Gas House was built circa 1850 of Port Deposit granite. Originally used to generate power for the Jacob Tome mansion, it has been faithfully restored and serves as a visitor center and research facility for the study of the endangered Northern Map Turtle.

Map Turtles are Back in Town!

From now until mid-July, female Northern Map Turtles are commonly seen in town while looking for places to nest. Because of restrictions from the state due to Coronavirus, the usual team from Towson University may not be able to respond to come get turtles as they have in years past. However, you can still reach the team leader, Dr. Richard Seigel by phone (410-704-3123) or via email ( and he will call you back with instructions as to what to do with any turtles you might find.

The basics are quite simple:

1) Unless the turtle is in immediate jeopardy (for example, near a road or driveway), let the turtle “do its thing” with no disturbance from you. The turtles know how to make their way back to the river without our help in most cases.

2) If the turtle is in jeopardy or is ‘stuck” somewhere, you can place it in a bin, cardboard box, or other safe container and then call Dr. Seigel. He will arrange a “contact free” pick up within an hour or so. Please be sure to keep the turtle out of direct sunlight while waiting for someone from TU to come up.

3) Hatchling turtles are also commonly seen this time of year. These can be brought down to the edge of the river and released into the water or held as above until Towson staff can make their way to town.


Thanks for your assistance!

Students from the Biology Department of Towson University started studying the endangered northern map turtles in Port Deposit in 2008.  In 2013, the Town of Port Deposit and Towson University formed a partnership to save the species and bolster ecotourism.  The Historic Tome Gas House building in Marina Park has been renovated for a Welcome Center and research facility for the species.


In 2014, The Council of the Town of Port Deposit approved Resolution 05-2014 to adopt the Northern Map Turtle as the Town mascot. Our mascot is affectionately named “Rhonda” after the tenacious turtle that has dodged trucks and made her way across parking lots to nest every year in Port Deposit. 

Click here to watch our video on You Tube.

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