303 Dryer Avenue
In 1833 Captain William and Elizabeth Howard built the white building (that now serves for administration offices for this private school) on a one hundred-acre tract of land. Captain William Howard, a Connecticut-born sea captain, liked the Eastern Shore so much during his visits that he returned with his wife to live here. He built the Howard Hotel, a two-story Greek Revival structure with wrap-around upper and lower porches.
As word spread, the Howard Hotel became a favorite vacation spot for wealthy Yankees and Johnnies who sought the rejuvenating waters of the natural fresh clear springs that flow on these ground. The charismatic owners, Captain William Howard and his wife, Elizabeth, were affectionately known as Uncle Billy and Aunt Betty.
Very talented musicians provided exceptional entertainment for the guests. Any guest who complained about the accommodations was provided with a boat schedule or a report on the current road conditions. During the Civil War, Uncle Billy and Aunt Betty remained loyal to the Federal Government; this did not change the high esteem in which the community held them. This building still holds fragments of canon balls that punctured the front wall and roof when the Union fleet shelled the shoreline after Admiral Farragut won the Battle of Mobile Bay in 1864. One cannon ball fragment passed completely through the building and lodged in a cedar tree behind it. After the Civil War, when times were hard, Uncle Billy built troughs to tightly control access to the fresh, clear spring water, and he was able to sell water to oceanic vessels to make extra money. Water boats transported Daphne water to ships moored at Fort Morgan when the ships were too large to enter the bay. In 1874, Uncle Billy became the first Postmaster; Aunt Betty named the area “Daphne”, because of the abundance of laurel (bay) trees in the woods. In 1894, William Dryer of Cleveland purchased the hotel; the name was changed to the Daphne Springs Hotel, and later, to the Dryer Hotel. Later renovations included removal of the upper porch and installation of dormers. In 1948, the hotel was purchased by the Catholic Brothers of the Sacred Heart, as a Scholasticate and, later, a Juniorate. Since 1970 this property has been the campus of Bayside Academy, a private college preparatory school.