ALPCA Chesapeake Region

The regional chapter of the Automobile License Plate Collectors' Association in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. 

History of the ALPCA Chesapeake Region

The early years, 1956-1966

1960 Delaware passenger

The very first ALPCA-sanctioned plate meet held in the territory of the current Chesapeake Region (Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and D.C.), was held in September 1956, less than two years after ALPCA was founded, in Hockessin, Del.  This was only the third ALPCA gathering of any kind, anywhere. 

There's some controversy regarding whether this 1956 Delaware meet was an ALPCA convention or a regional meet.  And besides, there weren't any real ALPCA regions, yet.  The first two ALPCA events were held in Massachusetts in June 1955 and June 1956.  These and the Delaware event in September 1956 were originally called "regional meets".  An ALPCA gathering held in New York state in June 1957 was the first one actually billed as convention, but the 1960 convention was dubbed the "sixth annual convention", and every annual convention since then has been numbered consecutively from that point.  Do the math, and you realize that the 1955 meet is now considered to be the first annual convention, and the 1957 convention has to be the third annual convention.  So which of the two 1956 "regional meets" is now considered to be the second annual convention? 

As much as we'd like to claim Delaware as the site of the second annual ALPCA convention, we'll resist the temptation to do so.  The 1956 Massachusetts gathering was held in June, while the Delaware event was held in September.  Every other annual convention from 1955 through the present day has been held in either June or July, and so the Massachusetts event is a better "fit".  Rather, we'll claim the 1956 Delaware gathering as ALPCA's first "regional meet". 

Delaware did get its first uncontested ALPCA convention in 1959, in neighboring Yorklyn, while Maryland and Virginia hosted their first ALPCA conventions in 1962 and 1965, respectively. 

ALPCA Region #1, 1966-1983?

In September 1966, 18 or 19 ALPCA members petitioned the ALPCA Board of Directors to form what they called "A.L.P.C.A. Regional Unit # 1".  (It's not known today whether this was actually ALPCA's first official regional chapter, but there's no reason to think it wasn't.)  The territory of this proposed region was to consist of the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia.  The petitioners stated their intent to hold semi-annual meets.  The petition was approved by the Board, although it's not clear exactly when this occurred. 

At least two of these petitioners are still active ALPCA members today. 

The original Chesapeake Region and other regions, 1983?-1999

Apparently by 1983, if not sooner, the ALPCA Region #1 was divided into at least two regions.  Region #1 continued to operate under its original name in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  (However, in 2008, it was divided again, with the new Garden State Region taking over New Jersey, and Region #1 continuing in Pennsylvania.) 

1985 Maryland 350th Anniversay

The ALPCA Chesapeake Region was apparently formed in 1983, and held meets in the greater Baltimore area, at least.  Approximately during this same time, there was also an ALPCA Blue Ridge Region, which held its meets along the I-81 corridor in western Virginia. 

The Blue Ridge Region held its last meet in July 1990 in Elkton, Va., and became inactive.  ALPCA requires that regions hold at least one meet per year in order to maintain their active status. 

The original Chesapeake Region called its annual spring meet the "Spring Thaw Meet".  It held its last meet in March 1999 in Cockeysville, Md.  The Chesapeake Region then also went into an inactive status, as it lost the use of its regular meet venue and stopped holding meets. 

The regionless years, 1999-2010

During this time, several ALPCA members stepped up and hosted various independent meets, mostly in Virginia.  Apparently, it was just easier to host an independent meet, rather than try to start a new region or restart an inactive region. 

1970 Virginia passenger

Independent meets were held regularly each March in Annandale, Va., outside of Washington, D.C., and each April in Verona, Va. just off of I-81 near Staunton.  Another independent meet was held regularly in northern Virigina each fall, usually in September, first in Woodbridge and later in Annandale.  The Annandale meet in March continued to use the "Spring Thaw Meet" moniker, inherited from the Chesapeake Region. 

The Verona meet was discontinued after April 2008, as its hosts were unable to continue hold it for various personal reasons.  In 2009, the northern Virginia fall meet was unable to secure a venue, and there was increasing concern that the March Annandale meet, which had been using the same meeting hall, would succumb to the same fate.  (However, the March Annandale meet has been able to continue without interruption since then.) 

Another independent meet was started in Sykesville, Md. in August 2009.  The second annual Sykesville meet was scheduled for August 2010, but then in February 2010, the Sykesville meeting hall was destroyed in a roof collapse and resulting fire. 

The Chesapeake Region reborn, 2010-present

1977 Washington, D.C. truck

As the host of the Sykesville meet searched for another suitable venue, it became increasingly evident that there were distinct advantages to making the necessary arrangements as an ALPCA region rather than as an individual.  And so, a petition to re-activate the Chesapeake Region was signed by 32 ALPCA members at the Annandale meet in March 2010, and was submitted to and approved by the ALPCA Board that same month. 

Also in March, a meeting hall in Mount Airy, Md. was secured for the August 14, 2010 plate meet, which became the first meet of the re-activated Chesapeake Region.  Read about the August 2010 meet.  Find out about upcoming meets

Since then, the Chesapeake Region has continued to hold a meet in Mount Airy every August, and now also holds a second meet in Chesterfield, Va. (near Richmond) each spring.