Born in 1917 and died in 2007. Currently Berlin’s longest-serving Mayor, Burbage was elected with five new Councilmen after a referendum outvoting a controversial sale of the Municipal Power Plant. Burbage’s accomplishments while Mayor includes numerous annexations, zoning changes, construction of a new sewer plant in 1968, acquiring $3.5 million in grants, upgrading the town’s electric company’s substation, door-to-door mail service, seeking funds for a new library and health center, and hospital eligibility for Berlin. The John Howard Burbage Park is named after him and located opposite the Berlin Municipal Power Plant. Along with the Town Council, Burbage purchased the Calvin B. Taylor House in 1982 due to the result of the town’s movement to preserve the house and create a museum to revitalize downtown Berlin. In the 1980s, Burbage and the Town Council “passed an ordinance returning Maryland Avenue to its original name, Branch Street, effectively erasing one of the town’s major dividing lines” (Davis, 2015).
Burbage’s residency often came under scrutiny as he split his time between Salisbury and Ocean City. Burbage had been a farmer and had worked as a clothier with Greenberg’s Clothing Store in Selbyville. For 36 years, he operated and owned the Style Guide clothing store until his retirement in 1993. He was the president of the Lower Shore of Maryland Mayors Association, owner and operator of Ocean Downs Raceway, and served in the United States Army. Burbage’s wife was Dorris Long Burbage, with whom he had two children, John H. “Jack” Burbage Jr. and Barbara Ann Burbage Ross.
Davis, J. (2015, February 12). Examining racial progress in Berlin. Bayside Gazette. https://baysideoc.com/app/files/issues_file/02.12.15_Bayside_Gazette_Issue.pdf.
DispatchAdmin. (2007, April 18). 04/19/2007: We remember those who have past: News ocean city MD. News Ocean City Maryland Coast Dispatch Newspaper. https://mdcoastdispatch.com/2007/04/19/we-remember-those-who-have-pasted-4/.