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Archive for maryland

Old London Town

By Linda Tancs

London Town—Maryland, that is—boasts a colonial history that was all but forgotten following a change in trade routes that basically shuttered the thriving port town by the end of the 18th century. Thanks to a revival in interest sparked by an archaeological dig, the colonial seaport just 15 miles from Annapolis is now brimming with activities and interactive exhibits staffed on weekends with costumed interpreters. The crown jewel of the historic area is the William Brown House, a National Historic Landmark. Built by merchant William Brown to be an upscale inn and tavern, the Georgian-style brick mansion later functioned as an almshouse in the 1820s and continued to shelter the destitute until 1965. The area also features more than 10 acres of beautiful woodland and ornamental gardens, a colonial-era carpenter’s shop and the recreated Lord Mayor’s Tenement on the former site of a home for low-income families.

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The Oldest State Capitol

By Linda Tancs

The Maryland State House is the oldest state capitol still in continuous legislative use and is the only state house ever to have served as the nation’s capitol. The Old Senate Chamber is where George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and the Treaty of Paris was ratified, marking the official end of the Revolutionary War. Of particular interest is the lightning rod on the dome of the state house—a Franklin rod, constructed and grounded to Benjamin Franklin’s specifications. Protruding 28 feet into the air, the rod is anchored at its bottom to the top of the dome, which has been the defining landmark of the Annapolis skyline for more than 225 years.

The History of Susquehanna

By Linda Tancs

The Susquehanna River, named for the Susquehannock Indian tribe, is the Chesapeake Bay’s main tributary river, stretching from Upstate New York to Havre de Grace. The Indians depended upon the river for food and transportation for thousands of years, leaving their mark among the petroglyphs visible at landmarks such as Rock Run Gristmill. The mill is just one of many attractions located within Susquehanna State Park in the Rock Run Historic Area along the river valley. You’ll also find the Carter-Archer Mansion (a 14-room stone structure), Jersey Toll House and the remains of the Susquehanna & Tidewater Canal. You can take a self-guided walking tour. When you’re finished, head for the biking trails. The park is home to some of the most popular mountain biking trails in the state.

Maryland’s First Capital

By Linda Tancs

Just two hours from Baltimore is historic St. Mary’s City, Maryland’s first capital. Visitors can explore outdoor exhibits on the banks of St. Mary’s River set on 800 acres of beautiful tidewater landscape and discover how archaeologists and historians uncovered this treasured part of Maryland’s past. A National Historic Landmark, it’s one of the best preserved English colonial archaeological sites in North America. St. Mary’s was also the scene of many notable firsts in America’s early history: the first effort to free religion from government in America, the first legislator of African descent in North America and the first woman to petition for the right to vote in colonial America. Plan an overnight stay at The Inn at Brome Howard, located on the museum grounds. Once the center of life in St. Mary’s City, it’s a perfect example of a mid-19th century gentleman’s plantation house built for Dr. Brome.

 

Plantation Life in Maryland

By Linda Tancs

A National Historic Landmark, Sotterley Plantation is the only tidewater plantation in Maryland that is open to the public. Located in Hollywood in Southern Maryland, the Colonial-era site boasts a 1703 plantation house, a rare and restored slave cabin and an abundance of outbuildings set amidst nearly 95 acres overlooking the scenic Patuxent River. Older than George Washington’s beloved Mount Vernon, visitors can also enjoy nature trails, bird watching and an array of archeological exhibits from excavations on the grounds.

The Birthplace of American Railroading

By Linda Tancs

The birthplace of American railroading is a 40-acre historic site in Baltimore, Maryland. It incorporates the place where the first stone of the Baltimore & Ohio Rail Road was laid on July 4, 1828, by Charles Carroll, the last living signer of the Declaration of Independence. The B&O was the first common carrier railroad in the Western Hemisphere, and the B&O Railroad Museum preserves and interprets architecturally and historically significant buildings and structures. For instance, the Mt. Clare depot is the oldest surviving building on the museum’s campus, built in 1851 to provide improved passenger service for Baltimore’s southwest neighborhoods. But the most iconic structure is likely The Roundhouse, a passenger car repair shop built in 1884. Alongside it is the Annex, which serves as the museum’s main entrance.

Civil War Medicine

By Linda Tancs

Frederick, Maryland, was at the crossroads of the Civil War, witnessing multiple invasions, including two major battles (South Mountain and Monocacy) involving hundreds of thousands of Union and Confederate soldiers marching through the community. Given the city’s witness to history, it’s an appropriate location for the National Museum of Civil War Medicine, a research facility boasting five galleries, over 1200 artifacts and knowledgeable docents. As the name implies, the museum focuses on the medical story of the war.

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