Aug 31, 2016

1807: Jenkin Ratford, Chesapeake-Leopard affair casualty

( On this date in 1807, the British navy hanged Jenkin Ratford from the yardarm of the HMS Halifax off the coast of Maryland — an incident destined to become a rallying cry for the United States in the ill-fated War of 1812. Continued

Jul 4, 2016

Who's Killing America’s Chain Bookstores?

(Lost Bookseller) Hastings, the country's third largest book retailer, has gone under. Hastings management blames the internet, but the internet didn’t kill Hastings. No mention of its ancient POS system or its bloated headquarters full of neurotics. No mention of their bright idea to buy an East Coast DVD retailer. When was the last time anybody on the East Coast bought a DVD? Let’s call internet retailers what they are: competition. Hastings couldn’t compete because it was a bad company.
Same goes for Borders, which was a tragic case as it started out as such a good company. Continued

Mar 18, 2016

Aberdeen mayor promises continued city help with restoration of historic B&O station

(The Aegis) Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady pledged this week that the city would continue to support the ongoing community project to restore the historic B&O Railroad station off West Bel Air Avenue.
"The City of Aberdeen wants to see it done as much as you do," McGrady told Bob Tarring, who is the head of an ad hoc citizen committee formed to oversee the restoration, as Tarring and his associates gave the mayor and City Council an update Monday.
Tarring, along with Rick Herbig, of the Historical Society of Harford County Board of Trustees, and Jon Livezey, treasurer for the Aberdeen Room Archives and Museum, provided the update during Monday's city council meeting. Continued

Nov 6, 2015

Harford officials hope to preserve historic Bel Air house, golf course barn being dismantled


(Aegis) Harford County officials and the Historical Society of Harford County are working to move and preserve the historic Joesting-Gorsuch House, which had been slated for demolition to make way for five new houses to be built on the north side of the Winters Run Golf Club property near Bel Air.
The historic red barn next to the house is being dismantled this week, however, as golf club officials and Forest Hill home builder Gemcraft Homes go through the final stages of obtaining county approval to build the new houses on nearly 12 acres off of North Tollgate Road near the club entrance.
The Joesting-Gorsuch House dates to the 1730s, making it one of the oldest standing structures in Harford County. Continued

May 24, 2015

How Kentucky [and Maryland and Delaware] Became a Confederate State


(NYTimes) ... On Feb. 20, the president wrote to Missouri’s new governor, Thomas C. Fletcher, troubled by persistent violence and distrust among civilians there. “Waiving all else, pledge each to cease harassing others, and to make common cause against whomever persists in making, aiding or encouraging further disturbance.” The president implored. “At such meetings old friendships will cross the memory, and honor and Christian charity will contrive to help.” Less than two months later, Lincoln was dead, at the hands of a Marylander, John Wilkes Booth. Had he lived, he would have learned, painfully, in slaveholding border states that amity would be difficult to find, especially over the end of the peculiar institution there. Continued

Sep 10, 2014

'Our Good Frank's Patriotic Song'


(Historynet) On September 1, 1814, after the British had left the city of Washington in flames, the noted D.C. lawyer Francis Scott Key rode from his stately home in Georgetown to the White House. Key, 35, came to the torched presidential mansion to ask permission to undertake a delicate mission involving a longtime family friend, Dr. William Beanes, a prominent local surgeon.
A few days earlier, British troops had raided several farms just east of Washington, including Beanes'. The physician then organized a posse that captured several British soldiers and threw them in a local jail. One escaped and returned with company the next night, August 28, capturing Beanes and two other Americans—Dr. William Hill and Philip Weems. The men were rousted from their beds at midnight and forced to ride 35 miles to Benedict in southern Maryland, where the British were about to embark for Baltimore. Continued

The House that Mencken Built

(City Paper) ... To read “Happy Days” in Baltimore is a disorienting experience. Mencken brings the city, especially Hollins market, to such vivid life that to walk out into the actual city of the present feels both familiar and uncanny. It is almost like science fiction. He writes of his father’s cigar shop, the saloons, the African-American culture in the alleys, the Arrabers, the police, the country house in Mount Washington, and everything is at once familiar and different. As Mencken wrote in 1925, “the old charm, in fact, still survives, despite the boomers, despite the street-wideners, despite the forward-lookers, despite all the other dull frauds who try to destroy it.” Continued