Jun 30, 2006

D.H. Springhouse

The D.H. Springhouse, built by "the celebrated stone mason" David Hopkins, is easily the most elaborate springhouse in Harford County, Maryland. Some say it was built to spec and some it was designed to advertise the builder's skill. It is located along Sandy Hook Road.

Jun 29, 2006

Conowingo Dam

The Conowingo Dam's flooding again. I thought dams were supposed to control flooding? We took these pictures yesterday around three in the afternoon. It's supposed to get much worse over the next 24 hours. As usual, the town of Port Deposit will bear the brunt of it all. Two of the pictures show the dam under normal operating conditions, the rest show it with the floodgates open (more gates are expected to be opened over the next 24 hours). I doubt we'll be able to get back this afternoon for more pictures.

Latest from Port Deposit:
3:30 PM, Wednesday, 28th June 2006
The town has been advised by Conowingo Dam that it may be necessary to open up to 30 gates within the next 24 hours. 26 open gates constitutes a level 6 alert, requiring voluntary evacuation of the town. An emergency evacuation siren will be sounded. The evacuation will start on N. Main Street and proceed south, as necessary, through Town. Emergency personnel will do door-to-door search and provide advice.
An evacuation shelter located at Bainbridge Elementary School. A shuttle from the Town Hall at 64 N. Main St will be provided for those without transport. Evacuation by boat may be necessary in low lying levels of the Town. The Town will be closed to ALL incoming traffic.

The Conowingo Hydroelectric Station was built in 1928 and spans 4468 feet across the Susquehanna River. The dam is 104 feet high from the river bottom to the road (US 1) that crosses over the dam. Its eleven turbines can generate 548 megawatts of power. The dam features 53 floodgates.

Cameras: Canon EOS 5D & EOS 20D.

Jun 26, 2006

A Fair Weather Rebel

"This individual {Herman Stump} was an ardent advocate of the rebel cause in Harford County, Maryland, and was attached to a volunteer military association recruiting and getting under discipline there with a view to entering the rebel service. Apprehending arrest he fled in August, 1861, to Canada where he remained three months or more before his name was brought to the notice of the Department of State. His father and other friends then commenced importunities for some sort of safeguard for him to return home which continued till early in January, 1862, when the Secretary of War gave assurance to Stump that he would not be molested on his return home by any authority of the Government unless he should commit some offense thereafter which might make his arrest necessary. During the absence of Stump in Canada he divested himself of title to all property he previously held to guard against the danger of confiscation."*

It's interesting to note that a John Stump of Harford County got off scott free after being accused of selling grain to the British (a hanging offense) during the Revolutionary War. Could the ability to weasel out of things be genetic? Hmmm.

Anyway, Herman Stump (1837-1917) went into politics after the war and after a successful career in the state senate, he went on to Capital Hill where he championed renewal of the infamous Chinese Exclusion Act. Later he was appointed to serve as, of all things, Superintendent of the Office of Immigration.

*From "The OR."

Jun 25, 2006

Old House #8

Telegraph Road, Harford County, Maryland

Camera: Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

Jun 23, 2006

Mitchell's Shoe Peg Corn

Once upon a time, around the turn of the 20th century, Harford County, Maryland led the nation in commercial canning. The industry centered around Perryman (aka Perrymansville) and Aberdeen. Numerous fortunes were made under various brands, but only one remains today: Mitchell's Shoe Peg Corn. And even that brand is now canned under the auspices of Hanover Foods of Hanover, Pennsylvania, though still quite tasty regardless. Like so much local history, a lot of the area was annexed by the federal government to build Edgewood Arsenal and Aberdeen Proving Ground. Indeed most of the county's earliest structures came under the care of the army which later reported that the historic buildings "blowed up real good." Sigh.

Yes Virginia, there were brick outhouses

Stone too. Centre Presbyterian Church, New Park, Pennsylvania. Circa 1887

Camera: Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

Jun 22, 2006

Amos Mill

Christopher Weeks* called it "one of the most aggressively picturesque structures in Maryland," and we heartily agree. The mill sits on private property and is obviously in a dangerously dilapidated state, so mind your manners if you visit and stay a good distance from the building. It sits at an intersection and is easily viewed (and photographed), without having to get too close in.

* "An Architectural History of Harford County, Maryland" by Christopher Weeks

Cameras: Canon EOS 5D & Canon EOS 20D

Jun 21, 2006

When good architecture meets bad landscaping

Man, I hate that.

The Spesutia Rangers

HEADQUARTERS CAMP SUSQUEHANNA, Perryville, Md., May 19, 1861.
Major F. J. PORTER,
Assistant Adjutant-General.

MAJOR: I have the honor to report that last evening signal rockets were reported in direction of Aberdeen. I immediately proceeded to Havre de Grace (Lieutenant-Colonel Birney being absent) and findingthey were not according to code agreed upon considered no re-enforcement necessary. I proceeded to Aberdeen to ascertain why the rockets had been fired and at that post they were reported as having been seen in the direction of Perrymansville. Taking a guard to that point I found all quiet.
Information having been given in relation to Captain Benedict H. Kean, in command of Spesutia Rangers, William B. Michael and Thomas Wilson, Captain Hofmann, of Company E, First Regiment, Philadelphia City Guards, arrested them, the first as in command of forces hostile to United States and the two latter-named gentlemen as being engaged in destruction of bridges. The arrests were made quietly and every consideration shown to the gentlemen detained. They were taken to Perryville and lodged at my quarters. From representations made by Captain Kean and by other parties the Spesutia Rangers have not been engaged or intending to engage against the Government. His action in opposing the destruction of the bridges as represented by credible parties induced his release on parole of honor to appear if wanted. The others I believe to have been engaged in destruction of bridges and that the evidence will be ample to sustain the fact. I am now detaining them until I receive instructions from headquarters.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commanding Post.

From The OR

Jun 20, 2006


Darlington, Maryland.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

Jun 19, 2006

Brave Miss Bowman of Bush River Bridge

Gen. Isaac R. Trimble, CSA

Camp Dare, at Bush River
July 11, 1861

Col. H. H. Lockwood:
Sir: As a part of the command stationed on the line of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, we deem it but right and proper to make known to you the heroic conduct of the daughter of Mr. Bowman, the keeper of the bridge at this place, on the night of the burning of the bridge by Trimble and his men. From Mr. Smith, the master carpenter of the road, and others who where present on the occasion, we have learned the following particulars:
When the train bearing the bridge-burners had crossed the bridge, and Trimble had drawn his men in line immediately in front of Mr. Bowman's house, the object of their coming was announced in the hearing of Miss Jane by Trimble himself. She pronounced him a coward, and in a loud voice called upon the men, who had been armed by the road and placed there to protect the bridge, to defend it, and when she saw these men throw away their arms, some of them taking to the woods and others hiding within her father's house, she called upon them again not to run, but to stand fast and show themselves to be men. At this time, seeing one of the pistols lying on the floor of the porch, which had been thrown away by one of the bridge-guards, she picked it up and ran with it. Meeting Mr. Smith she gave it to him, saying at the same time, "Use it; if you will not, I will."
Another evidence of the wonderful courage and presence of mind of Miss Jane was shown in her anxiety for the safety of one of the men employed by her father to assist him in taking care of the bridge. This man was on the draw at the time the firing of the bridge commenced. Miss Jane was the first to think of him, and promptly called upon her father, or some one, to go for him in a boat, saying, "If no one else will go, I will."
In conclusion, permit us to say that such heroism in a young lady as shown in the conduct of Miss Bowman on this occasion has rarely been met with anywhere, and, in our opinion, should not be suffered to go unrewarded.

James Green
Captain Company D, First Delaware Volunteers
E. J. Smithers
First Lieutenant

From The Official Records of the War of the Rebellion. You can find the letter in the records here.

Bush River Bridge Today (Click on image to enlarge), courtesy MDRails. The PW&B is now Amtrak. The B&O (CSX) didn't run through Harford County until well after the war.

Picture of Trimble courtesy the National Park Service. I could not find a picture of Miss Jane Bowman, who's described in another letter as "not over 22 or 23, and really, for her station in life, quite an attractive young person."

Jun 18, 2006

The 1st Delaware Cavalry at Westminster, Maryland

"If it weren't for Corbit's Charge, we'd all probably be speaking Southern." Read On.

Jun 17, 2006

Country Churches: Holy Cross Episcopal

A picturesque pile protruding from an asphalt pond. Harford County, Maryland ca 1887.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

Jun 16, 2006

Almost Gone: Kurtz Furniture

Before going into the funeral business full time, the Kurtz family of Jarrettsville, Maryland made furniture. Their old shop still stands today, across the street from the Kurtz Funeral Home. I noticed a for-sale sign there the other day, so if you want a last look at the thing, now would be a good time to go. It ain't Monticello, but it is a good example of an old, largish, commercial building.

Jun 14, 2006

Another mysterious marker

A military marker in the middle of a Quaker graveyard? That's odd. Perhaps this fellow was a late convert to The Society of Friends, or perhaps he was one of many who left the church to fight for abolition in the Civil War. There was a lot of debate over the ethics of pacifism during that time and the Fallston Meeting House was no exception. You can find more pictures of the church & grounds here.

Camera: Canon EOS 5D with Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

Jun 13, 2006

Boh Man

I can't think of a better symbol for post-war Baltimore than the Boh Man. It was a time of prosperity and pleasant living for many of us. Nowadays the National Brewery is gone, just like all those good union jobs, but the Boh Man is still with us, shining down on Canton from high atop Brewers Hill. Long may he wave.