Oct 30, 2006

Fallston, Maryland: Wireless Cellhole

Apple's legendary co-founder Steve Wozniak, now a wireless entrepreneur, is moving out of his multimillion-dollar home -- a fun house he built for his kids -- because it's in the middle of a wireless black spot. - Wired

I don't blame him one bit. Sprint, Cingular, T-Mobile - none of them work here. Palm, Handspring, Nextel, Blackberry - I've owned them all. You can run around your front lawn like Ultraman with his Beta Capsule for hours on end, but you won't get one damn bar. Word to the wireless: stay out of Fallston.

The uphill battle to save our old houses of worship.

By Cathleen McGuigan

Nov. 6, 2006 issue - This week, the 200-year-old neoclassical Baltimore Basilica will reopen its weighty oak doors after a two-year, $32 million face-lift. The restoration of America's first Roman Catholic cathedral is a triumph for preservationists, both for its history and design: it's considered the masterpiece of architect Benjamin Latrobe, best known for his work on the U.S. Capitol. After a dingy decline, the Basilica's lofty interior has been refashioned according to Latrobe's elegantly simple intentions, especially the restoration of skylights set high in the spectacular dome, which admit a heavenly light into the sanctuary below. But this successful makeover—paid for by private donations—highlights a real crisis: the hundreds of crumbling historic churches and synagogues across the country, whose shrinking congregations can't keep up—let alone restore—their decaying buildings. Continued ...

Oct 28, 2006

Our accidental preservationists

It's not so much that I love churches & graveyards, it's just that oftener than not, they are the only things remaining of the past. Want to see an old building or a really old tree? Skip the parks and try the local church yard instead. While it isn't the wildest scenery on earth, it is pretty in its own way - and pretty quiet too.

Oct 27, 2006

Harford County's most famous son

Harford County, Maryland's (my place of residence) most famous son is John Wilkes Booth. Not much to build a parade around.

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Oct 23, 2006

Country Churches: Calvary United Methodist

"Established in 1821 by Richard Webster and in continuous use. The Calvary United Methodist Church is a rare example of an early methodist meeting house. It is constructed of stone from a local quarry and retains it's original floor plan, including a slave gallery accessed by a separate entrance and such features as pews, hardware and later gas light fixtures." The church is located in Harford County, Maryland.

Oct 22, 2006

Just an old road

Just an old road on a gloomy day in Delta/Cardiff.

Canon 10D ©Falmanac

Oct 20, 2006

Brown Cows

All the brown cows left my corner of Maryland about 20 years ago. All that's left are the black & white variety. We saw these cows in Strasburg, PA.

Canon 20D ©Kim Choate

Oct 19, 2006


Taken at the Baltimore Museum of Industry,
and as always, click to enlarge picture.
Canon 5D ©Falmanac

Oct 16, 2006

Composing sticks

Taken at the Baltimore Museum of Industry,
and as always, click to enlarge picture.

Oct 14, 2006


My father had an uncle who was born "a little slow," real slow actually, but he wasn't slow with an oyster knife, so they sent him to work in a cannery. This was back during the Great Depression, long before the ADA. He always entered the citywide oyster shucking contest and he aways won. He was the oyster shucking champion of Baltimore every year until the day he died. Come to think of it, it's the only distinction anyone in my family has ever earned. Slow indeed.

Oct 13, 2006

Spenceola Farms

Unlike a lot of subdivisions, Spenceola Farms was known as just that (Spenceola Farms), for many a decade. Not only was it a real farm, it had a local brand of tomatoes named for it. While it's impossible to preserve all of the past for ever and ever (people have to live somewhere & there's more of us than ever before), we do like it when developers pay heed to the past when naming projects.

Oct 12, 2006

It's the insurance sign!

I love history, but I distrust nostalgia, so it was with unexpected delight that I happened onto this sign at the Baltimore Museum of Industry. The sign, or one very much like it, stood along Bel Air Road, in Fallston, Maryland, for decades. I don't know if it brought in any business, but it delighted several generations of kids, including my own. Maybe a little nostalgia's not such a bad thing after all.

Oct 10, 2006

Columbia a gem on the Susquehanna

I live in Harford County, Maryland, which is about an hour from Columbia, Pennsylvania. Despite the short distance, I've never met another Harford Countian who has ever been to Columbia, or even to her sister city Wrightsville, which is a tad closer, being on "this side" of the river. And that's too bad as both towns are worth exploring. The scene above was taken at a waterside park in Columbia during sunset.

Oct 6, 2006

Middle River, a small crossroads in the vicinity of Baltimore, Maryland.

"Middle River, a small crossroads in the vicinity of Baltimore, Maryland. FSA (Farm Security Administration) housing project (later administered by the National Housing Agency) for Glenn L. Martin aircraft workers. A trailer home." (1943)

Collier, John, 1913- photographer.

Oct 5, 2006

The last place on earth

The last place on earth I wanted to be this week was Lancaster County, but we had obligations, so off we went. While standing on the back of the train, I thought of a William Blake poem that goes:

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?

That pretty much covers it.


Oct 3, 2006


Just an old shed today. It's located near Cross Mill in York County, PA.

Canon 5D ©Falmanac

Oct 1, 2006

Toto, I don't think we're in Maryland anymore

Here's a mildly startling inscription, I came across in Little Britain, PA. It's not all that inflammatory, but it's a lot less diplomatic an inscription than those found in Maryland. Some (many), like Robert J. Brugger, like to play up Maryland as having a "middle temperament," others, like Barbara J. Fields, say that's a lot of hooey. Historically, I tend to side with Professor Fields, but when it came to tombstones, MD Civil War vets (and those mourning them), tended to keep their inscriptions on the diplomatic side. This is not always the case in Pennsylvania or Virginia and I always find it a little creepy, like maybe it would be best for me to jump in the car and head back to the "middle ground." And in this day of Neo-Confederates and Reparationists, maybe that isn't such a bad place to be, even if it only exists in the minds of a few crab-addled Free-Staters.