Jan 12, 2007

So, how'd all this raven stuff get started anyway?

Many Marylanders associate the Baltimore Ravens name with Edgar Allen Poe, but that's not the real story, or at least not the whole story.

It all started back in the 19th century when the colorful Gilmor (no "e") family made a fortune in the Baltimore shipping industry. Like all good antebellum Southerners, Robert Gilmor was a Sir Walter Scott fan; so much so, that he built his house to look just like "Abbotsford," Scott's estate across the Atlantic. Having a Scottish house he decided to give it a Scottish name: Glen Ellen. (Ellen after his wife, and Glen being Scottish for, uh, glen.) Many years later the family donated their estate to build a reservoir which they named, in Scottish fashion, "Loch Raven," after a portion of the estate called Ravensrock. Then came Loch Raven Boulevard, Glen Arm, Waverley, etc., and the rest is history.
Of course the fact that Poe died in Baltimore, while on one of the great all time benders in literary history, only added to Baltimore's association with the doleful crow.
Are there any actual ravens in Maryland? I've never seen one, but according to the Maryland DNR, you can find them in the western portions of the state. See here for more information. For more on the Glen Ellen estate go here.


kim said...

Wow! I didn't know that. And I bet many others don't know it either. Thanks!

Mary Rayme said...

A house (Ravenhurst?) or some such burned down on Halloween night some years back.

The ravens here are large and plentiful. They are the gatekeepers to Otter Creek and can be seen around the hills of WV quite often. Their call is different than a crow, but similar. Their "caw" is rougher and froggier as if they were up all night shouting at the neighbors. You can always here a raven beore you see it for this reason...

falmanac said...

Another good example. Ravenhurst was the home of the very late Gen. Trimble of the very late Army of Northern Virginia. The house was in the carpenter gothic style and dated from the 1850's. I went to see if anything was left the day after it burned - there wasn't.