Sep 30, 2007

Country Churches: Old North Bend

"Well, it had been
a Methodist church, were these Methodists?
He believed it wasn't anybody like that,
no sir, he said: it is some of these
holy-sanctified God damn people."
- Henry Taylor

I had a little difficulty trying to find the history of the Old North Bend Church, in Harford County, Maryland. The church had changed hands and it wasn't listed in any of the usual books. I finally found the new owners on the web. Turns out the church started out as Presbyterian and is now the "New Life Church of God." I don't know what that is, but I'm glad they bought the place. They have found a place to worship & are preserving our history at the same time. They could have just as easily built some McChurch out on the highway.
It's a common fact that things change, but hard to accept nonetheless. Every day I look at my neighbor and think, "well at least I didn't go bald," and every day he looks at me and thinks, "well at least I didn't get fat." They are petty things, just like a church changing hands. It shouldn't bother us much.

Canon EOS 30D & EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens

A couple of items from the papers

Museums enjoy their free for all

The gamble of free admissions at Baltimore's two largest art museums seems to be paying off. Admissions are soaring, and both the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Walters Art Museum report that they are attracting a more diverse crowd than ever before. Link & a link to Baltimore's "Free Fall" events calender.

Man seeks a home for black history

In a county that has museums for boats, rural art and duck decoys, John T. Lee Sr. says there is a noticeable omission in Harford's repertoire. Link

Hunters outfox sport's challenges

Upon the huntsman's command, the hounds sprinted out ahead, followed closely by riders galloping across a farm field on a clear, crisp morning. The entourage -- about 40 crossbred hounds leading 25 horsemen -- raced over rolling hills spread across four farms in Harford and Baltimore counties, a spectacle of action focused on pursuit of a single, diminutive yet tricky creature: a fox. Link

On Hallowed Ground, a Place of Painful Beauty

IT'S strange that a military graveyard should be so lovely, but lovely is the only way to describe the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, 26 miles northwest of Verdun. As exquisite as any French park or chateau grounds, the cemetery is a formal garden of perfectly clipped trees, immaculate lawns, fountains and roses and long white rows of grave markers. Given its beauty, it's also strange how empty the place is — and stranger still since this is the largest American military cemetery in Europe, the burial site of 14,246 United States service members who died in the war to end all wars. Link

Reconstructed slave cabin opens, adding realism to Mt. Vernon

MOUNT VERNON, Va. - The homes of the nation's first presidents receive as much care and attention as any historic sites in the nation. Special societies raise money to preserve and protect them. Researchers dote on the finest points of their architecture and family heritage.
But until recent years, there was little focus on a painful reality in the history of several of the founding fathers: George Washington, who led the colonial forces seeking freedom from the British; Thomas Jefferson, whose Declaration of Independence proclaimed the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and James Madison, who wrote the Constitution "in order to . . . secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," all owned slaves. Link

Quote of the day: "It used to be that people moved to where the jobs are," Plosila said. "Now they move to where they want to live and find a job there." Link


Country Churches: What's in the basement?

Old churches often have strange looking doors in the foundations. After a considerable amount of theological rumination, I have decided that they must be soul holes. The one at the top is extra secure because there's a competing church right across the street. The church at the bottom recently changed denominations, so I figure there was a mass breakout. Why don't new churches have soul holes? It was incorporated into the air conditioning.

Canon EOS 30D & EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens

Sep 28, 2007


I've always liked this building. It never seems to be open, and yet it is always in good repair. It sits on Harford Road, between Fork and Cub Hill.

Canon EOS 30D & EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens

Sep 27, 2007

Sept. 27, 1941: First Liberty Ship Launched, More to Follow

(Wired) SS Patrick Henry, the first Liberty ship, is launched at the Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard near Baltimore, Maryland.
Originally referred to as "emergency vessels," these cargo ships were among the first to be mass-produced. Numbers were critical as the Allies hustled to recover from the staggering losses wrought by German submarines during the Battle of the Atlantic.

These vessels became known as Liberty ships after President Roosevelt, christening the Patrick Henry, quoted the ship's namesake: "Give me liberty, or give me death." Continued

Sep 26, 2007

Filling station

U.S. Route 1 (Bel Air Road), Kingsville, Maryland

Canon EOS 30D & EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens

What to protect from rising seas?

(AP) Rising seas will ultimately swamp the first American settlement in Jamestown, Va., as well as the Florida launch pad that sent the first American into orbit, many climate scientists are predicting.
As they see it, it's just a matter of time. Link

Sep 24, 2007

Piney Grove (Boring: part 3)

Just a mile or so out of Boring, Maryland sits Piney Grove Church & School. The town of Piney Grove dates from the 18th century and had always been a free Black community. The schoolhouse has been educating children since the 1870's (at least), though today it serves as a community building.

Author Louis Diggs writes: The most significant point of the book is that though there were many Black families residing in Piney Grove as far back as the 1700s, and that many Black families owned their own homes and farms, yet today there is not one single Black family now residing there - this is the primary reason for the title of my book, "Holding On To Their Heritage." Blacks still own property there, but none reside there. You can read more about his book here.

We are starting to notice a pattern of segregation in our travels around Maryland. It seems like the larger towns were segregated by race within the town, while the smaller villages were entirely segregated. So with Boring, you also have Piney Grove, with Fallston, Benson. I can't say this with any authority, it's just something we recently noticed.
If you're researching a small town, it is always useful to visit the area around the town as well - it may have a sibling.

Canon EOS 30D & 20D

Sep 22, 2007

Turtles Ho!

Annapolis (Examiner) - Box turtles in the path of the looming Intercounty Connector are getting a second chance.
“What we’re doing is moving turtles out of the area prior to clearing for construction,” said Holly Shipley, the environmental compliance specialist for the ICC, a highway that will link Interstate 95 in Prince George’s County with Interstate 370 in Montgomery. “We’ve gotten transmitters to put on the turtles collected to start tracking them.” Continued

Sep 20, 2007

Country Churches: Boring UMC

Boring, Maryland
Canon EOS 30D & EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens ( I really like this lens!)

Sep 18, 2007

Great interviews of the 20th century: F Scott Fitzgerald

"As a boy, my father lived in Montgomery County, Maryland. Our family has been mixed up quite a bit in American history. My greatgrandfather's brother was Francis Scott Key who wrote The Star- Spangled Banner; I was named for him. My father's aunt was Mrs Suratt, who was hanged after the assassination of Lincoln because Booth had planned the deed in her house - you remember that three men and a woman were executed.
"As a youngster of nine, my father rowed spies across the river. When he was 12 he felt that life was finished for him. As soon as he could, he went west, as far away from the scenes of the civil war as possible." Continued.

Photo by Carl van Vechten, Library of Congress

Preservationists hope to save historic school

Bel Air, Md. (Examiner) - Preservationists hope they’ll have one last chance to save an endangered piece of Harford County’s history from the wrecking ball by persuading the county not to pay for its demolition.
The 126-year-old Bel Air Academy on Gordon Street has been slated for demolition by the Board of Education since last year, when officials decided the land would be better used to add parking, additional playground space and a bus loop for the adjacent Bel Air Elementary School. Continued.

Canon EOS ? (I can't remember, either a 20D or a 5D.)

Sep 17, 2007


After floundering around in the ludicrously tasteful ostentation of Hunt Valley, Maryland, we finally emerged in Boring. The Wiki says it was "An important stop on the Western Maryland Railroad, it is very small, consisting of about 40 houses, the Boring Methodist Church, Boring Volunteer Fire Company organized in 1907, and the Boring Post Office but still has a postal code: 21020. It is known for its unusual name, which wasn't named for the pace of life, but for postmaster David Boring."
Despite its name & its size, Boring rates three posts here at Falmanac. Stay tuned for the other two.

Canon EOS 30D & EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens

Sep 15, 2007

Country Churches: Monkton ME

Monkton, Maryland

Photos by Kim Choate, Canon EOS 20D & EF-S 10-22 lens

Sep 13, 2007


Hobotopia is the home of the Laugh-Out-Loud Cats, a great comic strip that cleverly weaves the past and present into one funny panel. You can also see them on flickr.

Sep 11, 2007

Old House #19

Looks like this fine old house and the mill/factory/store next to it are getting a well deserved makeover. People will often demolish an old house in order to construct a replica of an old house. This strikes me as odd.

Monkton, Maryland
Canon EOS 30D & EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS lens

Sep 10, 2007

What they wore back then

I found a convenient guide to fashion of the Civil War era at the Mason-Dixon Sewing Co.


Drawers- The first piece to be put on.

Chemise- The Chemise goes over the drawers. It is was used to keep the corset clean and from rubbing against the body. It is worn on the shoulders.

Corset- The Corset goes on next, over top of the Chemise. When worn correctly the top edge lines up with the bust point. When laced securely it gives the proper foundation for the dress bodice

Cage Crinoline or Hoopskirt- Is worn over the Corset. This is the contraption that is so popular of the time period and is what gives you the proper silhouette.

Petticoat- To be worn over the hoop. The Petticoat keeps the boning of the hoop from showing through the skirt and is an essential part of the lady's wardrobe.

Finally, the dress is put on over top of the head and adjusted accordingly.

Now you know.

Photo of the "Monument Street Girls" from the Library of Congress

Sep 9, 2007

Happy Birthday Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier!

AKA the Marquis de Lafayette, or Lafayette as he liked to be called. He was born in September 1757. This month marks his 250th birthday.
It's been said that Lafayette was "a statue in search of a pedestal," and if that's true, he certainly would have liked this area. There is a statue of him in York, PA and one (pictured above) in Havre de Grace, Maryland.
Havre de Grace was named after some remarks made by Lafayette upon visiting the place; that it reminded him of Le Havre in France. Before that, it was called Harmer's Town.
Lafayette was commissioned a major-general in the Continental Army at the age of 20 and served, according to George Washington, with "a large share of bravery and military ardour."

Sep 6, 2007

BRAC: Who's safeguarding our history?

"Upgrades and expansion will bring minor or temporary increases in noise and air pollution, possible long-term degradation of wetlands and the potential loss of historic structures ranging from World War II to the earliest days of Harford County's settlement, the impact study said." - Baltimore Examiner

The oldest house in Harford County, "Maxwell's Conclusion" was built on Gunpowder Neck in the 18th century and burned down by the Army in the 20th.

Our descendants will despise us for having thrown away the best of our culture. - Alan Lomax

Sep 5, 2007

What happened to the Bel Air Roller Rink?

(Bel Air News & Views) ... A reader (Thank you!) emailed me last week wondering what had happened to the Bel Air Roller Rink on Conowingo Road.
In its place, next to the new 1st Mariner Bank branch, the curved roof line of the old landmark is still visible but the structure beneath is being shortened and divided into three different stores. Continued (with photos!)

Sep 3, 2007

Oystermen to organize

(Baltimore Sun) A group of watermen who say the state is not doing enough to sustain the Chesapeake Bay's troubled oyster industry are launching a new advocacy group.
In July, Jimmy Kline, a Cecil County waterman, filed paperwork with the state to form the Maryland Oystermen Association, a nonprofit based in Rock Hall. Once the application process is complete, Kline said he expects about 100 watermen to join. Continued.

Boh Clam pilfered from

Sep 2, 2007

Country Churches: Mount Joy AME

It's a common event - visiting a church where people were born slaves and died free - but always a thought provoking one.

Monkton, Maryland
Kim Choate, Canon EOS 20D

Sep 1, 2007