Dec 31, 2009

WAMD signing off air Jan. 10

(Aegis) The new year will mark an ending for one Aberdeen presence. On Sunday, Jan. 10, WAMD 970 AM will go off the air.
The station has been up and running for more than 50 years, Carol Powell, office manager with the station, said Wednesday. Continued

Booth saved Lincoln’s life

(Civil War Times) In the 140 years since the Lincoln assassination, innumerable myths, legends and astonishing statements have been circulated about the ‘crime of the century. One of the latter featured the type of clever word game that Americans have long relished: Booth saved Lincoln’s life. The statement is true, but the incident to which it refers did not involve President Abraham Lincoln and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth. Instead it refers to Edwin Booth, John Wilkes’ older brother, and Robert Todd Lincoln, the president’s only child to reach maturity. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

Dec 30, 2009

Learn about the Susquehanna's role in the Civil War

(YDR) The Susquehanna River played an important role in the Confederate campaign into Pennsylvania prior to the Battle of Gettysburg.
You can learn about the river's significance during a historical presentation from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 11, at PPL's Brunner Island Environmental Preserve.
Steve Runkle of the Susquehanna River Basin Commission will talk about the Gettysburg Campaign. Continued

Stewards sought for newest part of Cromwell Valley Park

(Towson Times) Think of it as "adopt a trail."
The primary mission of Friends of Cromwell Valley Park is to mobilize people and resources to preserve, protect and maintain the natural environment of the park on Cromwell Bridge Road.
The regional facility is now more than a 421-acre park -- thanks to the 51-acre Barrans property that was added to it this past summer. Continued

Photo: Lime Kilns at Cromwell Valley Park (Falmanac).

Paul Stookey

Noel Paul Stookey (born December 30, 1937 [in Baltimore]) is a singer-songwriter best known as "Paul" in the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. He took the stage name "Paul" as part of the trio Peter, Paul, and Mary, but he has been known as Noel (his first name) otherwise, throughout his life. Continued

Dec 29, 2009

John W. Hardwicke

(Baltimore Sun) John Webster Hardwicke, a retired Maryland judge who headed a central hearing agency to resolve conflicts between citizens and the state and also served three terms as the Harford County Council president, died Thursday of pulmonary fibrosis at Harford Memorial Hospital. The Darlington resident was 82. Continued

History of Gullibility

Where did people who'll believe anything go for misinformation before the internet? They read the Weekly World News, which has now been archived on Google Books. Link

Via boingboing

A new shoe will drop this New Year's Eve

(InYork) On a typical York County New Year's Eve, merrymakers drop a cigar, a pickle and a white rose.
Just in time for the new decade, there will be an addition: a shoe. Continued

Photo: Falmanac, some rights reserved.

Ashtabula River Railroad Disaster

(Wikipedia) The Ashtabula River Railroad Disaster (also called the Ashtabula Horror or the Ashtabula Bridge Disaster) was a train disaster caused by bridge failure. It was the worst rail accident in American history when it occurred in far northeastern Ohio on December 29, 1876, at 7:28 p.m.
One or perhaps two of the bridge designers later committed suicide. The disaster helped focus efforts to draw up standards for bridges including adequate testing and inspection. Continued

Dec 28, 2009

Maryland Historical Society names interim director

(Baltimore Sun) The cash-strapped Maryland Historical Society, which recently had to trim its museum and library hours to two days a week, has appointed the head of a Towson-based firm that focuses on making history accessible to the masses as its interim head. Burton Kummerow, president of Historyworks Inc., was named to the post Tuesday. "He reeks of history, from every fiber of his being," society board president Alex G. Fisher said. Continued

Baltimore Terrapins

(Wikipedia) The Baltimore Terrapins were one of the least successful teams in the short-lived Federal League of professional baseball from 1914 to 1915, but their brief existence led to litigation that led to an important legal precedent in baseball. The team played its home games at Terrapin Park. Continued

Dec 27, 2009

The Case of the Weird Sherlock Holmes Adaptations

(Slate) ... The mountain of Sherlock movies is vast, but it makes for treacherous, often depressing, climbing. Holmes appeared on film for the first time in 1900 in a short movie produced by Thomas Edison. Since then, he has shown up in more than 200 productions. Many are deeply weird. Continued

Stewartstown Railroad's future derailed?

(York Daily Record) For more than a year, some shareholders and supporters have been trying to get the Stewartstown Railroad back on the tracks.
They've done some work to repair the roof on the station in Stewartstown and prepared a business plan to that could allow the company to open at least a mile of track for tourist rides within a year.
But the 124-year-old railroad company is fast running out of time.
If it can't repay more than $350,000 in debt by Jan. 30, its biggest assets -- including two stations and an engine house listed on the National Register of Historic Places -- will be sold at sheriff's sale. Continued

Photos: Library of Congress

Dec 25, 2009

From New Deal to New Hard Times, Eleanor Endures

(NYTimes) Early spring, in the Depression year of 1935. A poor girl from coal-mine country, a dark-haired girl of 4, rocks beside her mother and two sisters in a car moving through the rain-swept night. Soon they will join her father, a Great War veteran who pads his shoes with cardboard. He has been working for months on some distant government relief project. When the car finally stops, the sleepy girl can see only a blur of mud and midnight. Continued

Photo: Red House, West Virginia. Ben Shahn (FSA/OWI/Library of Congress).

Dickens, Capra at the Senator Theatre

(Baltimore Sun) Charles Dickens' sometime literary heir, John Irving, once noted, "Each Christmas, we are assaulted with a new [version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol"]: indeed, we're fortunate if all we see is the delightful Alastair Sim." Robert Zemeckis' new digital version, starring Jim Carrey, is an assault, a horrible mismatch of technique and story. But the Sim version is a delight - and it's at the Senator for the holidays. Continued

Cab Calloway

(Wikipedia) Cabell "Cab" Calloway III (December 25, 1907 – November 18, 1994) was an American jazz singer and bandleader.
Calloway was a master of energetic scat singing and led one of the United States' most popular African American big bands from the start of the 1930s through the late 1940s. Calloway's band featured performers including trumpeters Dizzy Gillespie and Adolphus "Doc" Cheatham, saxophonists Ben Webster and Leon "Chu" Berry, New Orleans guitar ace Danny Barker, and bassist Milt Hinton. Calloway continued to perform until his death in 1994 at the age of 86. Continued

Dec 24, 2009

NORAD Tracks Santa

Once again, NORAD will be tracking Santa Claus as he makes his rounds tonight. "Detecting Santa all starts with the NORAD radar system called the North Warning System. This powerful radar system has 47 installations strung across the northern border of North America. NORAD makes a point of checking the radar closely for indications of Santa Claus leaving the North Pole on Christmas Eve." Link to tracker.

Dec 23, 2009

Panda does perfect tumblesault - in his sleep

(Daily Mail) The animal, called Tai Shan, was sitting in his zoo enclosure when he began to doze off, his eyes flickering open and shut before he succumbed to sleep and slumped forward.
The sleepy panda could have fallen flat on his face. But instead he popped his head between his legs and turned head-over-heels before landing on his back. Continued

This year's York steam whistle concert could be last

(York Dispatch) The annual steam whistle Christmas concert might come to an end this year because of ongoing boiler issues and high costs.
"I want to make 55 years and we'll see what happens after that," said Whistle Master Donald Ryan. "I'm 66 years old and this has been part of my life for 55 years. That's my Christmas." Continued

The Federal Reserve System

(LoC) On December 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Owen-Glass Act, creating the Federal Reserve System.
The first major banking reform to follow the Civil War, the Federal Reserve was organized to regulate banking and provide the nation with a more stable and secure financial and monetary system. It remains the central banking authority of the United States, establishing banking policies, interest rates, and the availability of credit. It also acts as the government's fiscal agent and regulates the supply of currency. Continued

Photo: Theodor Horydczak/Library of Congress

Dec 22, 2009

Critics’ Picks Video: ‘Miracle of Morgan’s Creek’

(NYTimes) This week, A. O. Scott looks at Preston Sturges’s 1944 film “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek.” The comedy, about a woman who finds herself pregnant after a wild night at a party, includes “beautifully executed slapstick sight gags,” according to Mr. Scott.
With this film and others he made during World War II, Mr. Sturges cultivated a narrative formula: “the grimmer the reality, the sillier the response,” Mr. Scott says. Continued

This movie will be playing on TCM, December 29th at noon.

Haldan Keffer Hartline

(Wikipedia) Haldan Keffer Hartline (December 22, 1903 – March 17, 1983) was an American physiologist who was a co-winner (with George Wald and Ragnar Granit) of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work in analyzing the neurophysiological mechanisms of vision.
Hartline began his study of retinal electrophysiology as a National Research Council Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, receiving his M.D. in 1927. After attending the universities of Leipzig and Munich as an Eldridge Johnson traveling research scholar, he became professor of biophysics and chairman of the department at Johns Hopkins in 1949. One of Hartline's graduate students at Johns Hopkins, Paul Greengard, later also won the Nobel Prize. Continued

Dec 21, 2009

The Young Victoria – A New Film

(HistoryNet) Question: What does Martin Scorsese, the director of films like Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver, have in common with Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York?

Answer: Queen Victoria.

Both members of this unlikely pair are listed as producers on The Young Victoria, a movie about the early years of Britain’s renowned monarch, which is making a limited American debut December 18 before expanding to wider distribution on Christmas Day. The timing is appropriate: Victoria and her husband, Germany’s Prince Albert, popularized the decorated Christmas tree as we know it. Continued


(LoC) Winter begins! The name "winter" comes from a Germanic term meaning "time of water" and refers to the seasonal precipitation. The winter solstice—the moment when the sun's apparent path is farthest south from the Equator—is used to officially mark winter's beginning. In the Northern Hemisphere, winter begins on the "shortest day" of the year, December 21 or 22, and lasts until March 20 or 22, the beginning of spring, marked by the vernal equinox, when day and night are equal in length. In the United States, this winter's solstice occurs on December 21 at 2:21 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, 7:21 P.M. Greenwich Mean Time. Those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, today celebrate the beginning of the summer season. Continued

Dec 20, 2009

The Traveler’s B & O Christmas Tree, a Holiday Tradition

(WoCCP) The tradition for kicking off the Christmas Season in Cecil County is the annual lighting of the “Holly Tree by-the-tracks.” The Baltimore & Ohio held the first public ceremony in 1948 when thousands of people gathered to ring in the season as lights from thousands of colorful bulbs on the evergreen softly illuminated the Jackson [Station], MD hillside. Continued

Link to the Cecil County Holly Tree Website.

Photos: MDRails

Dec 19, 2009

James J. Archer: A Confederate General from Bel Air

(Wikipedia) James Jay Archer (December 19, 1817 – October 24, 1864) was a lawyer and an officer in the United States Army during the Mexican-American War, and he later served as a general in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.
Taken as a prisoner of war at the Battle of Gettysburg, Archer was the first general officer captured from Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. Continued

Photos: 1. "Annotation from negative, scratched into emulsion: Briggen J.J. Archer," (Brady-Handy/Library of Congress) 2. "Old R.R. cutting where Archers Brigade of A.P. Hills Division was captured by the 14th Brooklyn 6th Wisconsin and 95th N.Y. ... 1863 July 1 (Alfred Waud/Library of Congress)

Edmund 'Ted' Stanley

(Baltimore Sun) Edmund A. "Ted" Stanley Jr., a generous but quiet benefactor to environmental causes who made a fortune in a New York financial printing business, died Wednesday of a neurological disease at his Oxford home. He was 85.
... The Stanleys were also early donors to National Public Radio's "Morning Edition." When their names were announced as donors, few listeners realized they were a couple living in Talbot County. Continued

Dec 18, 2009

Historical blizzards

The Baltimore Sun has a nice little slide show of snowstorms that hit the region over the years.
Falmanac has also covered the Great Blizzard of 1888 and the infamous Knickerbocker Storm of 1922. The Knickerbocker storm was named for a Washington D.C. theatre which collapsed in the blizzard, killing 98 people and injuring 133. Also, check out this odd story from a snowstorm in 1772. And please, whatever you do, don't forget the snacks!

Photo: The Great Blizzard of 1888 (NOAA)

Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

General Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. (December 18, 1912 – July 4, 2002) was a United States Air Force general and commander of the World War II Tuskegee Airmen.
Davis was the first African-American general in the United States Air Force. During World War II, Davis was commander of the 332nd Fighter Group, which escorted bombers on air combat missions over Europe. Davis himself flew sixty missions in P-39, Curtiss P-40, P-47 and P-51 Mustang fighters. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

Dec 17, 2009

Cal Ripken, Sr.

(Wikipedia) Calvin Edwin Ripken, Sr. (December 17, 1935–March 25, 1999) was a coach and manager in Major League Baseball who spent 36 years in the Baltimore Orioles organization, also as a player and scout. He played in the Orioles' farm system beginning in 1957, and later served as manager of the parent club, on which his sons Cal Jr. and Billy played.
Ripken's 13-plus years in the Baltimore farm system was the longest tenure of any minor league manager in Orioles history. As a manager in the minor leagues for 13 years, Ripken won 964 games, and later compiled a 68-101 record managing the Orioles. Several of his students, including Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, and most prominently his son Cal Jr., went on to Hall of Fame careers. Continued

Photo: jimmyack205, some rights reserved.

Dec 16, 2009

Civil War Santa

Huh, I thought Santa was more of a postbellum thing - I guess not. Santa, dressed in a fur trimmed flag motif, appears to have handed out socks, a pipe, a Jeff Davis puppet, and a jack-in-the-box for some drummer boys. Note the holiday activities in the background.

"Santa Claus giving gifts to soldiers in camp. Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 7, (1863 Jan. 3), p. 1. 1 print : wood engraving." (Library of Congress)

Ilya the manatee home for the holidays

( After a long, strange trip that took him up and down the East Coast, with stops in Cape Cod, New Jersey, and Maryland, the famed manatee Ilya is home for the holidays in the warm waters off of Florida.
A crane at the Miami Seaquarium lifted the 1,100-pound mammal into Biscayne Bay this morning. Continued

Dec 15, 2009

Getting beyond romanticism about the Civil War

(Slate) ... For Americans who do not compare their big, homegrown war enough with those on other continents, this can be instructive. After showing Ken Burns' film series on the Civil War to a class of German undergraduates, I was once confronted by a student who wanted to know "why are there so many moon rises and sun sets in this film, and why do you Americans always think that everything that happens to you is the biggest thing in history? Do Americans understand the scale of bloodshed and social destruction of the Thirty Years' War?" To which I could only reply, "No, most have never heard of it." Continued

Photo: Les Grandes Misères de la guerre by Jacques Callot

New Blog, “DelMar History” Focuses on Sussex Co & Nearby Areas in MD & Delaware

(RoDP) Thanks to Delmar Dustpan an informative blog concentrating on Delmar, MD/Delaware, we have came across a new weblog of interest. It is Delmar History and its publisher Harrison Howeth says it focuses on Sussex County and surrounding counties in Maryland and Delaware. The blogger is a volunteer at local historical societies in the area and he has posted some informative articles. It’s been added to our list of regular places to visit. Continued

"We thought you was a toad!" Oops, wrong Delmar.

The Capital Centre

(Wikipedia) The Capital Centre (also briefly known as US Airways Arena and USAir Arena) was an indoor arena located in Mitchellville CDP, unincorporated Prince George's County, Maryland; a suburb of Washington, D.C. Completed in 1973, the arena sat 18,756 for basketball and 18,130 for hockey. It was renamed for corporate sponsor US Airways in 1993, but reverted to its original name of Capital Centre after the airline dropped its naming rights. Most TV and Radio crews broadcasting from the venue referred to it by its nickname "Cap Centre". The venue's name is also sometimes misspelled as Capital Center, Capitol Center, Capitol Center Arena or Capital Center Arena. The venue closed in 1997 and was demolished [December 15] 2002. Continued

Photo: Tony Reonegro (

Dec 14, 2009

Cold War Museum Finds a Home

(HistoryNet) Francis Gary Powers, Jr., the Founder of The Cold War Museum (, announced today that the museum had found a physical home. The Cold War Museum will lease a modest size two story building and secure storage facility at Vint Hill, located in Fauquier County, Virginia, less than 30 miles from Washington Dulles International Airport. The lease was signed on December 1, 2009 with the Vint Hill Economic Development Authority, the owner of the 695-acre former US Army communications base.
Powers is the son of Francis Gary Powers, a CIA pilot whose U-2 spy plane was shot down over the Soviet Union in May 1960. The senior Powers was held in Soviet custody until 1962, when he was traded for Rudolph Abel, a Soviet KGB agent who had been captured by the United States. Continued

Photos: Nightening, Library of Congress

"By the People" - stirring history of the Government Printing Office

(boingboing) I've just finished reading Carl Malamud's remarkable pamphlet, By the People, the transcript of an address he gave to the Government 2.0 Summit in Washington, D.C., on September 10, 2009. Carl is the beloved "rogue librarian" who has done so much to liberate tax-funded government works, from movies to court rulings to the text of laws themselves, putting these public domain works on the Internet where they belong. Continued

Photo: My grandmother (right) setting type in New Mexico, she went on to work for the Government Printing Office (GPO) in Washington D.C., during World War One.

The Honeymoon Express

On Saturday, February 13th, the Historical Society of Cecil County will present a program titled "The Honeymoon Express: When the Marriage Industry Thrived in Elkton." It starts at 7:30 p.m. and the admission is free. Link

Video: The General George S. Patton Story

( A remarkable and informative biography comes to the screen in "The General Patton Story" as narrated by Ronald Reagan and produced by the Army Pictorial Center. Here is a story of a soldier who lived for action and glory and reached the heights in serving his country. This is a page from contemporary history devoted to the life of General George S. Patton, Jr., whose Third Army swept across the continent of Europe. It is a mirror reflecting Patton's major principle for fighting battles or a war--attack, attack and, when in doubt--attack again. On a strictly visual appraisal, the choice combat footage of General Patton presents an insight into the character of the man. No American leader was more colorful and more successful, stepping forth like some warrior of old--to lead and inspire vast forces of men. While the basic elements of "The General Patton Story" are combat sequences, the film documentary delves into the General's life with such intimate details as his inability to spell, although a model cadet at West Point. A believer in showmanship, he was aware that if the act could not be carried off in fine style, the men would see through it. Always the "old man" pushed his men harder than anyone had pushed them before. Always the results were more than they might have expected. For a commander who was so obviously a winner--they would do the impossible. Patton is a study in duty, patriotism and loyalty. Department of Defense. Department of the Army. Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations. U.S. Army Audiovisual Center. (ca. 1974 - 05/15/1984)

Richard Cassilly

(Wikipedia) Richard Cassilly (14 December 1927 – 30 January 1998) was an American operatic tenor who had a major international opera career between 1954 and 1990.
... Born in Washington D.C., Cassilly spent his childhood on a farm near Aberdeen, Maryland before moving to Baltimore, Maryland with his family in his early teens. He first became involved in music through singing in his high school's glee club. In 1946, at the age of eighteen, he entered the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University where he studied singing with Hans Heinz. As a student he sang in college productions of The Flying Dutchman (as the Steersman) and Madama Butterfly (as Pinkerton). During this time he also had the opportunity to study under Rosa Ponselle who had retired from her career and was residing in Baltimore. Continued

Photo: Wikipedia

Dec 13, 2009

One of the York Invalids describes the fight at Wrightsville

(Canonball) ... About 4 P. M. we marched out the pike towards Gettysburg. When four miles out we returned hurriedly and took the last train for Wrightsville, none too soon, for the mounted infantry of Early's Corps appeared on all the hills and formed a cordon around the town. After an exchange of shots at very long range, we arrived at Wrightsville, opposite Columbia, where some militia were entrenched, and about daylight we were thrown out on picket skirmish line. Some time about noon the Rebs began feeling their way in by shelling, the first shell passing over to the entrenchments. A cloud of dust then going towards the river, indicated that the militia were being withdrawn across the bridge and the battalion left to get all the glory. We hadn't long to wait as skirmishers soon appeared and we had it quite lively for some time. Continued

Photo: Rivertownes PA

Video: THE RURAL CO-OP, ca. 1945 - ca. 1955

"Shows how farmers in Rockingham County, Va. improved their businesses by forming cooperative enterprises. R.1. Farmers conduct business at their cooperative general store, gas station and milk plant. R.2. They work together to plan and build a new poultry plant. A typical board meeting illustrates how the cooperative organization functions."

First Couplets - A History of Odes to the Chief

(NYTimes) ... The high-water mark of American presidential poetry, most agree, was Walt Whitman's "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd," written shortly after Lincoln's assassination (in an email message, Robert Pinsky called Whitman's more classroom-friendly "O Captain! My Captain!" "pretty cornball" and "not very good"):

When lilacs last in the door-yard bloom'd
And the great star early droop'd in the western sky in the night
I mourn'd-and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

James Garfield, assassinated in 1881, fared less well, prompting a mere six lines from Whitman, along with more florid outpourings like this one from John Wesley Crouter:

He stood unmindful of his doom.
In conscious strength, manly, serene;
When fragrant flowers were in bloom
He fell - then horror enwraps the scene
James A. Garfield has gone to his last resting place,
No more on earth we'll hear his voice, or see his face


Photo: Kurz & Allison - James Garfield and family, 1882 (Library of Congress).

Steam whistle concert revived

The Steam Whistle Concert, a Christmas tradition in York, will take place again this year. And organizers are asking for help from the public to make sure it continues.
Starting at midnight on Dec. 25, Donald E. Ryan will play seasonal songs for 30 minutes on the factory whistle at the New York Wire Company on East Market Street in York. Continued

Dec 12, 2009

Christmas in Williamsburg

(Baltimore Sun) If your only exposure to Colonial Williamsburg occurred in the company of a busload of unruly middle-schoolers, you owe yourself a return visit during December, when the air is cooler, the streets are quieter and the town is dressed in its holiday finest.
... But since the 1930s, when workers were paid $1 a night to baby-sit the burning candles in the windows of the houses on Duke of Gloucester Street, Colonial Williamsburg has been the scene of a decorating competition that has only escalated despite the stringent rules that the materials used must be from nature and available in the 18th century. And, since the historic attraction began rethinking its mission in the mid-1990s and changed its lecture approach to a live theater teaching model, there is plenty happening in the Colonial city, with programs, music and events geared to the holidays. Continued

Photo: Scene of Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg, Virginia, with soldiers and wagon train, William McIlvaine, 1862. (Library of Congress)

8-year-old wants to restore Point of Rocks railroad station

(Frederick News Post) An 8-year-old train enthusiast came to Point of Rocks a few weeks ago to see one of the country's most famous historic train stations.
He left wondering why his new favorite station had fallen into disrepair, and he decided he wanted to help fix it.
"It needed to be painted and get the windows fixed," said Connor Fischer, a third-grader who lives in Darnestown in Montgomery County. Continued

Photos: MDRails

Fort Towson

(Wikipedia) Fort Towson was a frontier outpost for Frontier Army Quartermasters along the Permanent Indian Frontier located about two miles (3 km) northeast of the present community of Fort Towson, Oklahoma.
It was established in May 1824, under Col. Matthew Arbuckle, on the southern edge of Indian Territory to guard the Spanish border. It was named for Nathaniel Towson, Paymaster General of the Army.
... The last remaining Confederate Army troops, commanded by General Stand Watie, surrendered to Union forces at Fort Towson on June 23, 1865, following the Battle of Doaksville. Continued

Dec 11, 2009

Hanukkah Mix from the Idelsohn Society

(boingboing) My pal David Katznelson is co-founder of Idelsohn Society, a non-profit dedicated to the musicology of great old Jewish music. Indeed, it was named after Abraham Zevi Idelsohn, a musicologist who also wrote the classic tune "Hava Nagila." The Society reissues incredibly strange, offbeat, "space age," and fantastic vintage Jewish albums by the likes of Irving Fields, Gershon Kingsley, and The Barry Sisters. I have all of the releases and every one is absolutely fantastic. I can't recommend them enough. Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah, and in celebration David and his gang put together what is now my favorite Hanukkah compilation ever. Hit play below and head over to the Idelsohn Society to buy some CDs in support of the organization! Continued

MPT's 'Our Town' looks at Chestertown through residents' eyes

(Baltimore Sun) Maryland Public Television launches a new documentary series this week titled "Our Town." And while it's based on a simple premise, it's loaded with rich possibilities for alternative ways of storytelling and the use of new technology to empower citizens to define themselves to some extent for TV and online audiences. "Unlike a lot of historical documentaries seen on television," MPT says in a statement of purpose, "the 'Our Town' series will explore different Maryland communities through the eyes (and camera lenses) of the members of these communities." ... Perhaps, he could have hit that history a little harder, but at least he added it to the mix. Continued

Photo: Kent County Courthouse, Stable, Cross Street, Chestertown, Kent County, MD (Library of Congress)

Wayward manatee Ilya, rescued in N.J., to be released into Florida waters

( Ilya, the wayward manatee rescued in New Jersey waters, is scheduled to be released into the South Florida waters next week.
Ilya's release from the Miami Seaquarium is planned for Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. Continued

Photo: Manatee at SeaWorld (Always bored/Wikipedia)

Study shows factory tours give York County strong tourism base

(YDR) With York County's free factory tours as a draw, visitors annually pump about $1.3 billion into the local economy.
Yet, according to a recent survey, guests in the county don't know where to find the best shopping and restaurants. Continued

Link to York County Factory Tours

Mathias de Sousa

(HMDB) Mathias de Sousa was the first black Marylander. Of African and Portuguese descent, he was one of nine indentured servants brought to Maryland by Jesuit missionaries and was on The Ark when Lord Baltimore’s expedition arrived in the St. Mary’s River in 1634. His indenture finished by 1638 and he became a mariner and fur trader. In 1641 he commanded a trading voyage north to the Susquehannock Indians and, in 1642, sailed as master of a ketch belonging to the Provincial Secretary John Lewger. De Sousa departed and returned to this river many times. He anchored near here and walked to Lewger’s Manor House at St. John’s. While living there he served in the 1642 legislative assembly of freemen. No record remains of de Sousa’s activities after 1642 but his legacy of courage and success is regarded with great pride by all the citizens of St. Mary’s County and Maryland. Continued

Photo: HMDB

Dec 10, 2009

Top Ten Archaeology Finds of 2009

(National Geographic) Vampires, pirates, ghost ships, skeletons—if it isn't Halloween, it can only be one thing: National Geographic News's annual lineup of our most popular archaeology coverage. Continued

Photo: Blackbeard, a pirate

Hampton mansion opens for holiday open house, tours

(Towson Times) Hampton National Historic Site will host its Yuletide Weekend with evening tours, carriage rides and special programs Friday through Sunday, Dec. 11-13.
On Dec. 11 and 12, evening open house tours of the mansion, the largest private home in the United States when completed in 1790, will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.
Period rooms and the Great Hall, decorated by docents and volunteers, reflect different eras in the history of the mansion presenting two centuries of yuletides past. Continued

Dec 9, 2009

Rodgers Forge designated as historic by park service

(Towson Times) Move over Stoneleigh. Rodgers Forge is now also on the National Register of Historic Places.
The community recently gained that designation from the National Park Service. The process took nearly three years, according to Janice Moore, president of the Rodgers Forge community association. Continued

York City Council considers changes to historic buildings law

(YDR) Members of York City Council discussed a proposal Tuesday that would create a permit for work on historic buildings and add a penalty for work done without approval.
Councilman Cameron Texter drafted the proposed changes to the city's Historic York law, which includes the operation of the Historical Architectural Review Board.
The bill would "ensure that the City of York may continue to protect its historical properties, which exist as one of York's greatest resources and assets," Texter, who could not attend Tuesday's committee meeting, wrote in a memo. Continued

Photo: "York, PA" (Nightening)

Dec 8, 2009

Map of Malaria in the USA, 1870

(boingboing) Here is a Library of Congress map showing prevalence of Malaria throughout the United States in the 1870s. Astonishing how dangerous it was. In some places, it accounted for one-seventh of all deaths. People thought it was bad air (literally, "mal-" + "air"), figured out it was a parasite in the blood in the 1870s, but it wasn't until 1908 that a Cuban doctor made the connection with mosquitoes. Continued