Jan 31, 2010

Summit scheduled for preserving tobacco barns

(delmarva.com) A coalition of historic preservation groups has scheduled a meeting today to discuss methods available to help save Maryland's remaining tobacco barns.
The coalition -- made up of representatives from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Maryland Historic Trust, Preservation Maryland and several Maryland counties -- created a special fund five years ago for preserving barns. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

Tallulah Bankhead

(Wikipedia) Tallulah Brockman Bankhead (January 31, 1902–December 12, 1968) was an American actress, talk-show host, and bon vivant. ... Tallulah Bankhead died in St. Luke's Hospital in New York City of double pneumonia arising from influenza, complicated by emphysema, on December 12, 1968, aged 66, and is buried in Saint Paul's Churchyard, Chestertown, Maryland. Her last coherent words reportedly were "Codeine... bourbon." Continued

Image by Carl Van Vechten

Jan 30, 2010

Apollo 11 moon site given historic status

(AP) Sandwiched into the same agenda as an old Southern Pacific railroad roundhouse and a 19th-century raisin grape farm, Tranquility Base seemed way out of place for a California preservation panel to be considering Friday.
More than 221,000 miles out of place, in fact. Continued

Image: NASA

National Zoo panda Tai Shan to fly to China on custom plane

(Washington Post) Talk about service -- a huge new airplane with your own logo on the side, only eight people on board, including your doctor, a member of the opposite sex right beside you and more than 50 pounds of your favorite food available "on demand." Continued

Photo: Smithsonian

Jefferson's Library

(LoC) After capturing Washington, D.C. in 1814, the British burned the U.S. Capitol, destroying the Library of Congress and its 3,000-volume collection. Thomas Jefferson, in retirement at Monticello, offered to sell his personal library to the Library Committee of Congress in order to rebuild the collection of the Congressional Library.
Jefferson's library not only included over twice the number of volumes as had been destroyed, it expanded the scope of the library beyond its previous topics—law, economics, and history—to include a wide variety of subjects in several languages. Continued

Jan 29, 2010

Howard Zinn, Historian, Is Dead at 87

(NYTimes) Howard Zinn, historian and shipyard worker, civil rights activist and World War II bombardier, and author of “A People’s History of the United States,” a best seller that inspired a generation of high school and college students to rethink American history, died Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif. Continued

Gettysburg Foundation president quits after three months

(YDR) Barely three months into his role as president of the Gettysburg Foundation, retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Richard A. Buchanan has quit. ... The Gettysburg Foundation operates the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center and raises money to fund other Gettysburg preservation projects. Its partnership with the National Park Service has served as a model for other federal initiatives.
But the nonprofit's decade-long history has also been controversial -- particularly in recent years. Continued

Jan 28, 2010

B&O Railroad Museum: Day Out With Thomas

B&O Railroad Museum April 23-25 & April 30-May 2

J. D. Salinger, Enigmatic Author, Dies at 91

(NYTimes) J. D. Salinger, who was thought at one time to be the most important American writer to emerge since World War II but who then turned his back on success and adulation, becoming the Garbo of letters, famous for not wanting to be famous, died Wednesday at his home in Cornish, N.H., where he had lived in seclusion for more than 50 years. Continued

County eyes Keystone Weaving Mills site in West York

(YDR) York County's planning commission has proposed to work with two developers to redevelop the old Keystone Weaving Mills manufacturing complex on West Market Street in West York, according to the commission.
The commission and the developers, The Ingerman Group and PFG Capital, plan to demolish all but four buildings on the site, said Chris Rafferty, the commission's administrator of housing and community development.
They plan to redevelop one building into an 80-unit apartment building, Rafferty said, and the other buildings into commercial and office space. Continued

Jan 27, 2010

Md. senator was GOP 'maverick'

(Baltimore Sun) Charles McC. Mathias Jr., Maryland's liberal Republican who served three terms in the U.S. Senate, where he gained enduring bipartisan respect for his conscientious approach to controversial legislation, died Monday from complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 87. ... Called a "maverick" Republican by some, he was a consistent supporter of organized labor, an occasional dove on defense issues and an early advocate of revitalizing the Chesapeake Bay when that was not a significant issue. Continued

Coffin’s Emblem Defies Certainty

(NYTimes) When the remains of hundreds of colonial-era Africans were uncovered during a building excavation in Lower Manhattan in 1991, one coffin in particular stood out. Nailed into its wooden lid were iron tacks, 51 of which formed an enigmatic, heart-shaped design. The pattern was soon identified as the sankofa — a symbol printed on funereal garments in West Africa — and it captured the imagination of scholars, preservationists and designers. Ultimately, it was embraced by many African-Americans as a remarkable example of the survival of African customs in the face of violent subjugation in early America. Continued

Image: Wikipedia

Jan 26, 2010

Historians on the hunt for frozen, 86-year-old camera

(boingboing) Did George Mallory and Andrew Irvine make it to the top of Mt. Everest three decades before Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay? A group of historians hope to finally have proof—one way or the other—sometime next year, when they will set out to investigate what they believe is Irvine's body. Continued

Photo by Arkku, some rights reserved.

More than 1,500 Baltimore County acres earmarked for preservation in 2009

(North County News) Baltimore County placed 26 properties into preservation programs in 2009, for a yearly total of 1,596 acres. In all, the county has preserved 55,000 acres on its way to a goal of preserving 80,000 acres. ... The largest farm preserved is the 200-acre Harford Partners’ farm in Monkton, which borders Harford County and is part of the original My Lady’s Manor land grant, according to a statement released Jan. 20. Continued

Jan 25, 2010

Skinner UnaFlow Steam Engine Needs a New Home

(Steampunk Workshop) I received a very interesting email a couple of days ago from a fellow who was tearing down the old Nichols and Stone factory in Gardner, MA. It seems at the center of this turn-of-the-last-century brick building was a Skinner Unaflow steam engine and alternator that he simply did not have the heart to scrap and would I like to see it and perhaps put out the word that it was available?
Would I like to poke about in a 100+ old factory building and check out a steam engine? Continued

Photo by Jake von Slatt, some rights reserved.

1787: American Daniel Shays leads rebellion to seize Federal arsenal to protest debtor's prisons

(Wikipedia) Shays' Rebellion was an armed uprising in central and western Massachusetts (mainly Springfield) from 1786 to 1787. The rebellion is named after Daniel Shays, a veteran of the American Revolution who led the rebels, known as "Shaysites" or "Regulators". Most of Shays's compatriots were poor farmers angered by what they felt to be crushing debt and taxes. Failure to repay such debts often resulted in imprisonment in debtor's prisons or the claiming of property by the County. Continued

Jan 24, 2010

Canned Beer Turns 75 - A Short History

(Yahoo! News) Be sure to crack open a cold one on Jan. 24, the day canned beer celebrates its 75th birthday.
New Jersey's Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company churned out the world's first beer can in 1935, stocking select shelves in Richmond, Va., as a market test. ... Canned brewskies may have only hit shelves in 1935, but the drink's history goes back much further - at least 6,000 years, in fact, to ancient Iraq. Continued

Photo: greenmon's

Preserving a part of the city's German past

(Baltimore Sun) The first German immigrants began settling in Maryland in the 17th century. By 1723, they were living along the Chesapeake Bay, in what became Baltimore, before the city was laid out in 1729. They were so numerous that four of the seven members of the town council were Germans, and the first official "town clock" was in the steeple of the German Reformed Church, near today's City Hall. The early Germans in Baltimore made their living as carpenters, cobblers, teachers, tailors, physicians, piano-makers, sugar refiners, glass-makers and tobacco merchants. Continued

Photo: Maryland Historical Society

A Priceless Fragment of American Folk Blues History

(boingboing) Lead Belly was a man whose temper kept him in trouble with the law. Bob Dylan described him as "one of the few ex-cons to record a children's album". But he is best known as the "King of the 12 String Guitar". Like the Carter Family, his extensive recording career was responsible for documenting and preserving scores of folk songs that would not have survived otherwise. His importance to American folk music can't be overemphasized. This clip is the only time he ever appeared on film- a treasure of the first magnitude. Continued

1916: Supreme Court of the United States declares the federal income tax constitutional

(Wikipedia) Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, 240 U.S. 1 (1916), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court upheld the validity of a tax statute called the Revenue Act of 1913, also known as the Tariff Act, Ch. 16, 38 Stat. 166 (Oct. 3, 1913), enacted pursuant to Article I, section 8, clause 1 of, and the Sixteenth Amendment to, the United States Constitution, imposing a federal income tax. The Sixteenth Amendment had been ratified earlier in 1913. The Revenue Act of 1913 imposed income taxes that were not apportioned among the states according to each state's population. Continued

Cartoon: John Scott Clubb, 1913 (Library of Congress).

Jan 23, 2010

Paul Harvey in cahoots with J. Edgar Hoover?

(Washington Post) ... Harvey tried to be of service beyond the FBI as well, writing in 1956 to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who had made a name for himself by hunting down alleged Communists in the federal bureaucracy, with tips about "known Reds" at a Texas Air Force base. A senior FBI official added a handwritten notation to ensure that Harvey's letter not be distributed outside the bureau's top brass: "No dissemination since identity of Harvey cannot be revealed." Continued

Pa.'s Civil War flags need cash for upkeep

(YDR) Forty-nine years after they had last carried them in battle, the surviving flag bearers from Pennsylvania's Civil War regiments again hoisted their unit's colors and marched through Harrisburg in a light rain.
Once they reached the Capitol, the veterans -- many of whom cried at the sight of the banners they rallied behind in their youth -- stood the regimental flags in tall, round glass cases on the rotunda floor.
There the flags remained for decades, wrapped around their staffs, warping and decaying. Continued

Jan 22, 2010

Group raising money to save piece of battlefield land

(YDR) America's largest preservation group has launched a campaign to raise $75,000 in hopes of permanently saving a 2-acre piece of land on the Gettysburg Battlefield.
When its goal is met, the Civil War Preservation Trust plans to sell the land to the National Park Service -- which has already allocated $300,000 toward the purchase. In the meantime, the Trust has the land under contract.
Acquiring the property -- which lies directly along Emmitsburg Road and was originally part of the historic Philip Snyder farm -- has long been considered a top priority by Gettysburg National Military Park officials, spokeswoman Katie Lawhon said. Continued

Image: "Pursuit of Lee's army" (Edwin Forbes/Library of Congress).

Poe descendants reject moving his body from Baltimore

(Baltimore Sun) Edgar Allan Poe should rest in peace, and right here in Baltimore. Saturday in Richmond, Va., a representative of the Poe family came down foursquare against the idea that their famous ancestor's body should be moved anywhere, but still didn't decide which American city can best lay a dominant claim to the author. Continued

Linking the Keys

(LoC) On January 22, 1912, the nearly twenty thousand residents of the city of Key West, Florida, located on a small island some 128 miles south of the Florida peninsula, observed the completion of an overseas rail connection to the mainland. The Florida East Coast Railway served the island until 1935, when it was destroyed by a hurricane. It was replaced in 1938 by the Overseas Highway, built on the foundation of the old railroad bed. This system of forty-two bridges, which connects the Florida Keys to the mainland, is one of the longest over-water roads in the world. Continued

Photos: MDRails

Jan 21, 2010

Fundraiser for historic Eden Mill set for Jan. 31

(Ægis) A shrimp and bull roast fundraising event for Eden Mill Nature Center will be held Sunday, Jan. 31, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Jarrettsville Gardens.
Proceeds will benefit the nature center and its popular programs for children, adults and families. Continued

Photo: Falmanac, some rights reserved

Johnny Oates

(Wikipedia) Johnny Lane Oates (January 21, 1946–December 24, 2004) was an American catcher and manager in Major League Baseball.
Born in Sylva, North Carolina, Oates graduated from Prince George High School in Prince George, Virginia, before going on to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. Oates played baseball as a catcher with the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees from 1970 to 1981, but never excelled as a hitting threat (batting just .250 with 14 home runs and 126 RBIs over his career) and was hampered by injuries at various points during his career. He began his career as a regular in 1972 and retired partway through the 1981 season. Continued

Jan 20, 2010

No Poe Toaster This Year

(Baltimore Sun) A longtime tribute to Edgar Allan Poe may have come to an end with the absence of the "Poe Toaster," who for more than half a century has marked the poet's birthday by laying roses and a bottle of cognac at his original grave site. This is the first time since Jan. 19, 1949 that the person, whose identity is unknown, failed to arrive, said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Edgar Allan Poe House. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

First January Inauguration

(LoC) On January 20, 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. president sworn into office in January. It was his second of four inaugurations; the first had been held fours years earlier on March 4, 1933. Roosevelt's first inauguration had been shadowed by the onset of the Great Depression—within a week of taking office, the new president had declared a federal bank holiday. Continued

Jan 19, 2010

23rd Paper Americana Shows Returns to Elkton on Jan 30

(Window on Cecil County's Past) The popular Paper Americana show returns to Singerly Fire Company on January 30. For the 23rd year, the show will bring over thirty dealers from several states to Elkton to offer for sale antique books, postcards, newspapers, art prints, advertising & regional collectibles, photographs, and general ephemera. Singerly Fire Hall is located at the intersection of Rt. 279 and Rt. 213. Admission is $3.00 per person ($2.00 if you bring a copy of this posting) – children under 12 years admitted free of charge. Hours are 10: a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Food provided by the Ladies Auxiliary. Link

Photo: Postcard of North Beach, Maryland.

Jan 18, 2010

1983 – The International Olympic Committee restores Jim Thorpe's Olympic medals to his family

(Wikipedia) Jacobus Franciscus "Jim" Thorpe (Sac and Fox (Sauk): Wa-Tho-Huk) (May 28, 1888 – March 28, 1953) was an American athlete. Considered one of the most versatile athletes in modern sports, he won Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, played American football at the collegiate and professional levels, and also played professional baseball and basketball. He lost his Olympic titles after it was found he was paid for playing two seasons of semi-professional baseball before competing in the Olympics, thus violating the amateur status rules.
Of Native American and European American ancestry, Thorpe grew up in the Sac and Fox nation in Oklahoma. He played on several All-American Indian teams throughout his career, and barnstormed as a professional basketball player with a team composed entirely of Native Americans.
In 1950, Thorpe was named the greatest athlete of the first half of the twentieth century by the Associated Press (AP). In 1999, he was ranked third on the AP list of top athletes of the 20th century. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress

Jan 17, 2010

The Pragmatic Innovator

(LoC) Benjamin Franklin was born on January 17, 1706, in Boston, Massachusetts, but his adopted home was Philadelphia, the largest city in eighteenth-century America. His many accomplishments as printer, scientist, and statesman are particularly remarkable when considered in the context of colonial North America. A spirit of pragmatic innovation imbued all of Franklin's intellectual, social, and scientific pursuits. He dedicated himself to the improvement of everyday life for the widest number of people and, in so doing, made an indelible mark on the emerging nation. Continued

Danuta Mostwin, doctor and acclaimed writer

(Baltimore Sun) Danuta Mostwin, an author, psychologist and sociologist who had been a member of the Polish underground during World War II and whose fiction chronicling the experiences of Polish emigres earned her two nominations for the Nobel Prize in literature, died Monday of Parkinson's disease at her Ruxton home. Continued

Photo: Ohio University Press

Jan 16, 2010

The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act

(Wikipedia) United States federal law established the United States Civil Service Commission, which placed most federal government employees on the merit system and marked the end of the so-called spoils system. The act provided for some government jobs to be filled on the basis of competitive exams. Started during the Chester A. Arthur administration, the Pendleton Act served as a response to President James Garfield's assassination by Charles Julius Guiteau. The Act was passed into law on January 16, 1883. Continued

Photo: An engraving of James A. Garfield's assassination, published in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. The caption reads "Washington, D.C.—The attack on the President's life—Scene in the ladies' room of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad depot—The arrest of the assassin / from sketches by our special artist's [sic] A. Berghaus and C. Upham."

Jan 15, 2010

Mathew Brady

(Wikipedia) Mathew B. Brady (1822 – January 15, 1896) was one of the most celebrated 19th century American photographers, best known for his portraits of celebrities and the documentation of the American Civil War. He is credited with being the father of photojournalism. Continued

Photos: Library of Congress

Jan 14, 2010

Black Schools Restored as Landmarks

COLUMBIA, S.C. (NYTimes) - Until 1923, the only school in the largely black farm settlement of Pine Grove was the one hand-built by parents, a drafty wooden structure in the churchyard. Anyone who could read and write could serve as teacher. With no desks and paper scarce, teachers used painted wood for a blackboard, and an open fireplace provided flashes of warmth to the lucky students who sat close.
This changed after a Chicago philanthropist named Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck, took up the cause of long-neglected education for blacks at the urging of Booker T. Washington, the proponent of black self-help. By the late 1920s, one in three rural black pupils in 15 states were attending a new school built with seed money, architectural advice and supplies from the Rosenwald Fund. Continued

Photo: This Rosenwald School, in Abingdon, Maryland, was recently torn down.

Steam train might be headed to York County rail trail

(York Daily Record) A group of local private investors is proposing to operate a steam train along the York County rail trail from New Freedom to Hanover Junction.
If approved by the county commissioners, construction would begin soon on a Civil War-era style locomotive, tender and passenger cars, expected to arrive in the county within three years, according to a news release from Steam into History Inc.
The group, which made its presentation this morning, is asking commissioners to approve an operating agreement permitting use of the county-owned railroad tracks. Continued

Photo: MDRails

Confederate Raider Raphael Semmes: Catch Me If You Can!

(HistoryNet) Flames exploded from the deck of the merchantman Golden Rocket, devouring in minutes its tar-coated rigging and masts. On that night-dark sea off Cuba on July 3, 1861, the blaze engaged all the senses: the whoom-whoom-whoom of air sucked into the crackling holds, the heat (even across 500 yards of water) reddening the skin, the stench of tar and timber turning to ash.
Flames reflected in the eyes of those watching from the deck of the Confederate raider CSS Sumter. Golden Rocket’s crew, prisoners all, probably cursed beneath their breath. And although some of Sumter’s sailors may have cheered, others probably mourned the potential prize money lost to the fire. As the charred mainmast followed the flaming mizzen into the sea, Commander Raphael Semmes, the raider’s captain, alternated between melancholy at the cost of the war and elation at his first victory over the Yankees. In time, as Semmes ravaged the Union’s maritime commerce, his melancholy would melt away, leaving embers of martial fervor that often blazed as brightly as Golden Rocket. Continued

Illustrations: Library of Congress

Jan 13, 2010

Historic Bridge For Sale

(WBAL) The Maryland State Highway Administration says the MD 545 Bridge would be available for purchase by any city or county government, historic preservation organization, bicycle/trail group, other non-profit organization, corporation or individual for reuse at a new location.
Funds may be available for some of the costs associated with the relocation of the bridge; however, the new owner will be responsible for preserving the bridge, which is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in accordance with established standards for historic bridges. Continued

Photo: MD SHA. Story via Window on Cecil County's Past.

William Brydon

(Wikipedia) William Brydon CB (10 October 1811 – 20 March 1873) was an assistant surgeon in the British East India Company Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War and is famous for being the only European of an army of 4,500 men to reach safety in Jalalabad after the long retreat from Kabul. Continued

Image: 'Remnants of an Army' by Elizabeth Butler portraying William Brydon arriving at the gates of Jalalabad as the only survivor of a 16,500 strong evacuation from Kabul in January 1842.

Jan 11, 2010

Genealogy Basics Workshop, Jan. 16

(HSoCC) While you have your snow shovel out this winter, think about digging up a little history with the Historical Society of Cecil County’s winter programs. You can start digging at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 16 by uncovering your roots with a program entitled ”Getting Started With Your Family history: An Introduction to Genealogy.” This three-hour workshop will introduce you to the basics of genealogical research. You will learn about the online resources available to you , as well as the records at our local historical society and the National Archives in Washington, D.C. The Society has access to records and databases you might not know about.This workshop is intended for everyone even if you don’t have Cecil County family roots. The workshop is free for members of the Society and is $5 for non-members. The program will be held at the historical Society at 135 E. Main Street, Elkton. Link

Photo: My great-grandmother standing in front of her parents' portraits, circa 1950.

Bayard Taylor

(Wikipedia) Bayard Taylor (James) (January 11, 1825 – December 19, 1878) was an American poet, literary critic, translator, and travel author. Taylor was born on January 11, 1825, in Kennett Square in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Continued

Jan 10, 2010

Francis X. Bushman

(Wikipedia) Francis Xavier Bushman (January 10, 1883 – August 23, 1966) was an American actor, film director, and screenwriter. His matinee idol career started in 1911 in the silent film His Friend's Wife, but it did not survive the silent screen era.
Bushman, like many of his contemporaries, broke into the film business via the stage. He was performing at Broncho Billy Anderson's Essanay Studios in Chicago, Illinois, where he was first noticed for his muscular, sculpted frame. He appeared in nearly 200 feature film roles—more than 175 films before 1920, and 17 in his screen debut year of 1911 alone. He also worked for the Vitagraph studio before signing with Metro in 1915. Bushman was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Continued

Photos: Maryland Historical Society

Jan 9, 2010

Gen. Lew Allen, Who Lifted Veil on Security Agency, Is Dead at 84

(NYTimes) Gen. Lew Allen Jr., who held influential positions in United States military and scientific spheres, including chief of staff of the Air Force, but who gained the widest attention as the first National Security Agency director to discuss the agency’s ultrasecret work publicly, died Monday in Potomac Falls, Va. Continued

Image: U.S. Air Force via Wikipedia

Earl G. Graves, Sr.

(Wikipedia) Earl Gilbert Graves, Sr. (born January 9, 1935) is an American author, publisher, entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of Black Enterprise magazine. He currently resides in Scarsdale, New York.
... While at Morgan State, Graves made a name for himself as an entrepreneur. Realizing that there was a big market for flowers during Homecoming Week, he went to two competing local florists and cut deals with both to sell flowers on campus. For a percentage of the profits, the florists provided the flowers while Graves covered the campus. Continued

Jan 8, 2010

Mary Clyde Streett, Spenceola Farm owner

(Baltimore Sun) Mary Clyde Streett, who helped operate a once-thriving Harford County tomato cannery, died of dementia Dec. 26 at the Bel Air Convalescent Center. She was 98. Born Mary Clyde Spencer in Forest Hill, she worked alongside her father in his canning operation in Frogtown, between Bel Air and Forest Hill. Continued

Photos: 1. Spenceola Farms Tomatoes (Falmanac) 2. Child Laborer in Maryland, c1909, by Lewis Hine/Maryland Child Labor Committee

Tune In, Turn On, Turn Page

(NYTimes) In the winter of 1960-61, when their lives began to overlap in Cambridge, Mass., Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Andrew Weil and Huston Smith resembled tweedy extras from “Mad Men.” These future psychedelic pioneers were still buttoned-down intellectuals and careerists, men who leaned more toward martinis than marijuana.
Leary and Mr. Alpert (soon to be known as Ram Dass) taught in Harvard’s psychology department. Leary was a charismatic West Point dropout with a Ph.D. from Berkeley. Mr. Alpert was a brilliant lecturer — later in “The Harvard Psychedelic Club,” Don Lattin compares him to “a psychedelic Mort Sahl” — and a closeted gay man whose father was president of the New Haven Railroad. Continued

1838: Alfred Vail demonstrates a telegraph system using dots and dashes

(Wikipedia) Alfred Lewis Vail (September 25, 1807, in Morristown, New Jersey – January 18, 1859) was a machinist and inventor. Vail was central, with Samuel F.B. Morse, in developing and commercializing the telegraph between 1837 and 1844. Vail and Morse were the first two telegraph operators on Morse's first experimental line between Washington, DC, and Baltimore, and Vail took charge of building and managing several early telegraph lines between 1845 and 1848. He was also responsible for several technical innovations of Morse's system, particularly the sending key and improved recording registers and relay magnets. Continued

Images: Smithsonian Institution, Wikipedia

Jan 7, 2010

The Simple Time in American History

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John Oliver searches for the simple time in American history. "One day you will be crying like a little girl on television because of the America that you have lost."

Jan 6, 2010

Overlea to get Md. natural history museum

(Baltimore Sun) The Natural History Society of Maryland houses a wall of cloudy-eyed snakes, drawers full of fossils, rocks, and skeletal remains of behemoths, shelves displaying Native American artifacts and glass-enclosed cases with mounted birds. More than 50,000 specimens, some preserved for more than a century, pay testament to the state's rich natural heritage and the society's tenacity at saving them. Continued

Image: Library of Congress

Baltimore fire of 1904 recalled in museum tour

(Towson Times) The Fire Museum of Maryland will host its annual Great Baltimore Fire of 1904 Museum and Bus Tour on Feb. 7, the anniversary of the fire.
This fire destroyed 140 acres of downtown Baltimore in less than 30 hours.
Historian Wayne Schaumburg will give a brief introduction and slide show at the museum before leading a tour of the downtown area destroyed by the fire. Continued

Image: Library of Congress

Ghosts of Cocktails Past

(T) The Jack Rose is the classic cocktail that never got invited to the oldies reunion. While other sours, such as the daiquiri, the Daisy, the Sidecar and select others, are revered and reinterpreted in their dotage, this mainstay of the 1920s and ’30s has fallen so far out of circulation that few still know its name. More’s the pity, for when properly made it is one of the canon’s stronger pillars, and a perfect sip when the post-equinox winds set in.
The drink is simply a sour made from apple brandy — or applejack, as it was known from Colonial times through Prohibition — with grenadine syrup as the sweetener. Its name is attributed to any number of colorful characters, including a famous gangster stool pigeon, but it most likely comes from the shortening of applejack and the dusty rose color the drink attains from the grenadine and citrus. Continued

Image: Library of Congress