Oct 31, 2010

The 150-Year War


(Tony Horwitz) ... The Civil War abounded in eloquence, from the likes of Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, the Southern diarist Mary Chesnut and warriors who spoke the way they fought. Consider the Southern cavalryman J. E. B. Stuart, with panache, saying of his father-in-law’s loyalty to the Union: “He will regret it but once, and that will be continually.” Or Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman, brutal and terse, warning besieged Atlantans: “You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it.”
These and other words from the war convey a bracing candor and individuality, traits Americans reflexively extol while rarely exhibiting. Continued


Pontiac, 84, Dies of Indifference


(NYTimes) Pontiac, the brand that invented the muscle car under its flamboyant engineer John Z. DeLorean, helped Burt Reynolds elude Sheriff Justice in “Smokey and the Bandit” and taught baby boomers to salivate over horsepower, but produced mostly forgettable cars for their children, will endure a lonely death on Sunday after about 40 million in sales. Continued

Image: The death of Pontiac by De Cost Smith (Library of Congress).

Old Trinity Cemetery's Visitation Day Returns Today


(Carroll Eagle) On Sunday, Oct. 31, The Friends of Old Trinity Cemetery will host its annual visitation day to the historic Eldersburg cemetery that the organization began restoring in 1990, and continues to maintain. As in past years, the visitation ceremony and celebration begins at 3 p.m. and will include prayer, music and costumed actors reenacted various distinguished “visitors from the past” who are buried at the cemetery, which dates back to the early 19th century. Continued

Oct 30, 2010

Native Americans focus of two November lectures



(Lancaster Online) William Penn had a grand vision for peaceful interaction between European settlers and the indigenous natives of Pennsylvania.
It didn't really work out that way. ... A panel of local Native Americans and researchers will present "Native Americans of Lancaster County" at Lititz Moravian Church, 8 Church Square, Lititz, at 7 p.m. Monday.
And, at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, author John Ruth will describe Penn's "Dream & Disappointment" at Weaverland Mennonite Church, 210 Weaverland Valley Road, East Earl. Continued

Image: William Penn's Treaty with the Indians by Benjamin West.


Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788


(NYTBR) On Sept. 17, 1787, the convention that had been sitting in Philadelphia for four months to design a new form of government for the United States adjourned, offering its handiwork to the nation. Almost a year later, on Sept. 13, 1788, Congress declared that the Constitution had been duly ratified, and prescribed the rules for the first presidential election the following year. Pauline Maier’s delightful and engrossing book shows how America got from the first date to the second — and ultimately to today, since we still live with the same document, however modified. Continued

QMx Presents: The Raven read by John De Lancie



Daniel Nathans


Daniel Nathans (October 30, 1928 – November 16, 1999) was an American microbiologist. ... Nathans served as President of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland from 1995 to 1996.
Along with Werner Arber and Hamilton Smith, Nathans received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1978 for the discovery of restriction enzymes.He was also awarded with National Medal of Science in 1993. Continued

Oct 28, 2010

Historic Yorktowne Hotel owners surprised by filing


(YDR) The owners of the Yorktowne Hotel had been attempting to amend the terms of its loan with PNC Bank when they received a surprise.
On Friday, the bank filed a complaint with the York County Court of Common Pleas that York Hotel Group had defaulted on its loan and owes $5.26 million, which includes the principal, interest, attorneys' fees and late fees.
The bank has scheduled that the historic hotel be sold at sheriff's sale at 2 p.m. Feb. 7. Continued

Image of Yorketowne Hotel by Nightening

Start-up businesses planned for historic Armory


(Aegis) High school rock bands won’t be the only ones setting up shop in area garages, if Bel Air’s ultimate plan for the Reckord Armory on Main Street goes through.
Behind the newly-revitalized armory are four old garages the town hopes to open for business — specifically, startup businesses that need a helping hand.
Planning and zoning director Carol Deibel envisions a year-round farmer’s market and galleries or other small shops setting up in the spaces.
“The garages just seemed to offer a tremendous opportunity,” Deibel said. Continued

Photo by Kim Choate

Bowie Kuhn


(Wikipedia) Bowie Kent Kuhn (October 28, 1926 – March 15, 2007) was an American lawyer and sports administrator who served as the 5th commissioner of Major League Baseball from February 4, 1969 to September 30, 1984. He served as legal counsel for Major League Baseball owners for almost 20 years prior to his election as commissioner. Kuhn was born in Takoma Park, Maryland, grew up in Washington, D.C. and graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School. Continued

Oct 27, 2010

Harford, Cecil waterfront poised for federal parks aid


(Baltimore Sun) A stretch of Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay waterfront between Harford and Cecil counties could be among the first areas to win federal funding for the construction of "water trails." The National Park Service has identified the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway as a priority segment of what will be the first combined land and water trail in America. The national designation will help the non-profit group that runs the heritage area to secure federal funding for its plan to link existing trails along the Susquehanna River and build more, ultimately into a 40-mile network of waterside walkways through the two counties. Continued


Columbia PA Civil War markers and sites



(Cannonball) Columbia is now establishing a small waterfront park, which is the first step to revitalizing the long neglected riverfront. The town is sprinkled with Civil War markers, many of which were erected by the Pennsylvania Civil War Trails commission. Here is a sampling. Continued

Image: Will the South rise again? It's doubtful, but Columbia doesn't seem to be taking any chances with this bridge.

1954: Benjamin O. Davis Jr. becomes the first African-American general in the United States Air Force



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: Col. Benjamin O. Davis, full-length portrait, and Edward C. Gleed, wearing flight gear, standing next to airplane, and looking upward, at air base at Rametti, Italy (Library of Congress).

Oct 26, 2010

U.S. recognizes actual railroad as Underground Railroad historic site



(Lancaster New Era) The national network of Underground Railroad sites has lacked an actual railroad — until now.
A portion of Amtrak's Keystone Corridor — stretching from Lancaster to Philadelphia — has just made the list.
The National Park Service announced Oct. 21 that the busy, 70-mile-long stretch of rail, formerly the Philadelphia & Columbia Railroad, has been recognized for the role it played when slaves fleeing Southern slave states hid in specially designed boxcars en route to Philadelphia. Continued


Image: Abandoned railroad station along Keystone Corridor, Gap, PA (MDRails).

The Coal House burns



(wvmetronews.com) The Coal House, which was built back in 1933, housed the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce and served as an unofficial museum for Mingo County according to Office of Emergency Services Director Jarred Fletcher.
"You go through the archives of the county, the Hatfields and McCoys and the different things we have to offer here in our county were lost,” Fletcher said. “It's kind of the showplace of the county with all the souvenirs and different things they had on display there." Continued

Image by Badagnani, some rights reserved.

Oct 25, 2010

Katharine Byron


(Wikipedia) Katharine Edgar Byron (October 25, 1903 – December 28, 1976), a democrat, was a U.S. Congresswoman who represented the 6th congressional district of Maryland from May 27, 1941 to January 3, 1943. She was the first woman elected to Congress from Maryland. Continued

Oct 24, 2010

Paris Review Editor Frees Menagerie of Wordsmiths


(NYTimes) The first issue of The Paris Review under its new editor, Lorin Stein, hit newsstands recently, and it’s a thing of sober beauty. ... Mr. Stein’s most radical act since taking over from Philip Gourevitch is visible only on the 57-year-old magazine’s crisply redesigned Web site, theparisreview.org. He’s made the entire run of The Paris Review’s storied interview series, previously almost impossible to find in electronic form, available there, free for the browsing. If there’s a better place to lose yourself online right now, I don’t know what it is. Continued

Holland one of bay's eroding, formerly inhabited islands


(Baltimore Sun) For 15 years, Stephen White battled the elements. But time and tide have claimed another remnant of the Chesapeake Bay's fading maritime culture. White, a Methodist minister and former waterman, poured his sweat, savings and even a little blood into trying to preserve the last house on Holland Island, an eroding stretch of sand and marsh in the middle of the bay, about six miles offshore from here. The two-story frame structure, which he figures was built 112 years ago, was the last vestige of what was once a thriving fishing community of more than 300 residents, with 60-some homes, a church, school, stores and a social hall. A fleet of skipjacks, bugeyes and schooners docked there. The community had its own baseball team and a band, histories recall. Continued

Photo: "Holland Island lighhouse, Maryland. Photo predates the lighthouse's destruction in 1960." (U.S Coast Guard via WIkipedia).

Mansberger was a 'connoisseur of historical junk'


(Baltimore Sun) Arthur G. "Whitey" Mansberger, one of Baltimore's great collectors and dealers of what he called "old stuff" for more than 30 years, was mentioned last week in Jacques Kelly's column. I became acquainted with Mansberger in the early 1970s, through Earl Arnett, who was then a Sun feature writer. Earl said that Mansberger was a character, and he wasn't kidding. Continued

Oct 23, 2010

Disputed Va. textbook wasn't reviewed by history experts


(Washington Post) State officials had no historian review the textbook "Our Virginia" before it was distributed to fourth-graders last month with a passage saying - wrongly, according to most scholars - that thousands of African Americans fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. The Virginia Department of Education has long said that its textbooks are vetted by review committees "made up of content specialists, teachers and other qualified persons." But department spokesman Charles Pyle said Thursday that the review committee for "Our Virginia" consisted entirely of three elementary school classroom teachers. Continued

Just in time for Halloween: The Candy Hierarchy


Via boingboing

Oct 22, 2010

Historic Wrightsville unveils restored wagon


(YDR) A horse-drawn wagon used in Wrightsville more than one hundred years ago has returned home and is now a museum exhibit.
The wagon was made by the Columbia Wagon Works in the late 1800s and was purchased by H.P. Kocher, who owned a hardware store on Second Street in Wrightsville, said Ernie Massa of Lower Windsor Township. Continued

Panic of 1907



(Wikipedia) The Panic of 1907, also known as the 1907 Bankers' Panic, was a financial crisis that occurred in the United States when its stock market fell close to 50 percent from its peak the previous year. Panic occurred during a time of economic recession, when there were numerous runs on banks and trust companies. The 1907 panic eventually spread throughout the nation, and many state and local banks and businesses entered into bankruptcy. Primary causes of the run included a retraction of market liquidity by a number of New York City banks, a loss of confidence among depositors, and the absence of a statutory lender of last resort. Continued

Photo: "A crowd forms on Wall Street during the Bankers Panic of 1907" (New York Public Library).

Oct 21, 2010

Chicago author to speak at Tudor hall Friday



(Aegis) Leaders of the group that operates Tudor Hall, the county-owned and quasi-publicly operated former home of the equally famed and infamous Booth family, say the tourist attraction is ending this season with a flourish.
The public has two more opportunities to tour the former home of the Booth family, which until John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln, was best known for its theatrical renown.
The first tour opportunity is Friday, Oct. 22, when Nora Titone, of Chicago, will be at Tudor Hall to speak about her new non-fiction book, “My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry Between Edwin and John Wilkes Booth That Led to an American Tragedy,” to be published this month by Freedom Press, a division of Simon & Schuster. Continued

Oct 20, 2010

The Legend of Coal Oil Johnny, America's Great Forgotten Parable



(the Atlantic) Surely you've heard of Coal Oil Johnny, right?
Before J.R. Ewing, or the Beverly Hillbillies, or even John D. Rockefeller, there was Coal Oil Johnny. He was the first great cautionary tale of the oil age -- and his name would resound in popular culture for more than half a century after he made and lost his fortune in the 1860s.
A penniless orphan growing up, it was said Coal Oil Johnny once spent $100,000 in a day. Continued

Charley Chase



(Wikipedia) Charley Chase (October 20, 1893 - June 20, 1940) was an American comedian, screenwriter and film director, best known for his work in Hal Roach short film comedies. He was the older brother of comedian/director James Parrott. Born Charles Joseph Parrott in Baltimore, Maryland, Chase started his career in films by working at the Christie Comedies in 1912. He then moved to Keystone Studios, where he began appearing in bit parts in the Mack Sennett films, including those of Charlie Chaplin. By 1915 he was playing juvenile leads in the Keystones, and directing some of the films as "Charles Parrott." His Keystone credentials were good enough to get him steady work as a comedy director with other companies; he directed many of Chaplin imitator Billy West's comedies, which featured a young Oliver Hardy as villain. Continued


Oct 19, 2010

Battle of Cedar Creek



(Wikipedia) The Battle of Cedar Creek, or Battle of Belle Grove, October 19, 1864, was one of the final, and most decisive, battles in the Valley Campaigns of 1864 during the American Civil War. The final Confederate invasion of the North, led by Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early, was effectively ended. The Confederacy was never again able to threaten Washington, D.C., through the Shenandoah Valley, nor protect the economic base. This victory aided the reelection of Abraham Lincoln and Union Army Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan won lasting fame. Continued

Image: Sheridan's ride by Alfred Waud, Oct 19th, 1864 (Library of Congress)

Oct 18, 2010

Solving a mystery about check from 1874


(Jacques Kelly) Monica Marcum sat in the office of the Baltimore City Historical Society and held a document she discovered among her late father's papers. It was a check dated July 6, 1874, for $62.81 for plumbing materials at the "new City Hall." She was giving the canceled check to the historical group because she thought it deserved a proper home.
She wondered how her father came into possession of this financial document for Baltimore's City Hall, which was under construction during this period and opened for business in 1875. Continued

Oct 17, 2010

Parkton church finds 70 year-old quilt signed by past members on eBay



(North County News) While Janet Denbow was organizing a tour of four small North County churches built in the late 1800s, a mystery surrounding one of them was being solved.
Participants of the Oct. 23 tour of Bentley Springs, Parke Memorial, West Liberty and Pine Grove/Kirkwood Shop United Methodist churches will get to see what brought on hours of amateur detective work.
Parke Memorial Church will display a 70-year-old quilt signed by hundreds of Parkton residents in 1940. Continued

Image: Pine Grove Methodist Church (Falmanac)

Rich history of Long Island Farm in Cromwell Valley may point a path to its future


(Towson Times) The recent listing of historic Long Island Farm on the National Register of Historic Places is not the final step for preservationists.
They say it's just the beginning of their search for someone to buy the farm, located in the heart of Cromwell Valley with a history that dates back to 1717. Continued

At Home: A Short History of Private Life



(NYTBR) ... Bryson’s conceit is nifty, providing what business majors might recognize as a “loose-tight” management structure, flexible enough to maintain a global scope without losing track of the mundane. Join this amiable tour guide as he wanders through his house, a former rectory built in 1851 in a tranquil English village. “At Home” takes off from the second half of the 19th century, when, Bryson reminds us, “private life was completely transformed. . . . It is almost impossible to conceive just how much radical day-to-day change people were exposed to.” Continued

Image: a house.

Oct 16, 2010

Barbara Billingsley R.I.P.



A History of the Pledge of Allegiance



(NYTBR) Today’s conservatives often describe themselves as strict constructionists, seeking the “original meaning” of the nation’s founding texts. In the case of the Pledge of Allegiance, a much ­fetishized if not legally binding document, this approach is unlikely to yield the desired political result. As Jeffrey Owen Jones and Peter Meyer note, the original author of the pledge was a former Christian Socialist minister who hoped to redeem the United States from its class and ethnic antagonisms. Interpretations of its meaning have been growing more conservative, not more liberal, ever since. Continued

Image: "Strict constructionists should note that the original pledge was accompanied by a right-side straight-arm salute, a gesture that mysteriously began to lose popularity in the 1930s."

Oct 15, 2010

A time to harvest: Stone historic site gives glimpse into the past



(SoMdNews.Com) Take a short drive, 250 years into the past.
The Thomas Stone National Historic Site will hold a fall harvest celebration Saturday in Port Tobacco.
Visitors can learn what life was like around this time of year during the mid-1700s when the Stone family prepared for the winter on the more than 400 acres it oversaw. Continued

Image: Library of Congress

Jim Palmer


(BaseballLibrary.com) High-kicking Jim Palmer spent his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles, becoming the greatest pitcher in their history. Signed in 1963, he replaced the departed Milt Pappas in Baltimore's rotation in 1966, and led the club with 15 wins. That October 6, he became the youngest pitcher (20 years, 11 months) to win a complete-game, World Series shutout, defeating Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers in Game Two. But Palmer was almost finished by arm, shoulder, and back problems; during the next two years, he pitched in the minors for 17 of his 26 games. He was left unprotected in the draft, but there were no takers. Continued

Oct 14, 2010

The Red Lion Area Historical Society


The Red Lion Area Historical Society is a charitable organization that hosts meetings of a historical nature open to the public free of charge on the 4th Thursday of the month during the school year at St. John's UCC on North Main Street at 7:30 PM. They also maintain the Square Museum. Continued

William Penn


(LoC) William Penn, English reformer and founder of Pennsylvania, was born on October 14, 1644, in London, England. Persecuted in England for his Quaker faith, Penn established freedom of worship in Pennsylvania. The colony became a haven for minority religious sects from Germany, Holland, Scandinavia, and Great Britain.
Born the privileged son of a landed gentleman, young William Penn was greatly affected by the preaching of Quaker itinerant minister Thomas Loe. Expelled from Oxford in 1662 for refusing to conform to the Anglican Church, Penn joined the Religous Society of Friends five years later. At that time, Friends, commonly called "Quakers," were subject to official persecution.
Penn was jailed four times for stating his beliefs in public and in print. No Cross, No Crown (1669), written while imprisoned in the Tower of London, condemns Restoration England's excesses and extols the benefits of Puritan asceticism and Quaker social reform. Continued

Oct 12, 2010

John Aquilla Wilson was one of the last surviving Civil War veterans in York County


(YDR) As a young black teenager, John Aquilla Wilson joined the local militia in Wrightsville and helped prevent the Confederates from crossing the bridge across the Susquehanna River.
Less than a year later, in 1864, he joined the 32nd regiment of the United States Colored Troops. He trained at Camp William Penn outside of Philadelphia and skirmished with the rebels in South Carolina.
Wilson was honorably discharged in August 1865 and lived to be 101 years old, one of the last surviving Civil War veterans in York County. Continued

Oct 11, 2010

Stevenson Archer (1786–1848)



(Wikipedia) Stevenson Archer (October 11, 1786 – June 26, 1848) was a United States Representative from Maryland, representing the sixth district from 1811 to 1817, and the seventh district from 1819 to 1821. His son Stevenson Archer and father John Archer were also U.S. Congressmen from Maryland.Archer was born at Medical Hall, near Churchville, Maryland, and attended Nottingham Academy of Maryland, later graduating from Princeton College in 1805. He studied law, was admitted to the bar of Harford County, Maryland in 1808, and commenced practice the same year. Continued

Photos: 1. Medical Hall, 1936 (Library of Congress). 2. Stevenson Archer (Find A Grave)


Oct 10, 2010

Stealing Secrets: How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles, and Altered the Course of the Civil War


(Cannonball) ... H. Donald Winkler has penned a new book that provides a "deep dive" into the covert world of espionage and ruses, focusing on those "little -known deceptions that changed the course of the war." The 334-page paperback is entitled Stealing Secrets: How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles, and Altered the Course of the Civil War. A fascinating read that opens new insights into the secret world behind the military operations, WInkler's treatise is first rate and enjoyable. Cumberland House is to be commended with this latest in its long line of interesting Civil War titles. Continued

Image: Belle Boyd

Miss Maryland from 1957, who had Miss USA title stripped, dies


(Baltimore Sun) Mary Leona Gage, the 1957 Miss Maryland pageant winner who was Miss USA for only a day before officials stripped her of her title because she was a married mother of two, has died in Los Angeles at 71.
A son, Robert Kaminer, told the Associated Press Saturday that Gage died of heart failure at a Sherman Oaks hospital Tuesday.
Gage was the only Marylander ever selected as Miss USA. Continued

Photo: Wikipedia

Did Americans in 1776 have British accents?



(nicholasjohnpatrick.com) Reading David McCullough’s 1776, I found myself wondering: Did Americans in 1776 have British accents? If so, when did American accents diverge from British accents?
The answer surprised me. Continued

Image: Miss Carolina Sulivan - one of the obstinate daughters of America, 1776. Cartoon shows Sullivan's Island, portrayed as a head-and-shoulders portrait of a woman who looks like William Pitt, right profile, with large hairdo meant to conceal fortifications, cannons, and several battle flags. (Library of Congress)

Oct 9, 2010

Lewes shipwreck site a window into 1770s economy


(Delaware Online) The wine: imported from South Africa; the porcelain from China, the bottled water from Germany. More evidence of a global economy?
You bet, said historian and archaeologist Charles Fithian.
But we're not talking 21st century, here. Continued

United States Naval Institute Founded



(USNI) The U.S. Naval Institute has been a fixture at the U.S. Naval Academy since its founding in 1873 by a group of 15 naval officers who began meeting to discuss the serious implications of a smaller, post-Civil War Navy and other matters of professional interest. The Naval Institute's headquarters on the grounds of the Naval Academy have a commanding view of the Severn River and the cemetery, where lie some of the most prominent heroes in Navy and Marine Corps lore.
The founding vision was to create a forum for the exchange of ideas, to disseminate and advance the knowledge of sea power, and to preserve our naval and maritime heritage. Continued

Illustration: Library of Congress

Cigar Guy visits Maryland


(Fark.com)

Oct 8, 2010

Railroad history shown in new mural in Glen Rock


(YDR) The railroad came to Glen Rock in 1838, bringing with it growth and prosperity. It is appropriate that members of the Glen Rock Historic Preservation Society decided to make the railroad the theme of a new mural on the building where the train station once stood.
The mural, was painted by artist Marshall Adams, 27, who recently completed a mural at the corner of 22nd and Calvert streets in Baltimore. Continued

Jackboots on Whitehall Trailer



Oct 7, 2010

Civil War Road Trip: How Robert E. Lee Saved the Union


(Slate) ... Located about 15 miles east of Atlanta, Stone Mountain is a large granite monadnock, into which has been carved a bas relief sculpture of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. ... A large crowd has formed on the lawn beneath the sculpture, and a booming voice is welcoming visitors and thanking a group of corporate sponsors. The show begins. It's every bit as strange as I'd hoped it would be. Continued

Original Hershey Chocolate Factory Set To Close


(NPR) Imagine Google wrapped in chocolate.
What the Internet giant is to its employees today — the extra benefits, the comfy workspace — Hershey was a hundred years ago.
A theme park, a theater, low-rent housing and cheap public transportation were all things Milton Hershey brought to the dairy region of Pennsylvania when he created Hershey, the chocolate center of America. Continued

Carousel building at Brookside Park to be demolished


(YDR) The carousel building at Brookside Park in Dover Township will be demolished.
The building -- which was probably built around 1940 -- previously housed a carousel that has since been sold. It has been used for storage for years and rented out for various occasions. Other facilities are being used now, said Kristal Narkiewicz, township recreation director.
Age isn't the culprit; it's powderpost beetles. Continued

Caesar Rodney


(Wikipedia) Caesar Rodney (October 7, 1728 - June 26, 1784), was an American lawyer and politician from St. Jones Neck, in Dover Hundred, Kent County, Delaware, east of Dover. He was an officer of the Delaware militia during the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, a Continental Congressman from Delaware, and President of Delaware during most of the American Revolution. Continued

Oct 6, 2010

Early history in the spotlight: West Lampeter driving tour will focus on 1710 Pequea settlement


(Lancaster Online) People drive past them all the time without noticing the details.
Now, a group of local historians is shining a light on the hidden historical and architectural gems that remain from the original Pequea settlement of Lancaster County, which marks its 300th anniversary this month.
That settlement, founded in October 1710 as part of 10,000 acres deeded to a group of immigrant Mennonites by William Penn, was the first permanent residence of European pioneers in the Lancaster region. Continued

Oct 5, 2010

Learning to Be Washington



(NYTBR) George Washington’s corpse was scarcely a month in its grave when an enterprising minister from Maryland named Mason Locke Weems made a pitch to a Philadelphia publisher. “I’ve got something to whisper in your lug,” Weems wrote in January 1800. “Washington, you know is gone! Millions are gaping to read something about him. . . . My plan! I give his history, sufficiently minute” and “go on to show that his unparalleled rise & elevation were due to his Great Virtues.” Weems was on to something. Continued

Image: Parson Weems' Fable by Grant Wood

Learning to Be Lincoln



(NYTBR) Do we need yet another book on Lincoln, especially in the wake of all the Lincoln volumes that appeared last year in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of his birth? Well, yes, we do — if the book is by so richly informed a commentator as Eric Foner, the DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia. Foner tackles what would seem to be an obvious topic, Lincoln and slavery, and manages to cast new light on it. Continued

Image: Lincoln and Houdini (Library of Congress)

Francis Peyton Rous


(Wikipedia) (Francis) Peyton Rous (October 5, 1879 – February 16, 1970) born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1879 and received his B.A. and M.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He was involved in the discovery of the role of viruses in the transmission of certain types of cancer. In 1966 he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work. Continued

Oct 4, 2010

Behind That Humble Pitchfork, a Complex Artist



(NYTimes) The cover of R. Tripp Evans’s “Grant Wood: A Life” does not depict “American Gothic,” the painting for which Wood is best known. Instead it features a lush green landscape, replete with rolling hillside and curving country road. On that road is a truck colored so prettily, picturesquely red that it suggests a freshly painted barn. There is a na├»ve-looking simplicity to the way this image has been rendered.
Look again. This is a picture called “Death on the Ridge Road” (1935), and it is as menacing as it is sweet. Continued

Secretariat




(Wikipedia) Secretariat (March 30, 1970 – October 4, 1989) was an American thoroughbred racehorse. Secretariat won the 1973 Triple Crown, becoming the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years, and set still-standing track records in two of the three races in the Series, the Kentucky Derby (1:59 2/5), and the Belmont Stakes (2:24). Like the famous Man o' War, Secretariat was a large chestnut colt and was given the same nickname, "Big Red." Continued

Oct 3, 2010

Disappearance of USS Cyclops remains one of the sea's most enduring mysteries



(Baltimore Sun) The last anyone heard of the Cyclops as it steamed in a voyage that began in Bahia, Brazil, on Feb. 22, 1918, en route to Baltimore with 10,000 tons of manganese ore in its bunkers, was in a telegram to the West Indian Steamship Co. in New York City. "Advise charterers USS CYCLOPS arrived Barbadoes Three March for bunkers. Expect to arrive Baltimore Thirteen March. Opnav." The next day, the collier departed Barbados on what should have been a routine voyage to Baltimore, even though its starboard engine was damaged and put out of commission during the passage from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro, forcing it to steam at no more than 10 knots. Continued

Image: USS Cyclops

Book review: America The Story of Us: An Illustrated History


(Cannonball) America The Story of Us: An Illustrated History is a new book that supplements the very popular History Channel mini-series that received so much praise earlier this year with its sweeping overview of the American story. The TV series and resultant book follows the development of the United States from the earliest colonial settlements and exploration through the traumatic 19th century that saw the fledgling country grow dramatically in size, scope, and international prestige, while also surviving a catastrophic Civil War that threatened to undo all of the gains of the early part of the century. Coverage of the 20th century is superb, with outstanding photography and descriptions of many of the key events that molded and shaped America into the country she is today. Continued

Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902



(LoC) On October 3, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt met with miners and coalfield operators from the anthracite coalfields in Pennsylvania in an attempt to settle the strike, then in its fifth month. The country relied on coal to power commerce and industry and anthracite or "hard coal" was essential for domestic heating. The miners had left the anthracite fields on May 12, demanding wage increases, union recognition, and a shorter workday. As winter approached, public anxiety about fuel shortages and the rising cost of all coal pushed Roosevelt to take unprecedented action. Continued

Images: 1. Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. John Mitchell, President of the UMWA (United Mine Workers of America), arriving in the coal town. His open four-horse carriage is surrounded by a crowd of boys. 1902. 2. Unidentified coal miner during the UMW labor strike against CF&I, in Ludlow, Las Animas County, Colorado. 1913 or 1914 (Library of Congress).

Oct 1, 2010

Relive Glory days of the GRAW


(The Record) The Roaring ‘20s return Saturday, Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the third annual Graw Days Festival.
Everyone is invited to attend the free event and take part in reliving the early days of Havre de Grace’s famous Graw, where horse racing history was frequently made. Exciting races by famous horses such as Man o’ War, the horse of the century, as well as War Admiral, Seabiscuit and Citation brought both fame and notoriety to the race track, which operated from 1912 to 1952.
Brigitte Peters, tourism manager of Havre de Grace, said the city’s third go-round with the festival promises to be the biggest yet. Continued

Image: "Arnold Rothstein at the track" (La Cosa Nostra Database). "Arnold "The big bankroll" Rothstein was one of New Yorks biggest racketeers during the 1910's - 1920's and was also a mentor to future ganglords such as Meyer Lansky and Dutch Schultz. Rothstein became famous after he reputidly fixed the 1919 Baseball World Series. ... He also invested in a horse racing track at Havre de Grace, Maryland, where it was widely reputed that he "fixed" many of the races that he won."

Pennsylvania Turnpike Opens



(Wikipedia) ... When the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1940, it was the first long-distance rural highway in the United States and was popularly known as the "tunnel highway" because of the seven mountain tunnels along its route.
The turnpike was partially constructed on an unused railroad grade constructed for the aborted South Pennsylvania Railroad project, and six of its seven original tunnels (all tunnels with the exception of the Allegheny Mountain tunnel) were first bored for that railroad.
Proposals to use the grade and tunnels for a toll road were made starting in late 1934. The road would bypass the steep grades on Pennsylvania's existing major east-west highways – US 22 (William Penn Highway) and US 30 (Lincoln Highway) – and offer a high-speed four lane route free of cross traffic. Continued

Photo: Library of Congress