Re-Blog: Designation of The Olmsted Conference Room by Ed Orser

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By Ed Orser, Friends of Maryland’s Olmsted Parks & Landscapes

Maryland’s State Department of Planning has designated the meeting space in its Baltimore office headquarters as “The Olmsted Conference Room” in recognition of the major role of the Olmsted firm in planning initiatives for parks, residential communities, and other sites in Baltimore and elsewhere in the state. A large introductory panel on the “Olmsted Legacy” identifies the three Olmsteds who for more than 75 years played an important role in Maryland and in nearby D.C.: Frederick Law Olmsted (FLO), John Olmsted, and Frederick Law Olmsted, Junior (FLO Junior).

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Planning staff, Steve Allan and John Coleman review the panel for the 1908 plan.

Panels on the extensive Baltimore projects make the case that in few American cities was the Olmsted planning impact greater—with comprehensive planning for parks, residential communities, and urban amenities. The parks panel highlights FLO’s 1876 design for the grounds of Baltimore’s Mount Vernon Place (supplanted by Beaux Arts-inspired features). But the later role of the Olmsted Brothers, especially FLO Junior, in park planning proved more extensive and of longer duration. The firm’s 1904 comprehensive plan for Baltimore’s parks laid the basis for the modern park system. In 2016 the Friends of Maryland’s Olmsted Parks & Landscapes and others succeeded in gaining the City’s historic designation for an East-West corridor of “Olmsted Parkways,” first envisioned in the 1904 plan. More

Preserving Chesapeake Heritage: Navigating the Tubman Landscape amid Rising Tides

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From the Maryland Historical Trust’s blog

Our History, Our Heritage

By Jessica Brannock, Communications Intern

In 2007, roughly 17 acres of wetlands within Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) were dedicated to create the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad (HTUR) State Park. These lands and waterways where Tubman lived and worked as a young woman, enslaved by the Brodess family, make up just a fraction of the 25,000 acres of land in Dorchester County dedicated to the HTUR National Monument. While the park’s Visitor Center offers exhibits on the life and heroism of Tubman, the true monument to her legacy is the landscape itself—and it’s disappearing.

Over the course of a decade, Tubman returned to this landscape 13 times and guided 70 slaves to freedom. Hiding in the marshes by day and traveling by foot and boat at night, Tubman and other freedom seekers relied on their knowledge of Chesapeake waterways, plant, and animal life to survive the journey north.

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Patuxent River Adventure, Part One

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Anchored off Peterson’s Point, St. Leonard Creek

By Steve Allan

It isn’t often today that real adventure is encountered by chance. Too often it’s programmed and predictable, with little left to capriciousness or throwing caution to the wind. In the summer of 2015 I found a whole lot of the latter on the Patuxent River far sallan-spin-sheet-benedict-leonardtownfrom the madding crowds of the cruising hordes, perhaps just by letting a child’s adventure in a man’s body run wild. Arriving in Solomons after a windward slog down the Bay from the Little Choptank, some serious contemplation was in order. The whole cruise was on the skids. First Norfolk, then Smith Island were dropped because of a gimpy steering cable that had bunged up somehow, not to be trusted again. The autopilot failed to respond as a result, rendering my electronic crew out of  commission. More

May Is Preservation Month!

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Our History, Our Heritage

by Secretary David R. Craig, Maryland Department of Planning

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During Preservation Month 2015, let us come together to celebrate Maryland’s extraordinary and diverse heritage. Explore your own historic community through events sponsored by your local historical society, preservation organization or Heritage Area. Learn about your family history. Take a road trip down a Scenic Byway to visit one of our beautiful Main Streets or cultural museums. Share your photos, your impressions and your memories with friends and family.

Part of the Department of Planning, the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) helps individuals, businesses and communities save the historic places that make our state special. Using state and federal rehabilitation tax credits, we provide millions of dollars each year to businesses and residents to help repair and rehabilitate their historic properties.

A group of monuments and a line of cannon are framed by a split rail fence at Antietam Battlefield at Sharpsburg, Maryland, USA. Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg.

The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, staffed by MHT, allocates nearly $3 million to heritage…

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Out with a Bang! Culminating the War of 1812

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By Steve Allan, This article appears in the September 2014 issue of SpinSheet magazine. We thank the publisher for permission to reprint this article.
Ft. McHenry in Baltimore. Photo by Ken Stanek/Visit Baltimore

Ft. McHenry in Baltimore. Photo by Ken Stanek/Visit Baltimore

One of the strangest wars in America’s history will leave our collective consciousness soon, perhaps such as it did when it actually happened. In these pages over the last two years, we have learned how the British saber-rattled their way up and down the Chesapeake region with abandon two centuries before, in a war that many argue had no clear purpose, no great strategy, and some have surmised, no decisive victor. Motivations of national pride then and now are wildly divergent. Bill Pencek, executive director of Mayland’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission puts it this way: “The U.S. thinks we won, Canada knows they won, and Britain thinks, ‘What blimmin’ war are you talking about?” More

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