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).
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. Continue reading
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 from 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. Continue reading
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
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?” Continue reading