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History & Lore

Maryland Nurses fought death and despair in WWI France

Amid the horrors of World War I, battlefield nurses were angels of mercy. America’s battered and beleaguered doughboys knew that for certain, and you will, too, after listening to Maryland storyteller Ellouise Schoettler recount Ready to Serve: Unknown Stories of 64 World War I Nurses from Maryland.

An all-American chain of monuments to peace

What are these blue stars? Whizzing along Rt. 3, we see them here and there along the roadside. Just off Rt. 3, there’s another in the front garden of the Crofton Library. This blue star is mounted on a bronze plaque in a large stone. Stop a moment in the library safe space, and you read that it is a Blue Star Memorial By-Way marker paying tribute to the Armed Forces of America.

Once a year, Hammond Harwood House opens the gates to the ­capital city’s private gardens — and invites you to look inside
 

They are there, hiding behind impossibly small doors tucked into the crowded summer streets of Annapolis. Or perhaps they appear as unexpected splashes of color coyly winking at strollers past a secluded courtyard.

Photographer Jay Fleming documents life on — and in — the water

Yes, at five-plus pounds, photographer Jay Fleming’s Working the Water makes a beautiful coffee table book. Open it up, and you see it is much more. With breathtaking photos of Chesapeake fisheries and the men and women who work them to earn a living — as the last hunter-gatherers — Fleming takes you on an eye-opening tour of nature and the human spirit from above, under and on the water.

Captain Preston Hartge keeps Smith Bros. tugboats chugging along

Drive down Galesville Road, and everything seems unassuming and in its proper place. The old churches, the auto shop, the town hall, the post office, the country bungalows and older homes, the boats in yards: the ambiance is old-school and peaceful.     At Woodfield Road, a small sign with an arrow points to Smith Bros. but doesn’t say what Smith Bros. does. Drive down a couple of residential blocks until you are head on with Hartge Yacht Yard, and another small Smith Bros. sign and arrow point left.

In his model boats, Norman Gross records maritime history

Watermen name their boats for their wives and girlfriends. There was a time when Norman Gross thought it a romantic gesture. Now, he’s not so sure.     “Why did the men name the boats after their wives? Was it because they loved them? Or was it because they say stuff on the boat they couldn’t say at home?” the 58-year-old Gross wonders.

Middle-schooler’s project reminds us that we owe today’s big stripers to ’80s moratorium

Eighth-grader Brian Zagalsky has been fishing since he was three years old. Now his love of reeling in big fish is paying double dividends.     The Annapolis Middle Schooler’s class project for National History Day grew into a prize-winning exploration of Maryland’s five-year rockfish moratorium launched in 1985.

That’s the goal of Pirate’s Cove’s Pigs & Pearls Fundraiser to benefit the West & Rhode Riverkeeper

They say it was a hungry man who was the first to eat an oyster, but I disagree. I say it was a smart man, one who figured out how to set a bunch of oysters on a flat rock by a fire, cover them over with wet leaves and let them steam until they popped open, then slurped down all those succulent bits of salty goodness. Come to think of it, that was probably one smart woman who figured that out.

Take another guess or two

“What are those things?” a friend inquired.     The photos Shady Sider Kate King posted after she and son Caleb explored Calvert County’s Matoaka Beach showed a row of large concrete rings lined up on the shore.     “Alien spaceship remains,” King replied.     Are they really?     Steve Kullen of the Calvert County Department of Community Planning pulled back the curtain on this mystery.

A commuter’s love song

I love the Bay Bridge. Even when I’m in a line of slow-moving homebound traffic, even when I’m behind a carload of Bay-gazing tourists or even when facing winds, rains or snows that challenge the journey, I still love it.