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History & Lore

He has many faces; here you’ll see some

What do children love most about Christmas? I’m betting it’s Santa Claus, the portly guy in the red suit who builds toys in the North Pole each year, then delivers them to well-behaved children on Christmas Eve.     To the delight of Chesapeake Country children, Santa tends to show up early. You’ll soon see a Santa or two about town — at the mall, skating around the Bowie Ice Rink, or emerging from a helicopter near the College Park Aviation Museum.

Coyotes yes, bears no

The region is home to many types of animals, but not many large predators. Historically, bobcats, cougars, bears and wolves lived in Chesapeake Country.     Coyotes are newcomers. The western species wasn’t seen in Maryland until 1972. Since then, they’ve expanded their territory to all Maryland counties. They’ve thrived in part because they don’t face much competition from other predators as we have no more of similar size.

Remember The Maryland 400

The first regiment of full-time professional soldiers from Maryland to fight for the Continental Army saved the revolution in August of 1776. Against a much larger, better-prepared British force, 450 to 500 Marylanders valiantly defended themselves and their new nation.

Our estimable forefathers were as bad — maybe worse

If you’re disheartened by the tone of this year’s presidential election, you won’t find refuge in the good old days.     Historical presidential contests were as bad as — perhaps even worse — than what we’re seeing. In fact, we seem downright civil compared to some of the low-down dirty tricks and harsh rhetoric of prior elections.

For Annapolis Maritime Museum, a giant step across the creek

With the flourish of a pen, Annapolis Maritime Museum took a giant step into the future. From two-thirds of an acre — its Eastport campus on Back Creek — the 26-year-old environmental education center grew to almost 13 acres.     Like a small snake swallowing an elephant, the Museum made the ambitious expansion in a single bite. That bite is the Ellen Moyer Nature Park.

The Patuxents used to live here; some still do

How hard is it to prove a hunch?     It took 75 holes a foot deep by a foot wide followed by five three-by-five-foot excavation pits dug with exacting symmetry in the unyielding earth to document the late naturalist Mitzi Poole’s suspicion. Her girlhood swimming hole on Battle Creek might, she believed, be a Native American site.

Spirits of the ­Rising Sun Inn

Had I never lived in Crownsville’s historic Rising Sun Inn, I’d have scoffed at folks who believed in the supernatural. But once my brother and I rented the Inn and moved in, peculiar things started that we couldn’t quite explain away.     Take the day our buddy’s girlfriend fled our housewarming party, screaming in terror.

German lifeboat did second duty as floating home and chapel

Touring the boats in the Patuxent Small Craft Center at the Calvert Marine Museum, you may notice a rather unusual looking model. Sitting near the Drum Point Lighthouse, this mash-up of houseboat and lifeboat is the Ark of Hungerford Creek.

Follow new Guide to “hidden gems”

You’ll find your way on the Magothy River with ease and insight with a copy of the brand-new Magothy River Water Trail Guide.     “Our river is like a hand with a narrow opening between Gibson Island and Persimmon Point and Dobbins Island in the palm,” says 20-year Magothy River Association president Paul Spadaro. “But what’s really worth experiencing are the fingers and fingernails.”

Sightings up in warmer weather

Chesapeake Bay sees many migratory visitors, among them Canada geese, tundra swans and rockfish. The list occasionally includes Florida manatees. Colder waters generally keep the species south of us; most venture no farther than South Carolina or Georgia. But some males looking to expand their range can end up as far north as New England.