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History & Lore

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.

And how did it come to be?

And how did it come to be? The Appalachian Trail, a 2,190-mile route that stretches from Georgia to Maine, was proposed in 1920 by Brenton MacKaye. Acquiring and protecting the land took decades of cooperation and political and private negotiations. The trail was mostly completed by 1937, but not federally protected until 1968. Only in 2014 was the last part of the route protected.

Holiday dates back more than 130 years

The first Monday in September marks Labor Day.     “Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor. “It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.”

Why is this the state sport?

Maryland is the first state to have a designated state sport. Jousting became our sport in 1962, when State Sen. Henry J. Fowler Sr., a jouster from Southern Maryland, proposed the bill. The General Assembly passed the bill, and Gov. Millard Tawes signed it into law. Jousting became Maryland’s seventh state symbol, following the state flag, flower, song, tree, bird and seal.

How some of the world’s most famous art found safe refuge in early-America’s Annapolis

You’d want to know if you were neighbor to a secret treasure of masterpieces.     So I’m telling you.     Sixty-three paintings by great Northern European masters — Jan Breughel, Rubens and Van Dyck among them — lived quietly in Annapolis for two years, and Prince George’s County for 16 more years.

Chesapeake Curiosities: Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is the northernmost of its kind

A habitat unique in Maryland flourishes just south of Prince Frederick. Battle Creek Cypress Swamp is one of the nation’s northernmost naturally occurring stands of bald cypress trees.     “It’s actually a bit of a mystery why the swamp is here, as we don’t see similar stands of trees in other low-lying swampy areas of the county,” says Shannon Steele, Calvert County naturalist.