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History & Lore

The four-masted, 141-foot Kalmar Nyckel drops anchor in Solomons this weekend

The tall ships have sailed out of Baltimore, where for a week the harbor looked as if it were 1812. The 40-strong flotilla — including 25 tall ships representing a dozen nations — marked the anniversary of the declaration of war on Great Britain and the official start of the bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812.     A million people visited over a week.     For a less hectic but equally awe-inspiring sight, catch up this weekend with a ship as historic as any of those.

Two hundred years ago, a fledgling, not-so United States had to again take up arms against Great Britain.

The Chesapeake Bay played a starring role in the conflict that produced our national anthem. Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner as the city of Baltimore was under attack by a vast enemy fleet and army that had just destroyed the new capital, Washington City.     1812 was a long time ago. High tech was represented by small, wooden sailing vessels, powered by wind and sweat, technology little changed in hundreds of years. You want to talk to Europe? Could take months.

As their forebears did 100 years earlier, these parsons come by boat

Methodist ministers used to be called circuit riders, for their calling — and their horse — took them to preach to a circuit of congregations.     On Solomons Island a century ago, the preacher came by boat, traveling to neighboring watermen’s communities.     With the nearby harbor off Drum Point a sheltered anchorage, Solomons became a center for shipbuilding and repair, seafood harvesting and provisioning.

Maryland Day offers so much, it takes a full weekend to celebrate it all

Maryland Day is our version of Columbus Day.         On March 25, 1634, voyagers from the ships the Ark and the Dove celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for surviving their long voyage, coming to land safely on a Potomac River island and negotiating a peace accord with the Piscataway Indians.
For Americans of African descent, the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have not been unalienable. Yet Maryland’s first black, Mathias de Sousa, reached our shores in 1634 on the Arc, not on a slave ship. An indentured servant, de Sousa earned his freedom in four years. Meet him — and generations who sought self-determination in America — on Bay Weekly’s Black History tour of Chesapeake Country.     -Sandra Olivetti Martin

At historic Linden House, the buildings have a lot to say

Once upon a time, just about everything on the table was home-grown. To eat, you needed to keep chickens for meat and eggs. Cows for milk, butter and cheese. Livestock was raised, butchered and preserved.     So old homesteads included not just a home but also chicken coops, animal stalls, meat houses, smoke houses. The outbuildings where food was raised and preserved are as much a part of the story as the old house.

Tom Wisner’s lessons live on in Gather ’Round Chesapeake

    Where does the hope lie?     Hope lies in bringing forth the truth about the Chesapeake Bay and placing our awareness right next to the issue, facing it. An answer might not come in this generation, but we must seek it. –Tom Wisner  

Chesapeake Beach Resort unveils its all-new historic band shell for outdoor concerts

When Otto Mears first brought the railroad to Chesapeake Beach in 1900, he spent $6 million to build his dream town, a Monte Carlo on the Bay. More than a century later, Chesapeake Beach Resort partner Gerald Donovan is keeping that dream alive by rebuilding one of Mears’ original attractions.

Celebrate National Lighthouse Day right here on Chesapeake Bay

A couple of hundred years ago, the Congress of the United States of America could get things done. On August 7, 1789, that august body passed an act establishing and supporting lighthouses.     Mariners and their families rejoiced.     Between 1791 and 1910, the dangerous waters at 74 sites on Chesapeake Bay were illuminated by over 100 cottage, tower and screwpile lighthouses.

Find out the truth about Abe Lincoln’s mystery advisor at Calvert Historical Society

Make a date July 30 to meet Maryland’s mystery woman.         Was Anna Ella Carroll a Civil War heroine, achieving that status, as her champions claim, by advising President Abraham Lincoln? Or is her role in history a myth? Worse, was she a fraud?     If there’s one thing historians love more than unraveling mysteries of the past, it’s infecting others with their passion.