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History & Lore

Chesapeake Curiosities

Sonora Smart Dodd wanted a holiday to match Mother’s Day in honor of fathers because she and her five siblings were raised by a widower. She worked to gain — and found — community support. Her home state, Washington, was the first to have a recognized Father’s Day in 1910. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday.

Chesapeake Curiosities

Daughters of the American Revolution erected the first roadside markers in 1927 and 1928 to rally support for a coast-to-coast national road. The Daughters’ Madonnas of the Trail were 18-foot-tall statues dedicated to the women pioneers who had crossed the country in covered wagons. One of these markers stands in Bethesda (on Wisconsin Ave. across from Metro), with 11 others across the country.

Stories that need to be told

This weekend we celebrate Memorial Day, our national day of remembrance of those who gave their lives fighting for the United States across the world.     All over the country, patriotism abounds as festivities and events both large and small mark the day. Locally, the weekend marks the commissioning of a new crop of officers from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. The weekend is also the beginning of summer fun. Families spend the long weekend trying out barbeques, pools and the outdoors season.

Honoring our fallen heroes

Memorial Day gets due honor at Chesapeake Beach. The annual Stars & Stripes Festival, now in its fifth year, remembers the soldiers and sailors, Marines and fliers who have given their lives defending the United States of America.     “The meaning of the day was becoming lost,” said Connie O’Dell, who manages special events for the Calvert County town.

Chesapeake Curiosities

What are the dilapidated buildings in the woods near Beverly-Triton Beach at the end of the Mayo Peninsula?     Most likely, they are the remains of picnic pavilions at the popular beach complex and tourist attraction.

Since 1946, these Navy fliers have been delighting audiences with their aerial feats

On May 24, 25 and 27 the Blue Angels return to Annapolis for Commissioning Week at the United States Naval Academy.     Since 1946, the Blue Angels have been delighting audiences with their stunning and death-defying flight demonstrations and aerial feats. Here’s how their 70-year history began.

Whence such a name?

What happened across the Bay at Kent Island to give Bloody Point and the Bloody Point Lighthouse that chilling name?     Nobody knows — for certain.     How’s that?     “Many of the names of locations have been lost over time due to the fact that ownership changes hands,” explains Maya Davis of the Maryland State Archives. “Often time new owners change the name of the property.”

Goshen Farm, powered by grassroots

“The grassroots is the source of power. With it you can do anything,” wrote Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson of the wattage behind his bright idea.     Is it shining still?     Take an Earth Day No. 47 visit to Goshen Farm, and you’ll see the light.     From the grassroots, a community rose to save the last Colonial-era farm on the Broadneck Peninsula. Its work has created a hidden oasis of 22 undeveloped acres, surrounded by Cape St. Claire and Walnut Ridge on the Broadneck Peninsula.

Why did a paper on the ins and outs of Chesapeake Country choose Earth Day as its birthday?     In 1993, in the first issue of the paper (born as New Bay Times), an editorial that served as a welcome letter and introduction explained that the new paper would focus on the environmental issues facing the area and also celebrate and explore the unique ecosystem and region that we are lucky to call home.

Why all the dilapidated barns around Southern Maryland?

Tobacco barns were good at drying tobacco; not so good at other jobs.     Since the Colonial era, the Atlantic coast from Maryland to Georgia all the way inland to Kentucky was known for sweet tobacco. The key cash crop for generations of local farmers, it was cultivated until the early 2000s when Maryland’s Tobacco Buyout, funded through the national 1998 Master Settlement Agreement, pretty much ended tobacco farming and encouraged other crops.