Posts Tagged 'War of 1812'

1812 Star-Spangled Conference, part deux

I grew up in Riverdale, Maryland, so attending the Star-Spangled 200 Conference at the historic Riversdale Mansion in Prince George’s County last week was somewhat of a homecoming for me. The last time I visited Riversdale I was collecting information to write a paper for a grad school class (the docent, by the way, that gave me the house and kitchen tour was so good!). This time around we didn’t do the house tour, but got some great information from the War of 1812 historians, Dr. Ralph Eshleman and Vince Vaise.

Why the War of 1812? In 2009? We have to plan ahead, of course. The State of Maryland played a pivotal role in the conflict (which began when the United States declared war on Great Britain 30 years after the American Revolution) and commemorative events are being planned state-wide. Lest the nation, and especially Marylanders, forget – our National Anthem was derived during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry in 1814. As an aside, a significant piece of information I gathered during the conference came from local music historian, David Hildebrand, who told me that the description of the music to which Key’s poem, the Star-Spangled Banner, was set to was not a rowdy English drinking song, but more of a lilting “gentlemen’s club” kind-of tune called “To Anacreon in Heaven.” Go ahead, give it a hum…O say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light…

I really enjoyed the rest of the day too. I was able to visit historic Bostwick in Bladensburg, where Don Linebaugh of the University of Maryland (and one of my former professors!) gave us  a tour and talked about the various preservation programs taking place at the house. We then drove over to the Bladensburg Waterfront Park for lunch and a walking tour of the 1814 Battle of Bladensburg area, took a drive through  historic Fort Lincoln Cemetery, then made our way to Mount Calvert Historical and Archaeological Park in Upper Marlboro where an archaeological excavation was in progress.

In difficult times like those we are in now, I tend to avoid using the word “celebrate” regarding past conflicts. However, we should remember that the legacy of the War of 1812 is the enduring friendship among the U.S., Canada, and England where there once was rancor.

To learn more about the War of 1812 and Maryland’s role in the conflict, I highly encourage you to visit www.starspangled200.org. The Four Rivers Heritage Area also supports organizations and sites that are seeking ways to commemorate 1812 events that took place in the heritage area. For more information, visit www.fourriversheritage.org or send us an email: heritage_area@aacounty.org.

–Aleithea

Historic Bostwick in Bladensburg. Notice the asymmetry between the dormers, second floor windows, and portico. Interesting...

Historic Bostwick in Bladensburg. Notice the asymmetry between the dormers, second floor windows, and portico. Interesting...

At Bladensburg Waterfront Park, a lone egret. Gorgeous!

At Bladensburg Waterfront Park, a lone egret. Gorgeous!

Panoramic view of Mount Calvert (far left) and the adjacent Patuxent River. The mansion houses a multi-room exhibition.

Panoramic view of Mount Calvert (far left) and the adjacent Patuxent River. The mansion houses a multi-room exhibition.

Visiting Southern Maryland for War of 1812 Conference

Recently, Executive Director Carol Benson and Heritage Programs Coordinator Aleithea Williams visited Southern Maryland for the “Star-Spangled 200 Conference”, concerning the upcoming commemoration of the War of 1812. After spending the morning at the Calvert Marine Museum, and admiring the stingrays and otters, we spent a good part of the afternoon walking the beautiful grounds of Jefferson-Patterson Park and Museum in Saint Leonard, MD, or Jef-Pat (as the locals like to call it!). Near the end of the day, we visited Serenity Farms, which lives up to its name (check out the view in the photo below).

Looking out at St. Leonard Creek from Jef-Pat

Looking out at St. Leonard Creek from Jef-Pat

View of the landscape from the hill at Serenity Farms

View of the landscape from the top of the hill at Serenity Farms

Beautiful horses at Serenity Farms (the one on the right is pregnant!)

Beautiful horses at Serenity Farms (the one on the right is pregnant!)

Attending this conference helped us understand that Maryland had a significant role in the events and outcomes of the War of 1812. For more information about Maryland’s role, and the upcoming commemorative events all over the state, visit www.warof1812.org. Also, be sure to check out, and check often, Four Rivers Heritage Area calendar for 1812 events in the near and distant future.
-Aleithea