A Maryland Breakfast: Fried Red Tomatoes in Cream Gravy

I recently visited my great uncle, Uncle B, in Arizona. Having left our ancestral seat for a life of western adventure in 1947, we don’t have all that much in common. However, as conversations meander in and out of the … Continue reading

Connecting the Dots: Convict Servants in Maryland

Eddie Izzard puns on the Church of England: “Cake or Death?” For people found guilty of committing small crimes in England, transportation to the American colonies for seven to fourteen years of bound servitude was the cake option. Overcrowding in England’s … Continue reading

Museum Monday: Maryland State Archives in 2013

For a building built in 1984, I think the Maryland State Archives inspires. Maybe it strikes a chord with me akin to the library buildings of my childhood. Unlike it’s colonial and colonial revival ancestors further down Rowe Blvd in … Continue reading

Scarlet Fever!

My grandfather, S. Lee Bowman, returned from World War II in 1946 to marry Gurnice Stephens of Mt. Pleasant Orchard, outside Havre de Grace. The first several weeks of their marriage were spent separately: as soon as they returned from … Continue reading

Post Offices for Sale

What is Westminster, Maryland’s claim to fame? Besides being my childhood hometown, it was where county-wide Rural Free Delivery began on December 20, 1899. Mailboxes from the era are contained in both the collections of the Historical Society of Carroll … Continue reading

Communities Past: Former Commerce in Rock Run, Harford County, MD

Driving through the countryside anywhere in America, you may pass any number of signs proclaiming towns that no longer exist. My grandfather was in the car  sometime in the 1990s, when we were driving on Rock Run Road toward the … Continue reading

Vernacular: Puddle Ducks

I love the word vernacular. You can stuff all that’s particular to a specific region into the term. Can’t explain it any other way? It must be vernacular. Puddle duck is the term my grandfather used to describe mallard ducks. … Continue reading

Transit Tuesday: The Walking City

Colleagues of mine were up from DC this week for the Alliance for Response NYC program “Community-Based Recovery After Superstorm Sandy” (see the post here). One of them exclaimed “this is New York! look at everyone walking along the streets!” … Continue reading

Travel By Design: Painted Advertisements

How did you used to make money off your barn or shed? Allow a hand painted sign to advertise on the side. Here are a few from the road…along with some derivative works for fun.     … Continue reading

A Visit to the Drugstore, 1786

Halloween’s passed us by, but here’s a tale of horror from the late eighteenth century: a visit to the drugstore. This advertisement appeared in The Maryland Journal on August 11, 1786. Particularly note the “Calomel, and all other well-prepared Mercuries” … Continue reading