Routes and Roots of American History

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Art among a religious race produces relics; among a military one, trophies; among a commercial one, articles of trade.” ~ Henry Fuseli

Culture and religion has been at the root of American civilization. In Frederick, Maryland there are a wealth of attractions including roads and byways that hold great interest for visitors to this area who wish to understand the founding principles and history of our country. The National Scenic Byway, a 38 mile stretch of land from Frederick County to the Catoctin Mountains is dubbed the Hallowed Ground. Many soldiers fighting for our country’s independence lost their lives along this route.

Attractions that collectively represent the beginnings of trade, politics, culture and spirituality throughout our country’s history can be found throughout this region. To name a few:

  • The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton – dedicated to the first canonized Saint.
  • The C & O Canal (Chesapeake and Ohio) explores the history of shipping.
  • The Shifferstadt Architectural Museum highlights the finest examples of German colonial architecture.
  • The Barbara Fritchie House commemorates the author of the poem that described waving the American flag in the face of the Confederate Army.
  • Weinberg Centerof the Arts houses the original Wurlitzer pipe organ.
  • Visit the All Saint Street Neighborhood – the center of commerce and entertainment during the latter part of the 19th century for African Americans.
  • America’s replica of the famous Grotto of Lourdes in France is represented at the National Shrine Grotto of Our Lady of the Lourdes at Mount St. Mary’s University.
  • The John Hanson House, the Ramsey House and the Roger Brooke Taney House all hold significance in some aspect of early American history by those that occupied them or visited them.
  • Battlefields of Gettysburg and Antietam are located close by. 

We have only touched lightly on a place that the National Trust for Historic Preservation has named as a Great American Main Street community. There are so many things to see and do. The designation as a 2010 Top Arts Destination by American Style Magazine only strengthens this small city’s position as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations.

To obtain a travel packet of information on this region, visit www.fredericktourism.org. I hope some of the readers of this blogsite have the opportunity to visit this area. It was a fulfilling trip and I would like to  return again to take in more of the sites and scenes.

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Artfully Restoring America

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The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world.” ~ Allen Ginsberg

Several days ago, I returned to a town that I had not visited in almost twenty years. I was blown away by the change that has taken place in what used to be a run-down town filled with uncared for historic Federal Style buildings in the heart of the Civil War heritage Area.Frederick, amid the rolling hills and abundant farmland of Frederick County, Maryland has become a charming and vibrant community that has been designated as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations and as a Preserve America Community http://bit.ly/pwZygfy. It was named a 2010 Top Arts Destinations by American Style Magazine http://bit.ly/aj5eGd in the Small Cities category. 

At the center of it all, are now vibrant shops, charming restaurants, and Federal style buildings that have been salvaged, restored, and renewed. Great testimony for the argument that rather than building new, America should be reclaiming spaces and places to bring life back into existing towns and cities. 

I took a walking tour of the city, strolling along the beautifully restored area of town along side the Carroll Creek, an estuary of the MonocacyRiver. I came across the  Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center www.delaplaine.org and looked in on three exhibits that I thoroughly enjoyed. 

It is fair time in Frederick!  In the upper hall way of the brick cannery building reclaimed as Art Space, was an exhibit of black and white photos that brought back nostalgic memories of State Fairs. A second exhibit, a National Juried Quilt Exhibit was one the best selections of Art Quilts that I have seen. Few quilts were of the ilk that you see on Grandmother’s beds and it was interesting to see how the names of the quilts were carried out in the artistic creation of the quilts. 

The third exhibit – Painting with Thread by Joanne Bast http://bit.ly/qfKBx6  were canvases that had been so densely stitched with thread that they created fiber paintings of iconic Chesapeake Bay scenes, charming homes or gardens, and in street scenes of other places. One of my favorites appeared to be  perhaps a village in Italy. 

The Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center was just the start of my afternoon tour of Frederick. Major support for this vibrant, restored Art Space is provided by the Delaplaine Foundation, the Ausherman Family Foundation, www.fredericktourism.org and the Maryland State Arts Council. 

Join me next time for more of my travels through Frederick. In a new millennium, this town is finding success in artistically fulfilling their vision, of a vibrant community through heart and spirit.

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