Tag: local history

Baltimore, You’ve Been Walking Your Dogs Over War of 1812 Artifacts

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Patterson Park's Forgotten War of 1812 History
Photo by Anne, via Flickr.

Patterson Park may be quite tranquil now, but in September 1814 (when it was known as Hempstead Hill), the park hosted “thousands of militia men” as they prepared to defend Baltimore against a British land invasion in the War of 1812.

Baltimore Heritage has begun a month-long archaeological dig at Patterson Park at what they believe were the north and south ends of the War of 1812 entrenchment. (The headquarters were probably somewhere between the pagoda and the Friends of Patterson Park building.)

The excavation, which began Wednesday, has so far unearthed “bricks, mortar, glass, nails, shards of pottery, and a gunflint.” And no doubt countless cigarette butts and dog bones. In addition to artifacts from the war itself, the archaeologists hope to find evidence of Laudenslager’s butcher’s shop, from which Butcher’s Hill got its name.

Betsy Bonaparte Exhibition and Ball at the Maryland Historical Society

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Betsy

catch of the day fish (2)The Belle of Baltimore. That’s Elizabeth “Betsy” Patterson Bonaparte—daughter of William Patterson of Patterson Park fame and first wife to Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon Bonaparte of trying-to-conquer-the-world fame. If Betsy’s name is new to you, all you really need to know is that she was one of the femme fatales of the War of 1812 generation. As an 18-year-old, she set the gossipmongers atwitter (analog style) with her revealing empire dresses that she wore to local society events. With her jet-setting lifestyle (pre- jets, of course) and devil-may-care approach to life as a woman in the 1800s, Betsy caused a stir wherever she went, and kept it up until her death at age 94. Her father, William, is quoted as having said, “Betsy has caused me a great deal more trouble than all my other children together.” Now there’s a role model! Am I right? Just skip the parts about trying to capitalize on your in-law’s delusions of grandeur and empire, and you’re good to go.

Free Fall: Baltimore Museum of Industry’s Free Sundays

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Baltimore Museum of Indusrty Free Fall

We know. The words, “Museum of Industry” don’t exactly scream funnest day ever. Maybe the museum needs a name-make-over? On the other hand, the Baltimore Museum of Industry really is just that—a museum about the rise and history of local industry—something our city has a lot to say about. And perhaps because there is so much history and richness there, it really is a great museum. It’s surprisingly fun for kids (as any attendee of the Baltimore City schools can tell you), and legitimately interesting for adults. The pictures and exhibits help visitors picture Baltimore as it was not-too-long ago, and put themselves in the shoes of those who worked in the mills and factories that shaped the town we call home today. Plus, Halloween is around the corner and the current special exhibition is about the Baltimore-manufactured (well, until 1966) Ouija Board. We’re calling that a coincidence to spooky to ignore. For one more week, as a part of Free Fall Baltimore, the museum is offering free admission on Sundays—a great opportunity to check out this local gem.

 For information about hours, location, and exhibits, visit www.thebmi.org

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