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This operating year, July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, has seen so many significant developments that it must be identified as one of the best years in our 16-year history. Witness:
- Hancock’s Resolution has been chosen by the National Park Service (NPS) to be on the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail (STSP). There are three reasons for this: 1- On August 24, 1814 the British burned a fine American Schooner in Bodkin Creek that they identified as being the “Lion of Baltimore”; 2- Francis Hancock, Master of Hancock’s Resolution at the time, was the Captain of a 33-man Company in the 22nd Regiment, Maryland Militia, defending the Bodkin part of the South Shore of the Patapsco River; 3- The Hancock family played a role in the “Bodkin Telegraphe”, a flag signaling system for Baltimore merchants begun in 1608 and lasting for years after the War of 1812.
- A multi-year planning logjam has broken with FOHR, the County, the State-level Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), and the Critical Area Commission working “in sync.” to bring back a barn to the farm. This new post-and-beam barn will include a number of Visitor Center amenities that we totally lack at the present time.
- The MHT has approved our patching the old, deteriorated tin patches on the main floor of the farmhouse (they are “holey”) with new - tin patches.
- The County is actively engaged in clearing debris off the forest floor at Hancock’s, greatly reducing the forest fire hazard and opening up additional areas for us to plant crops, or use as pasture, in the future. Board Member Barbara Polito has been a key person in getting this to happen.
- Our new Morton service building is up and operating giving us double the space for operations-support and storage. While FOHR paid for the structure, Henry Schmidt and Bill Mason made significant contributions.
- We have completed the first year (~$6,000) of a two or three-year restoration of the c. 1800 Calvert Corn Crib, a rare auxiliary farm building from this early period. Internal bracing needs to be added to stabilize the structure and a wood shingle roof put on to replace the present tin roof.
- A completely new Historic Hancock’s Resolution web site began operating in early June hosted by MOJO, a local Glen Burnie company. Betty Ann Blanchard is directing the effort. It is being augmented by a Facebook site that, Dawn Blanchard advises, now has more than 100 “friends”.
- Our collaboration with the Maryland Master Gardner program continues to be strong with their team of beekeepers struggling mightily to keep two hives alive while other volunteer gardeners are helping our Chief Gardener, Nance Allred, maintain our gorgeous kitchen and dooryard gardens.
- Led by Dianne Feeney, our programming has expanded to involve a range of educational activities developed in collaboration with the Monarch Academy, a Charter school in Glen Burnie. The students then brought their parents back to see what they had been doing resulting in 81 visitors on an otherwise standard day. With this first experience, we definitely will do more programs like this.
- After three years of preparation, our ~1/4 acre farm field is ready to be planted with old-time farm crops. Now all we need is a few volunteer farmers. Interested?
GRADUATING WITH HONORS
Two of FOHR’s most stalwart volunteers are staying on our Board but are departing from their long-time assignments. Barbara Ballengee, who has been FOHR’s most excellent Secretary FOREVER is passing that assignment on to Dianne Feeney at the end of this meeting; and Sue Betz, who has been our prize Chief Gardener for almost forever, is now vacationing in Europe, having passed this assignment on to Nancy Allred. We thank them mightily for their interest, expertise and devotion to the cause; and it’s not like they are leaving us totally. We also are very happy that we have two talented replacements for them. Life could be a lot worse.
NOW, PLEASE NOTE:
We in Northern Anne Arundel County are at a “tipping point” in our historic programming. This is because, in an area where there has been little-to-no heritage tourism, we can get into this very lucrative industry. The new basis for this is that there are now three sites in North County on the Star-Spangled Banner NHT: Hancock’s Resolution in Pasadena, Twin Oaks in Linthicum and Ft. Smallwood in Pasadena; and we hope for a fourth – Curtis Creek Furnace in Glen Burnie. The ten or twelve STSP sites in Anne Arundel County will be tied together in a County tourist-type map devoted to their visitation. When our three or four sites are added to the three historical public farm venues in North County, Hancock’s Resolution, the Benson Hammond House and Kinder Farm Park, there is quite a nucleus of
places to visit. It is time for FOHR, the Ann Arrundell County Historical Society (Linthicum), the Pasadena Business Association (PBA), the North County Chamber of Commerce and the County Recreation and Parks Department (Kinder Farm Park, Ft. Smallwood Park, Historic Hancock’s Resolution Park) to set about organizing this.
LET’S MAKE THIS OUR BIG CHALLENGE FOR 2013/2014.
James R. Morrison