From obscure to famous, sites find place on map

June 24, 1999|By TaNoah Morgan | TaNoah Morgan,SUN STAFF

Annapolis may be the heart of the county's tourism industry, but more than 40 museums and roadside markers outside the state capital tell about the county's rich history of Quaker meetings, war, farming and telecommunications.

"Journey to Our Past," a new map produced by the Shady Side Rural Heritage Society and the Captain Salem Avery House Museum in Shady Side, lists all of the county's historic locales, not just the famous tourist attractions.

The map lists every museum and historical site open to the public and weaves historical fragments into the story of the development of a county.

Holly Hill, a house on Route 261 in Friendship built in 1665 by a Quaker planter and ship owner, is one of the oldest sites. The Steward Colonial Shipyard in Galesville, which was raided and burned by British soldiers, ties the county to the Revolutionary War. It was the only Revolutionary skirmish in the county.

The Benson Hammond House, the last remaining farmhouse on Baltimore-Washington International Airport property, stands as a monument to the county's truck farm industry. And the Historical Electronics Museum in Linthicum features treasures of defense electronics, including radar.

Even the one-room Hartge Nautical Museum in Galesville, which opened this month, has a space on the 17-by-24-inch fold-out map.

"There are a lot of us little groups out in the county who get no attention at all," said Susan Savage-Stevens, project director. "This puts all of us on the same playing ground."

The free maps will make their debut July 4, during the Shady Side museum's Independence Day celebration. They will be available at the county visitors bureaus in Annapolis and at museums throughout the county.

The full-color map, illustrated with sketches of museums, categorizes the 63 sites as African-American, military, railroad or Colonial period.

"It would allow [visitors] to plan their day," said designer Ruthie Thompson. "They'll know when the museum opens, know a little of what it's about. Hopefully it'll bring more visitors."

"Journey to Our Past" is a part of Celebrate 350 Annapolis and Anne Arundel, a yearlong anniversary celebration of the settling of the area. Another Celebrate 350 program, "Passport to History," is bringing more visitors to the out-of-the-way museums in the county. The Captain Salem Avery House, for example, has doubled visiting hours for the summer to accommodate more visitors.

Savage-Stevens got the idea for the map last year when she saw a similar one for Queen Anne's County. Meanwhile, Greg Johnson and Dana Flanders, friends of the museum, were researching historic markers in the county in hopes of writing a book, but they could not find money for their project.

Six weeks in the making, the project attracted much support.

Preservation Maryland gave $2,000 in late February, and Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation added $1,000 in April. Shady Side residents came up with $1,800 to help double the first printing to 31,000 copies.

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