Heritage tourism put in spotlight

Galesville pushes maritime, historical spots

April 07, 2006|By NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON | NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON,SUN REPORTER

Hoping to pique the interest of some of the millions of tourists who each year visit Anne Arundel County, the Galesville Heritage Society has published a brochure highlighting some of the maritime community's top historical and cultural attractions.

The four-color brochure lists 23 heritage tour sites within the waterfront community in southern Anne Arundel, including many that date to the 1800s.

The West River Market, at 1000 Main St., is one of the sites along the tour. It opened in the mid-1800s as a general store and has been converted into an art gallery and antiques shop.

At 920 W. Benning Road exists one of the few Rosenwald Schools left in the county. The school for African-American children operated until the early 1950s. The Galesville Community Center Organization plans to preserve the building and use it as a community center.

Also included is the Galesville Memorial Hall, a community gathering site that was constructed in 1916 on land deeded to the community for $5.

For boating enthusiasts, there is the Hartge's Yacht Yard/Nautical Museum at 4881 Church Lane.

About 3 percent of tourists visit the historical sites such as those featured in Galesville, located some 15 miles south of Annapolis.

Galesville's focus on heritage tourism is part of a growing trend throughout the county, especially in the southern region.

"South County is a very important part of our heritage area and of our story," said Donna Dudley, executive director of Four Rivers: The Heritage Area of Annapolis, London Town and South County. "It doesn't have much lodging, but we are looking for daytrippers who are interested in history and cultural resources."

Dudley said that the hope is that tourists who visit Annapolis - the county's top tourist destination - will venture south to Galesville and spend money in antique shops, restaurants and small art galleries.

"It's a cumulative economic development that doesn't strain resources," she said.

"Visitors are already in the area; we're just helping to channel them to places that are ready for them."

Home to about 700 residents, Galesville was founded in 1652 on the West River.

Edward R. Reilly, the Republican County Councilman who represents Galesville, said that the increased foot traffic would mean sustaining the town's historic restaurants. For tourists, a trip to Galesville would offer "a peek at an Anne Arundel County landmark and a chance to experience a small village atmosphere at its best."

nia.henderson@baltsun.com

For more information, call 410-867-9499 or go to galesvilleheritagesociety.org

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