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History & Lore

Photographer Jay Fleming documents life on — and in — the water

Yes, at five-plus pounds, photographer Jay Fleming’s Working the Water makes a beautiful coffee table book. Open it up, and you see it is much more. With breathtaking photos of Chesapeake fisheries and the men and women who work them to earn a living — as the last hunter-gatherers — Fleming takes you on an eye-opening tour of nature and the human spirit from above, under and on the water.

Captain Preston Hartge keeps Smith Bros. tugboats chugging along

Drive down Galesville Road, and everything seems unassuming and in its proper place. The old churches, the auto shop, the town hall, the post office, the country bungalows and older homes, the boats in yards: the ambiance is old-school and peaceful.     At Woodfield Road, a small sign with an arrow points to Smith Bros. but doesn’t say what Smith Bros. does. Drive down a couple of residential blocks until you are head on with Hartge Yacht Yard, and another small Smith Bros. sign and arrow point left.

In his model boats, Norman Gross records maritime history

Watermen name their boats for their wives and girlfriends. There was a time when Norman Gross thought it a romantic gesture. Now, he’s not so sure.     “Why did the men name the boats after their wives? Was it because they loved them? Or was it because they say stuff on the boat they couldn’t say at home?” the 58-year-old Gross wonders.

Middle-schooler’s project reminds us that we owe today’s big stripers to ’80s moratorium

Eighth-grader Brian Zagalsky has been fishing since he was three years old. Now his love of reeling in big fish is paying double dividends.     The Annapolis Middle Schooler’s class project for National History Day grew into a prize-winning exploration of Maryland’s five-year rockfish moratorium launched in 1985.

That’s the goal of Pirate’s Cove’s Pigs & Pearls Fundraiser to benefit the West & Rhode Riverkeeper

They say it was a hungry man who was the first to eat an oyster, but I disagree. I say it was a smart man, one who figured out how to set a bunch of oysters on a flat rock by a fire, cover them over with wet leaves and let them steam until they popped open, then slurped down all those succulent bits of salty goodness. Come to think of it, that was probably one smart woman who figured that out.

Take another guess or two

“What are those things?” a friend inquired.     The photos Shady Sider Kate King posted after she and son Caleb explored Calvert County’s Matoaka Beach showed a row of large concrete rings lined up on the shore.     “Alien spaceship remains,” King replied.     Are they really?     Steve Kullen of the Calvert County Department of Community Planning pulled back the curtain on this mystery.

A commuter’s love song

I love the Bay Bridge. Even when I’m in a line of slow-moving homebound traffic, even when I’m behind a carload of Bay-gazing tourists or even when facing winds, rains or snows that challenge the journey, I still love it.

Maryland Day: Our heritage, our legacy

How did you get here? Are you a ninth-generation Marylander, tracing your emigrating ancestors back to the Ark and the Dove? Or a first-generation transplant, here for new opportunity?     With a few indigenous exceptions, all of us Marylanders — regardless of how recent or how ancient — are immigrants, refugees, explorers or colonists.

And how should we spell her name?

Anne Arundel is a name we know hereabouts — in one spelling or another. There’s Anne Arundel County, Arundel roads galore and the Ann Arrundell Historical Society, to name a few.     Behind the name is a woman, Anne Arundell, who lived in England about the same time as Shakespeare. The Arundel family name had its impact on us due to Anne’s 1628 marriage into the influential Calvert family.

Black on the Shore in the early 20th century, as painted by Ruth Starr Rose

On Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Ruth Starr Rose believed she had been “suddenly transplanted into a fairy world.”     After Wisconsin, rural Talbot County under the dominating influence of Chesapeake Bay must have been quite the surprise. Certainly her mother was taken aback by their new home, Hope House, a run-down Georgian mansion and tobacco plantation that had belonged to General George Washington’s aide de camp Tench Tilghman. She had gotten nothing much more than a view, a stairway and a cemetery, Ida Starr lamented upon their arrival.