Letters to the Editor

Vol. 8, No. 15
April 13-19, 2000
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Hooray for London Town

Dear Bay Weekly:

Mary Catherine Ball’s splendid article on Greg Stiverson, “Maryland’s Minister of History,” and Christy Grimes’ “The Historic Gardens of London Town” [March 23-29] were delightful. Moreover, they revealed a refreshing turnabout in what has been termed the ‘heritage business’ by some.

That a director of a historic resource management organization, the London Town Foundation, would deliberately turn his nose up at the manufactured ‘Williamsburg Experience’ and the by-the-busload mentality so popular among many museums and historic sites to embrace authenticity, controlled visitation and the preservation of the historic landscape at and around the London Town House and Gardens is a breath of fresh air.

As an educator, manager and cultural activist, Stiverson appears to have provided a badly needed dose of direction for one of the premier historic properties in our state and, indeed, the nation. That he obviously loves his work, bringing history out of the dust bin and making it acceptable and worthwhile, is a boon to Anne Arundel County and Maryland. His zeal is obviously infectious. And that is a good thing, for though he has a lot to work with, there is a long road ahead, which can be both a blessing and a curse.

London Town, one of the many scores of so-called colonial “paper” towns of Tidewater Maryland created by acts of legislation, was one of the few to actually grow and prosper as an international entrepot. As such it is an historical and archaeological treasure. And it is now revealing, as Ball and Grimes so adeptly illustrated in their articles, some wonderful jewels. The Lost Towns of Anne Arundel Project, for instance, by systematically examining the physical remnants of colonial London Town, is a shining example of what archaeology is all about: putting flesh on the bone of history. And the gardens! How can you go wrong?

London Town is the story of Everyman. And it is indeed a tale worth telling, warts and all, for it is the real story of colonial Maryland and America in microcosm. Thank goodness there are men such as Stiverson at the helm and leaders in the county and state government wise enough to pay attention to him. Now, if only the politicians and public would put their money where it counts.

—Donald G. Shomette, Dunkirk

Editor’s note: Donald Shomette, a prolific writer on Maryland history, is finishing a book for Tidewater Press on the Lost Towns of Maryland.

Looking Good

Dear Bay Weekly:

Congratulations on your crisp new look — and on using scratchboard artist Gary Pendleton, who is a regular contributor for our Potomac Review, “the regionally rooted quarterly with a conscience.”

—Eli Flam, Port Tobacco

Editor’s note: Flam is editor of Potomac Review.

How to Get to Roedown

Dear Bay Weekly:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your cover article, “A Day in the Life: Roedown Races” [March 6-13]. It sounds like a wonderful venture. I would like to know more about the date of this race, how to get the exact location, etc.

I always enjoy your publication and have gotten much info about this area, as I am a relatively new resident on the Bay.

—Eileen Rowland-Aist,
[email protected]

Editor’s note: Roedown Races are run by Marlborough Hunt Club throughout the afternoon of the last Sunday in March or first Sunday in April on Hal C.B. Clagett’s Roedown Farm, at the intersection of Harwood and Wayson roads in Davidsonville. Look in Good Bay Times calendar beginning the middle of March.

Copyright 2000
Bay Weekly