By Charlie Hall, State Terrestrial Archeologist
A close-up of one of the petroglyphs removed from its original location in the Susquehanna River.
From simple pecked cups, to grooved parallel lines, to complex diamond shapes and curvilinear compositions, the Susquehanna River’s Bald Friar petroglyphs have generated interest – and mystery – for hundreds of years. Native Americans originally carved the abstract images into large, island-sized boulders between what is now the Pennsylvania line and the Conowingo Dam. In 1927, the petroglyphs were removed from their location to save them from inundation from the dam, after which the Maryland Academy of Sciences cemented together the fragmented stones for exhibition. No one knows the precise age or meaning of the petroglyphs.
Now, in the historic Rock Run Grist Mill within view of the Susquehanna River, a new exhibit at Susquehanna State Park features some of the enigmatic artifacts, coupled with interpretative text. The exhibit is not large, but it deftly covers the mysterious history of these images carved in rock, as well as the more recent journey they have taken.
The Bald Friar Exhibit at Susquehanna State Park.
Spurred in part by a desire to present a more comprehensive picture of the Bay region and Native peoples, the Chesapeake Conservancy brought together the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to house the exhibit and the Maryland Historical Trust to execute a loan for the artifacts. Financing for the design and fabrication of the exhibit was provided by Turney McKnight, a member of the Chesapeake Conservancy’s Board of Directors. Turney has a deep and manifest interest in the petroglyphs, and his generosity (and good humor) literally took this exhibit from a great idea to a terrific product.
Although no one fully understands the Bald Friar petroglyphs, they were not randomly or casually positioned on the landscape. Placed between the lowest ford and the deepest “sink” within the falls of the Susquehanna River, their meaning must have been connected to that place. We may never know who made the images or when, or for whom the message was intended. We can be sure, however, that by bringing some of the petroglyphs to the bank of the Susquehanna River – only about 6 miles from their original location – Turney McKnight and the Chesapeake Conservancy have returned them to the place where that message resonates best.
By Anne Raines, Administrator, Capital Grants and Loans
Aberdeen Train Station on the move.
This week in Aberdeen, residents and visitors traveling into town on Bel Air Avenue have been greeted by a surprising sight: the old B&O Railroad Station is on the move! Although the building isn’t moving far – about 60’ further away from the tracks and about 30’ parallel – the move has required a tremendous amount of planning and preparation. The project is spearheaded by the Historical Society of Harford County, which has engaged Wolfe House and Building Movers of Bernville, Pennsylvania, to orchestrate the move, after plans by architecture firm David H. Gleason Associates, Inc. and engineers Welsh Engineering and G.W. Stephens. Continue reading
By Peter Morrill, Curator Program Manager, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Gardiner Farm House
Do you ever dream about restoring and living in a historic house? Or living on pristine rural land within one of Maryland’s beautiful state parks? If so, check out the Department of Natural Resources Resident Curatorship Program. The Curatorship Program offers historically significant state-owned properties to private individuals for rehabilitation. In exchange for rehabbing and maintaining the property, curators are given lifetime tenancy – rent free. The Curatorship Program allows private individuals to breathe new life into significant historic properties which might otherwise be lost.
Stuart Grosvenor and members of the
Janet Montgomery Chapter of the DAR
dedicate the new Richard Montgomery
marker in Rockville.
Photo courtsey of Nancy Kurtz, MHT
The Maryland Historical Trust, the State Highway Administration and local partners have developed and installed seven new markers along Maryland’s roadways. The markers celebrate people, places and events important in the history of the state, including Ocean City, Maryland’s Atlantic Ocean resort; the Somerset County seat, established in the seventeenth century; a nineteenth century African American community and school in Anne Arundel County; the nation’s first war hero and namesake of Montgomery County; a hexagonal fieldstone school in Harford County; a seventeenth century battle along the Severn River; and a twentieth century African American community baseball park in Somerset County. Continue reading