Art, Wine & Cupcake Walk - Thurmont MD

Friday, May 8, 2015 - 6:00 P.M to 8:30 P.M.

The Thurmont Art, Wine, & Cupcake Walk will be held in the downtown area near to the Town Square. Be sure to take the time to talk with the various Artists, we are always delighted to discuss about our creations with others!

Stop in at the Thurmont Main Street Center, south of the Town Square at 11 Water Street next to Brown’s Jewelry, and visit with our friend - nationally known Artist Yemi. Yemi is a unique Artist who works in many mediums. Many of his works can be seen displayed throughout the region.

Another great local Artist, Nancy Houston, will also be on hand at the Tourism building displaying her original pet portraits.

Travel up the street to 11 Church Street and the historic Creeger House just north of the Town Square. Here you can see the artwork and meet the Artists of the East Side, a group of local Artists that includes Cindy & Russ Poole (Phoenix Imagery Press), Sharon Crider-center, & Linda Sandagger on the right. Examples of their works can be seen below.

Above - Images by Sharon Crider

Below - Images by Linda Sandagger

Below - Images by Cindy Poole (l) & Russ Poole (r)

Don’t miss a stop into the Thurmont Bar & Grill at 10 E. Main Street to talk with the local Artist known as “Gnarly Artly” and see his artwork. John Nickerson is known regionally for his many unique works. His efforts include public art projects, murals, illustrations, original images on T shirts, and custom design work.

Above an original print created by John “Gnarly Artly” Nickerson. At the right an original T Shirt design also created by John “Gnarly Artly” Nickerson.

During your visit to Thurmont be sure to allow yourself time to stop by the
Timeless Trends Boutique at 21 E. Main Street to see the works of area Artist Rebecca Pearl. Timeless Trends will be hosting a special unveiling of Ms. Pearl’s newest print - a scene of the local Roddy Road Covered Bridge.

Of special note : in addition to the 4 Artists who will be present at the historic Creeger House members of the Thurmont Historical Society will also be on hand to show you around and tell you about their large collection of artifacts and local history research materials. You can also purchase a DVD copy of Almost Blue Mountain City - a fascinating exploration of the history of Thurmont and the surrounding area, buy a personalized brick for the walkway / Heritage Memorial, or become a member of the Thurmont Historical Society and help us support the effort to preserve local history for present and future generations.

Recent happenings around Thurmont MD

On Saturday, April 4, 2015 The Thurmont Historical Society received a donation of a unique piece of locally produced Hoke Furniture from members of the Hoke family.

Members of the Hoke family pose with the Deluxe Night Stand they have donated. Left to Right - Nancy (Hoke) Turner, Ronald Hoke, John Hoke, Susan (Hoke) Hahn

John Hoke showing Thurmont Historical Society President Donna Voellinger an archive of Hoke Furniture history he has created.

John Hoke describes one of the items in the archive to Donna Voellinger and Board member Carol Newmann.

The Hoke Furniture Company, begun in 1946 by Lloyd Hoke, was located on East Main Street in Thurmont, MD and a produced a variety of furniture items including an innovative Thru-Dor crib.

The item donated by the Hoke family is a Hoke, Model 9600, Deluxe Night Stand done in a “Blanco” (white) finish with Gold Leaf highlights. This piece was manufactured in 1981. In a serendipitous moment another piece of original Hoke Furniture, a Thru-Dor crib, arrived on the same day from a different donor. Highly innovative for the times the Thru-Dor crib was designed with wheels to easily roll from room to room throughout the houses of the era. Lightweight but sturdy it was designed to be easily folded for travel or storage and, when broken down, incorporated one of the sides as a handle for easy carrying.

Here are some additional photographs taken the day of the donation :

The Model 9600 Blanco finished Deluxe Night Stand donated by the Hoke Family
in place in
Mrs. Creeger’s Room of the Creeger House.

Brothers Ronald Hoke (l) and John Hoke (r) carry the Night Stand up the winding staircase to the second floor of the Creeger House.

Ronald Hoke (l) and John Hoke (r) navigate the tight second floor landing of the Creeger House while carrying the Night Stand into Mrs. Creeger’s Room.

Everyone examines the newly donated Hoke Furniture Company folding Thru-Dor
crib and the easy manner of collapsing it for transport.

Historical Society Board Member, and current Thurmont Mayor, John Kinnaird carries an original Hoke Furniture Company Thru-Dor crib to a new home on the second floor of the Creeger House. Here you can see how the folded side of the crib provides a convenient handle for easier transport.

John Hoke and Thurmont Historical Society President Donna Voellinger discuss the purchase of a personalized engraved brick for the Heritage Walk to be located at the entrance of the historic Creeger House.

More to come about recent Thurmont Historical Society happenings!

World Premiere

Sarah's Garden Social, Catoctin Furnace, UUCF Art exhibit, Cherry Smash, Trilliums Galore, backyard nature

Sadly this blog entry has taken many weeks longer to post than we had originally planned so it runs somewhat long. Between needing a breather from the lunacy of digital bombardment with all of the ads being pushed at us to the ever increasing problems with a certain cable company service in the application of the digital world to digesting the money grab that Adobe is promoting and their unwavering belief in the panacea effect of the imaginary “Cloud” as computing’s future to just plain physical aches and pains of encroaching age...

Great White Trillium, Trillium Grandiflorum
A Great White Trillium blooming in the mountains of Virginia.

As an aside, for anyone else thinking tech is becoming the proof of the inmates running the asylum you might want to visit the library and find a copy of
Too Much Magic - Pulling the Plug on the Cult of Tech by Jason Benlevi. It’s an interesting read and probably even available digitally for those who are controlled by “the Cloud” - which actually doesn’t exist and is really just a server farm in Virginia or Idaho or in some other country... The other Too Much Magic by Kunstler is not as light a read and more of a “gloom & doom” book... On the flip side modern tech is here to stay and changing by leaps and bounds so we need to learn to take control of it for our best interests. No, we’re not suggesting the machines will take over but it is unfortunate the more technology becomes intertwined with day to day life the more we have to sort through so much chaff to find the few usable kernels...

Having said that we’re back on track and here are some of the happenings from the real world that have occurred over the last few weeks.

hanging baskets, flowers, red, orange, yellow,

We began the day with a brief trip to Catoctin Mountain Growers to pick up some plants for the house & yard and to enjoy the incredible visual stimulation from their fifteen acres of colorful greenhouses. This wonderful location seems to fly beneath the radar of many folks living in the area, though a visit before any major holiday (Mothers Day in particular) will find an over flowing parking lot!

From there the road led us to....

Sarah’s Garden Social event

Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social

On Saturday May, 11, 2013 Harriet Chapel Catoctin Episcopal Parish, located in the historic village of Catoctin Furnace near Thurmont MD, was the site of the annual Sarah’s Garden Social event and spring fundraiser. Despite the occasional rain shower and the threat of more severe weather the turnout was quite impressive while we were there. Along with the festivities and a group of musicians providing entertainment there was a native plant sale, great food and local baked goods, and for the first time, an art contest/exhibit which was held in the sanctuary area of the beautiful church building.

Rev. Sally Joyner Giffen, Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social

The Rev. Sally Joyner Giffen was present everywhere it would seem as she made sure the day went smoothly, spoke with people about the art contest and stopped frequently to speak with parishioners and visitors both young and old. Elsewhere friends & neighbors stopped to chat and enjoy the event.

Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social
Rev. Sally Joyner Giffen greets visitors to the art show in the chapel.

Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social
Visitors check out the diverse collection of items in the art show.

Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social
Volunteers helped to judge the art show.

Harriet Chapel, Catoctin Furnace, Sarah's Garden Social
Friends & neighbors chat while others take a moment to sit down
and enjoy some of the great food items from the concession area.

Collier's House, Catoctin Furnace, Spring Fest
A little further down the road we pass an old country store, now vacant for many years, and continue on to the restored Collier’s House. Collier is an early English word and one definition refers to a person involved in the production of coal. Since there was no active coal seam in the area and Catoctin Furnace was powered with charcoal it more likely referred to the second definition which means a person who creates charcoal from the trees of the surrounding forests.

Collier's House, Catoctin Furnace, Spring Fest
A restored room in the Collier’s House

PATC Cabin, craft sale, Catoctin Furnace, Spring Fest

At the center of the village the
Catoctin Furnace Historical Society holds their annual Spring in the Village event featuring local crafts and tours of a few of the historic buildings. Some of the Society members were on hand to tell visitors about daily life in the late 1700s.

Visitors look over crafts for sale in the restored PATC Cabin.

PATC Cabin, craft sale, Catoctin Furnace, Spring Fest
Upstairs sleeping area of the PATC Cabin.

Gallery Exhibit opening

Other news from recent weeks finds the opening reception for an exhibit by the Frederick en plein air group at The Blanche Ames Gallery of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Frederick. The event had a very nice turnout of viewers and Artists.

Bonnie Sydnor, Artist, Blanche Ames Gallery, UUCF,

Artists Bonnie Sydnor (l) and
Deborah Lovelace Richardson (r)

Among those exhibiting works were our friends Bonnie Sydnor, Deb Richardson, Peter Plant, and Glenn Souders. The exhibit was outstanding in the quality of the work and the scope of the imagery. Congratulations to all of the Artists who participated!

Peter Plant, Artist, Blanche Ames Gallery, UUCF, Glenn Souders, Artist, Blanche Ames Gallery, UUCF,

Artists Peter Plant (l) and
Glenn Souders (r)

Bobby Flurie & Cherry Smash

Bobby Flurie, Brent Woodall, Cherry Smash, Frederick Festival of the Arts, 2013
We hope everyone had a chance to visit this year’s Frederick Festival of the Arts held along the Carroll Creek Promenade in downtown Frederick, MD. One of the highlights of the event was seeing a performance by Cherry Smash - house band for the famous Bayou Club in D.C. during the late 1960s - which includes our friend and guitarist extraordinaire/songwriter Bobby Flurie along with one of our high school classmates - drummer, singer, & songwriter Brent Woodall. Rounding out the group are two talented and versatile musicians - Mike Kelly on keyboards, and Ken Johnson on bass.

Mike Kelly, Cherry Smash, Frederick Festival of the Arts, 2013 Ken Johnson, Cherry Smash, Frederick Festival of the Arts, 2013
Keyboardist Mike Kelly (l) and Bassist Ken Johnson (r) of Cherry Smash.

A Carpet of Trilliums

Great White Trillium, Trillium Grandiflorum, Virginia
Early May is a time we normally head to the mountains of north central Virginia along the Shenandoah River Valley for a leisurely stroll through the millions of annual blooming Great White Trillium (Trillium Grandiflorum) that grow there. About eleven years ago I wrote an article for Virginia Wildlife Magazine about the incredible expanse of Trillium located at the Thompson W.M.A. near Paris, VA. During my research I located a professor from the Mount Cuba Center for the Study of Piedmont Flora who confirmed this was indeed the largest stand of native Great White Trillium in the United States - numbering over 12 million plants & blooms!! Interestingly this area holds a number of natural variations of color and flower shape, something not as likely to be seen in a smaller population.

Great White Trillium, Trillium Grandiflorum, Virginia
Because we were unable to make this year’s journey we have included images from last year along with some scanned from slides over a decade ago. NOTE : The Trillium Grandiflorum is a very slow growing plant (up to 7 years to flowering) and is in a designated wildflower preserve. Please DO NOT pick the flowers or dig up the plants if you venture out to see them. Enjoy the sensory experience and take some photographs to remember your visit instead...

Yellow Lady Slippers, Great White Trillium, Trillium Grandiflorum, Virginia
Yellow Lady Slipper Orchids grow among a group of Great White Trilliums.
Note some of the Trilliums display natural color variations.

Pink Lady Slipper, Frederick Watershed, Maryland

Back at the home front we’ve encountered a number of Pink Lady Slippers, including some “twin” plants, blooming in a recently clear cut area of the Frederick Watershed. Not far from that site we found one that has reliably bloomed in the same spot for over 12 years still hanging on.

Pink Lady Slipper, Frederick Watershed, Maryland
Pink Lady Slipper still blooming after 12 years.

Bicyclist, High Wheeler, Boneshaker, Thurmont, Maryland,

We recently encountered a bicyclist riding a “Boneshaker” 1800s style bike near Loys Station covered bridge and we have been inundated with an over abundance of wildlife - some welcome some not - in the back yard over the last few weeks.

Black Rat Snake, young, Thurmont, Maryland, Eastern Box Turtle, (Terrapene carolina), Thurmont, Maryland, Our “welcome” guests....

....and one less welcome. Ground Hog, (Marmota monax), Woodchuck, Whistle Pig, burrowing rodent, destructive, Thurmont, Maryland,

Peony, Family Paeoniaceae, flower, rain, water droplets, pink, Thurmont, Maryland

It has been a delight these past few weeks to finally see the gardens and yard beginning to come alive with a variety of brightly colored flowers in bloom after a long and strange winter and early spring.

Peony flowers after a spring shower.
Peony, Family Paeoniaceae, flower, rain, water droplets, white, Thurmont, Maryland

Bleeding Heart, genus Dicentra, red, Thurmont, Maryland
The last of the Bleeding Heart blooms of the season.

All content © Russell C. Poole

The Gettysburg Cyclorama demolition

Where's the logic? : the Gettysburg Cyclorama demolition

It should first be noted that we are long time supporters of the National Park Service and their many programs. This is not a general condemnation of the National Park Service but rather some questions pertaining to a specific event. Even so it is often nearly impossible to understand some of the illogical decisions they make or the justifications for making them.

Having said that here are a few thoughts on the recent demolition of the Gettysburg Cyclorama...

Cyclorama, Gettysburg, PA
This Cyclorama (the second built in Gettysburg to house the painting) was part of the 10 year Mission 66 Program for revitalizing the nation’s parks. The building was designed by Richard Neutra, a leading Modernist architect for the specific purpose of housing the enormous 360° painting of Pickett’s Charge - the second version of the painting created by French Artist Paul Philippoteaux during the 1880s - after the National Park Service purchased the painting. The Cyclorama first opened in the area know as Ziegler’s Grove in 1962 prior to the Battle of Gettysburg Centennial.

Gettysburg NMP Visitor Center,
During 1999 the Gettysburg National Battlefield arm of the National Park Service (NPS from here on) announced it intended to demolish the Cyclorama in the near future which immediately resulted in preservationist groups attempting to stop the demolition plans with lawsuits and other tactics. Fast forward to 2013 and the last of the previous 14 years worth of preservation efforts were overturned and the NPS ordered to consider alternative non-demolition uses and any impact the demolition would have on the area environment before proceeding. The NPS had already created the newer, modern Visitor Center located in a valley between Taneytown Road (Route 134) and Baltimore Pike (Route 97) and approximately 1/2 to 1 mile away from the site of the Cyclorama. In building this new center they had incorporated a “round barn” look to the top of the building to house the painting from the Cyclorama.

Ms. Katie Lawhon - a spokeswoman for the the Gettysburg NPS is quoted as saying the site the Cyclorama occupied was a “key portion of the Union battle line and important to the public understanding of what happened here”. An additional point to this story is the privately run Gettysburg Foundation, which works with the NPS, was willing to cover the $3.8 million cost of demolishing the Cyclorama. It is here where we have to say we disagree with the story we’ve been given...

I first visited the Cyclorama as a teenager in the mid 1960s. While the painting was impressive the most interesting part of the visit was walking outside and talking with the ranger/docent who pointed out the various locations of points of interest that were seen in the painting. The visitor experience doesn’t get any more immediate than that. I should mention I also experienced a similar understanding of the battle when viewed from the old Battlefield Tower which I witnessed as it was brought down by controlled demolition performed by Baltimore based CDI in 2000. Many also viewed this as an eyesore as they did the Cyclorama even though it served an interpretive purpose to the public. Ultimately the NPS exercised the right of “eminent domain” to seize the privately owned site in order to destroy the tower - presumably to improve the viewshed... But that’s a story for another day...

Fast forward to the modern new Visitor Center. We visited this building a few years ago and took time to see the painting and hear the presentation. Admittedly the painting looked quite impressive and almost new, as it well should with modern lighting and a $12 million restoration. Other than that there wasn’t much difference though the viewing area seemed more crowded. Walking outside this shiny new building we were greeted with the brightly painted side of a number of shuttle buses. Looking further all that could be seen was a sea of cars in the parking lot which we had to take in order to drive the mile plus by road to the area where Pickett’s Charge took place. So much for the immediacy of a connection to the story just seen and heard... It should also be noted that while photographing the initial demolition of the Cyclorama from the east end of the site I spoke with an area reporter. Turning to look slightly northeast of the site we could see the round top section of the new Visitor Center visible below us in the valley at least 1/2 mile away and the question that came to mind was how that contributed to a visitor’s understanding of what had taken place on the spot where we were standing. Of course the answer was “It doesn’t”.

We found it interesting when recent news articles stated the Cyclorama site, known as Ziegler’s Grove, would be restored to an 1863 appearance complete with a “period” apple orchard (that should be interesting...) and replica split rail fencing. Ironically, paintings we’ve seen of the area at the time of battle don’t show any orchard or fencing - most of that appears to have been somewhat east of the site. Adding to that problem a quick glimpse around where we’re standing shows a cemetery full of headstones of Civil War soldiers, a paved two lane highway and a large parking lot. Turn around 180° and you see another paved road (Emmitsburg Road), a restaurant (ironically named General Pickett’s Buffet) and a “Battle Theatre” tourist attraction... A little further southeast in the direction of the Wheatfield, the High Water Mark, or towards the Peach Orchard and Little Round Top all that can be seen is a paved road and fields full of monuments and granite markers, and a modern observation tower (similar to the one on Culp’s Hill)at the southeast end of Confederate Avenue. It is likely none of these were a part of the 1863 appearance...

Taking the time to stop by some of the businesses on the south side of Emmitsburg Road a few folks were asked about the Cyclorama including a number who worked or visited the area regularly. Not surprisingly most of them had no idea what we were talking about and fewer still knew where it was, in a couple cases even after it was pointed out to them on the hill less than 1/2 mile away. So much for the Cyclorama being a “disruption” to the visitor experience...

view from the Ziegler's Grove site, Gettysburg, PA
The view from the site of the Cyclorama / Ziegler’s Grove.

I photographed some of the stages of the Cyclorama demolition and the one thing that kept coming to mind was the private Gettysburg Foundation and their $3.8 million dollars - it comes as a great surprise that no one could think of a positive use for that money to re-purpose at least a part of the Cyclorama building?? This was a building designed by one of the best known Modernist architects and in itself old enough and unique enough to qualify for the National Register of Historic Places operated by the NPS! It is even more disturbing considering we recently received the winter edition of Preservationist Magazine which contained extensive coverage of Modernist concrete structures and the revived interest in saving and restoring them.
Cyclorama, from Little Round Top, Gettysburg, PA
The Cyclorama, pre-demolition, as seen from Little Round Top
blends in among all the monuments on the fields.

Cyclorama demolition, Gettysburg, PA

Cyclorama demolition, from east end, Gettysburg, PA

Stages of demolition as seen from the west end (above) and the east end (right) of the Cyclorama. The ramp, observation deck, and entry hall have already been demolished.

Cyclorama demolition, Gettysburg, PA The end of the line.

It is quite possible the initial decision to see the Cyclorama demolished was made by someone no longer involved in the process yet the wheels continued to turn in that direction for nearly a decade and a half. We personally have no issue with the NPS, the Gettysburg Foundation, or any of the other organizations or individuals involved with this sequence of events and still applaud most of their efforts to inform the public of our history. It is just troubling to see this structure, designed, built and funded with tax dollars, sit empty and unused for so long and then to be ultimately demolished, a finale that was pursued for fourteen years with a narrow vision and determination to reach this outcome however possible and likely at great cost in legal expenses to the taxpayers. Is it really possible that not one person during that entire process saw a way to make this work? In today’s economic climate it seems there could have been more effort applied to a creative re-purposing effort. We support the removal of trees, and other things that would allow a return of the general battlefield to a near 1863 appearance such as that done near Little Round Top and in the ”Valley of Death” near Plum Run. However, there seems to be little to gain with this demolition, other than a replica orchard and some possibly period correct split rail fencing. Despite the dyed in the wool Civil War buffs and other’s complaints of the Cyclorama as being “out of place” it still seems a waste.

We learned long ago whether dealing with wildlife, forests, or historical items there is preservation, conservation and wise use. While preserving the entire Cyclorama intact in this location may not have been feasible there’s no real reason part of it could not have been conserved by re-purposing as an “on the site” interpretive center of Pickett’s Charge which would have also been a wise use. Once lost these places are gone forever and are purposely erased from the collective memory. We can not, and probably should not, save every structure, viewshed, or artifact but in many cases their preservation or reuse can help us see and understand our distant past along with providing a complementary understanding of our recent past and a guide to our future.