Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ghosts Prison Pumps Oysters Academy and the Poorhouse

Having had a great dinner with my sister last night, we are up bright and early for Day 2 of our road trip. The schedule has us leaving at 7:30, however if we travel at night it is not a big deal anymore. Not that a deer strike can’t be damaging in a car, I tend to forget this fact. Our choice was to head to Cape May and take the ferry over to Delaware, but our last 2 trips south this is what we did. Instead we headed due west toward Philadelphia. Pictures are clickable and will enlarge.

First stop is the Burlington County Prison in Mt Holly, NJ, a NHL. It was the oldest operating prison in the US, when it closed in 1965. Built in 1811 and was designed with prisoner rehabilitation in mind. I think the In Mind part is still true today. As an added attraction it is also haunted by a legless, floating spirit that moves from the entrance to the yard. I did not see it, but it was mid-morning so they were probably resting.

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I have said this before, southern Jersey is a boring place to ride on a bike, being in a car doesn’t improve the roads, they are pretty straight. We passed into National Park and head for the Delaware River to visit the Red Bank Battlefield. There is not a lot to see here other than the monuments erected for the Revolutionary War battle. There is a ditch which surrounded some earthworks, which are gone. However it was another destination off the list. It is also a NHL.

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Red Bank Battlefield

 We crossed the Delaware River and headed south to New Castle for the County Court House. New Castle was originally settled by the Dutch in 1651 by Peter Stuyvesant. It was named Fort Casimir but changed to Fort Trinity and then New Amstel. The town was conveyed to the English in 1680, with William Penn taking over. It was the first capital of Delaware and very quaint town to walk around.

This is the New Castle Post Office built by the WPA folks.
New Castle, DE - 19720 - U.S. Post Offices

New Castle County Courthouse, an occasional court held there serves to keep alive the claim that this building is the oldest continuously used chamber of justice in the United States.

New Castle County Court House

Doorways to the town.

New Castle County Court House

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Ghosts on the side of the buildings

N Katz & Fine Tailors - New Castle DE

I got talking to the guy that is sitting. As you can see he is all humped over and he really has some tales to be told about New Castle. He has lived here all his life. He pointed to the tree across the street and told me that he watched that tree grow up as a boy. They are going to have to take the tree down because it is all rotted inside and is going to eventually fall. Other than that the tree has no significance historically to the world, but it means everything to him. My guess he comes down here everyday to simply sit and watch the bay.

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We also visited Stonum, a NHL, that belonged to George Read, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. To me the place looked pretty run down. Being private property I did not invade their space and took pictures for further than I wanted. When I think about it I cut thru some back yards of houses without any thought of their privacy. 

Stonum - New Castle DE

Next was the Old Pump House for the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. This is also desiginated as a NHL. The pump house was built in 1837. Since there were no large rivers feeding the canal directly, water had to be pumped uphill to fill the upper canal and locks. In the 20th century the canal was deepened, eliminating the need for the pumps. The wheel inside the house could pump 20,000 gallons per minute. 

Old Lock Pump House, Chesapeake and Delaware Canal
Pump House

Old Lock Pump House, Chesapeake and Delaware Canal
The Pump (one of them)

Old Lock Pump House, Chesapeake and Delaware Canal
The Wheel pushing 20,000 gallons per minute

Old Lock Pump House, Chesapeake and Delaware Canal
The Canal
As we crossed the Sassafras River in Georgetown we stopped in the local marina looking for the Nellie Crockett. The NC was an oyster buy-boat built for Andrew Crockett. It was built specifically to operate at a boat that bought the oysters from the skipjacks and brought the harvest back to docks for sales. This enabled the skipjacks to continue harvesting oysters on the beds. We had to grab this picture from the bridge that crossed the Sassafras, since the boat is on private property and not readily accessible. 

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We continued south on US 301 and crossed over into Annapolis for a bunch of targets. We have passed thru here a couple times but never really spent any time so to speak. First up was the Maryland Statehouse, which is the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use, dating back to 1772.  It has the distinction of being topped by the largest wooden dome constructed without nails in the US. I wonder how I find the largest one constructed with nails.

Maryland State House

We grabbed 4 houses that are National Historic Landmarks, while we were here. 

The Brice House which was occupied by James Brice who was the Mayor of Annapolis and acting Governor of Maryland in 1792.

Brice House

The Paca House was owned by William Paca a signer of the Declaration of Independence the Governor of Maryland. The house was built between 1763 and 1765.

Paca House and Garden - Annapolis, MD

The Chase-Lloyd House dates back to 1769-1774. It was started for Stuart Chase, who was a signed of the DOI and sold it unfinished to Edward Lloyd.

Chase-Lloyd House

Right across the street is the Hammond-Harwood House, also a NHL’r. It is premier colonial houses in the US form the British colonial period. It was designed by William Buckland, a noted architect of the day. It was designed and built for a wealthy farmer and modeled after the Villa Pisani in Italy.

Hammond-Harwood House - Annapolis MD

It was time for a visit to the US Naval Academy. We entered thru one of the gates close to the chapel. As soon as we rounded the bend, there was a flash and a really really loud clap. It made both of us jump. We tried to get into the Chapel but the doors were locked. More thunder, we decided to head back to the car. No sooner than we got into the Mini, the clouds were ripped open and bigger than buckets of rain fell. It was raining so hard, it was hard to see where we were driving. This was one of those moments I turned to MeAsWe and said I am sure glad we are not on the bike.

United States Naval Academy

We got out of Annapolis and headed further south on Rt 2, heading for the London Town Publik House. It was still pouring, but figured we were so close that we might as well try to grab the place.  We got there and it was still raining but the sky had the brightening look to it, so we sat in the Mini and waited and watch the sky clear up. Our patience was rewarded and we were able to grab some pictures.

This place was the home of William Brown and a Colonial era tavern. It was built between 1758 and 1764. Sometime after it was built, William found himself a bit overextended and had to let it go to James Dick, who was holding paper on the joint.  It was operated as a county poor house from 1828 to 1965. It is a museum now.

London Town Publik House - Woodland Beach MD

London Town Publik House - Woodland Beach MD

 We attempted one more place Tulip Hill, which is a plantation and had no luck finding it. On the list was about 5 more places to grab, however most of them were in the Fredericksburg area and we could grab them since we were going to be there for 4 days. We called it a day and headed for our hotel. 

We pulled in right around 7:30. I had booked the Best Western before we left thru Priceline and got a good price. At the desk I said reservations for Bill Collins and the manager said I don’t see anything under that name. I went out to the car and got my reservation slip and was reading as I was walking in. It is 9/12 and the reservations were bought and paid for 9/19.  What an idiot I was. Now what. The manager found the reservations and simply moved the dates back one week. He didn’t have to do that and I was grateful that he did. It would have sucked if I had to pay for 4 days that I was never going to use.

To view the photos as a slide show CLICK HERE

Todays travels.

Map 2013 09 12


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are very interesting. Did you use a filter on your camera or how did you capture the colors in that way?