This beautiful bronze neoclassical relief of a woman laying flowers in Green Mount Cemetery, 1501 Greenmount Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, is dedicated to lawyer Harry Norman Baetjer (1882-1969) and his wife, Katherine Bailey Bruce Baetjer (1881-1923). The couple had four children, including 2Lt Edwin George Baetjer, II. Edwin was killed in action aboard a B-29 when it crashed in China after a bombing raid over Anshan in what was then the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo.
Step back in time and explore the former capital of Colonial Virginia, where Founding Fathers like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and more walked the streets.
Both an actual town and open air museum, Colonial Williamsburg allows visitors to walk the same streets as legendary figures from the past and explore authentic and reconstructed Colonial-Era buildings. You need a ticket to enter the buildings and museums, but you can walk the streets and enter the shops and restaurants for free. Historical and haunted tours are plentiful, including carriage rides!
In many ways, Colonial Williamsburg reminds me of Tombstone, Arizona, another attempt by a living community to reconstruct history. Like Tombstone, Williamsburg got left behind when its moment in the sun passed. Its historic buildings were modified and fell into disrepair over the decades after Virginia’s capitol was moved to Richmond in 1780.Continue reading “Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia’s Historic Triangle”
The 1950s were both the heyday and twilight of classic American diners. As fast-food began to take off and the population grew, entrepreneurs were less likely to invest in establishments with such limited space and seating. Major diner manufacturers went out of business in the 1950s, including The Jerry O’Mahony Diner Company in 1952, the Worcester Lunch Car Company in 1957, and Mountain View Diners Company in 1957.
Still, when you think of the classic American diner, the 1950s always come to mind, with countertop jukeboxes and waitresses in pink aprons. In the late 1950s, the term “diner-restaurant” began to be used, as restaurateurs built larger, fixed structures retaining familiar diner elements.
Wolfe’s Diner, 625 N. U.S. Route 15 in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, is a 1952 O’Mahony, one of the last to be produced. Striped, stainless steel exteriors and flat roofs (as opposed to the classic barrel roof) and neon lights are characteristic of diners built in the 1950s. They resemble RVs or mobile homes.Continue reading “Diners Through the Decades: 1950s”
For over a century, Illinois pioneers believed silver was a powerful weapon against witchcraft.
Using a silver bullet to kill a werewolf is a common feature of modern horror movies and fiction, but pioneers once considered silver a powerful remedy for witchcraft. Typical counter-magic called for a witch’s effigy to be shot with a silver bullet, or for a more passive approach, a dime inserted into a shoe.
In nineteenth century Illinois, coins were the most readily available source of silver. Before the Coinage Act of 1965, dimes consisted of around 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. In addition to being composed of precious metals, dimes issued prior to 1837 were slightly larger than today, with a diameter of 18.8 millimeters and mass of between 2.5 to 2.67 grams. Dimes could be worn as amulets, boiled in water, or melted down and molded into bullets.
Pioneers also manufactured silver bullets by drilling a hole in a musket ball and inserting a folded dime. Smoothbore muskets, which were still in use on the frontier after the development of the rifled musket in the 1840s, were versatile weapons that could fire a variety of homemade ammunition. Witch tales frequently ended with the protagonist drawing an effigy of the witch and shooting it with these silver bullets, which either broke the spell or destroyed the witch.
The improvement and increase in popularity of breech-loading rifles and standardized ammunition gradually eliminated this practice.
In this typical tale, told by an Irish informant from Adams County, Illinois to folklorist Harry Middleton Hyatt, the process by which the protagonist manufactured a silver bullet was explained in detail. “Some people were living by a witch and she was always borrowing from them or giving something,” he said. “They always had trouble. She came to the house one day and wanted to borrow lard. The man of the house said, ‘No. And I don’t want you to come here any more.’ The witch said, ‘You’ must let me have the lard for I am sick and must have it.’”Continue reading “Silver Bullets and Silver Tea–Pioneer Remedies for Witchcraft”
Monument to Jefferson F. Davis in Hollywood Cemetery, 412 S. Cherry Street in Richmond, Virginia. Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was most infamously known for being the first and only president of the Confederate States of America, from 1861 to 1865. A Mississippian by birth, Davis also served as a U.S. Congressman, Senator, and Secretary of War. He spent his twilight years at Beauvoir in Biloxi, Mississippi and was buried in Louisiana. In 1893, his body was re-interred in Hollywood Cemetery.