Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Annapolis and Baltimore

We left Virginia Beach on October 29 and drove up the Eastern Shore toward Annapolis.  It was a very nice day, and we always enjoy seeing a part of the country that we haven't seen before.  Well, we usually enjoy that.

We had reservations in the Hampton Inn in Annapolis, which is located in the western part of town in the area we used to call Parole.  At least, I think that is where Parole is.  Annapolis has grown quite a bit since I graduated in 1973.  As midshipmen, most of us did not spend much time in the city itself.  You could run into officers there who might take issue with something you were doing, and so if you could, it was generally better to head toward Washington or Baltimore.  I usually chose the former.

So midshipmen did not appreciate the city of Annapolis, and I was no exception.  We referred to it as Crabtown by the Bay, or the small fishing village on the banks of the Naval Academy.  It was, and may still be, the only state capital without either its own airport or train station.  We also used to say that the best view of Annapolis was as it got smaller in the rear view window.

So more recent visits over the years have changed my outlook about the city itself.  Annapolis is phenomenally picturesque and is a very historic place.  It was a tobacco shipping port and there was also a slave market in the harbor area.  The Middleton Tavern has been there since before the French and Indian War (Seven Years War).

We went to the Navy football game on Saturday, which the Blue and Gold managed to lose.  We had been out to my first class (senior) year roommate's house.  John and Susan moved to Maryland from San Rafael just as we arrived in San Francisco four years ago.  We had a great time visiting with them, and also seeing other classmates at the tailgate before the game.  I took a few pictures of the Academy grounds.

Above is Bancroft Hall, which houses the entire Brigade of Midshipmen.  It is actually several interconnected buildings.  These are of the front of "Mother B," and you can see the window to my room during my last year there.  See the dormer windows on the top deck (floor)?  Mine was the second one from the right.

The grounds of the Yard are quite picturesque.  I had quite a few classes in the buildings in the lower photo above, including the Mahan Hall library which housed most non-technical books.  During our last semester there, the various libraries were closed for several weeks so the collections could be centrally located in the brand new Nimitz Library.

These two pictures are of the Macedonian monument.  The guns are from the British frigate HMS Macedonian, captured by USS United States during the war of 1812.  This action cemented the reputation of Captain Stephen Decatur.  During that action, USS United States's sailing master was John Drake Sloat, the subject of my current historical research.  So I took some pictures for the time when the publisher wants them.  That time is a long way off.

For the same purpose, I also went to Baltimore to take some pictures of USS Constellation, the square-rigged sloop-of-war maintained there as a maritime museum.  Those were analog pictures taken in black and white, and so I don't have them available here.

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