February 2013

Filed Under:DC

Little Known Victims of the Lincoln Assassination

Currier and Ives, The Assassination of Lincoln at Ford's Theater, April 14, 1865. (Photo Source: Wikipedia)If you’re up on your Academy Awards news, then you know that people are loco for Lincoln. This historical drama is nominated for twelve out of seventeen applicable awards: Best Picture, Leading Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Writing - Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design, Directing, Cinematography, Film Editing, Music – Original Score, Production Design, and Sound Mixing. Basically, if you haven’t seen it yet, Hollywood really thinks you should.

But great movies can sometimes leave stuff out, and that’s where we step in. Here’s a story of some of the other folks affected by the conspirators of the Lincoln assassination plot.

Filed Under:Maryland

The Seneca Stone Ring Scandal

Seneca Stone Quarry c.1890s (Photo source: Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission)We're happy to have a guest post from local historian and friend of the blog, Garrett Peck who is the author of  The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry, just released from The History Press.

Garrett's book tells the story of a (until recently!) largely-forgotten quarry in Seneca, Maryland, which provided the stone for the Smithsonian Castle and a host of other local landmarks. As he explains, the quarry also proved to be a source of scandal for President U.S. Grant in the 1870s.

Filed Under:Maryland

Elkton, Maryland: The Quickie Wedding Capital of the East Coast

Postcard showing wedding chapel in Elkton, Maryland. (Source: Ad Astra blog by Charles Leck)If Cupid strikes you in the heart today, you might decide to take a trip to a Las Vegas wedding chapel or your local courthouse for a quick wedding. If you wanted to get married in a hurry in the 1930s, however, there was only one place to go: Elkton, Maryland just inside the Delaware border.

Filed Under:Maryland

Did Led Zeppelin Play Here?

Did Led Zeppelin play at the Wheaton Youth Center on January 20, 1969?Led Zeppelin's first live show in the DC area may have been at the Wheaton Youth Center — a nondescript gymnasium in a Maryland suburb on January 20, 1969, in front of 50 confused teens. But there are no photos, articles or a paper trail of any sort to prove it.

Surely this must be an urban legend. Or is it?

Local filmmaker Jeff Krulik has spent 5 years trying to find out if this concert ever really happened. The result of this investigation is his new film, Led Zeppelin Played Here. We caught up with Jeff after a recent screening to ask about this intriguing project.

Filed Under:Maryland

Visit F. Scott Fitzgerald in Rockville -- And Don’t Forget a Bottle of Gin

F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1937. (Source: Library of Congress.)So we beat on, boat against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

And with those beautiful words, one of the greatest American novels comes to a close. Most of you probably read The Great Gatsby at some point in school, but did you know that F. Scott Fitzgerald has a local connection?

Indeed he did -- and a somewhat controversial one at that!

Filed Under:Virginia

It Happened Here First: Arlington Students Integrate Virginia Schools

On February 2, 1959 (l-r) Michael Jones, Gloria Thompson, Ronald Deskins and Lance Newman became the first black students to break the color line in Virginia's public schools. (Source: Washington Post website) Here’s a cool “it happened here first” story.

On February 2, 1959, Stratford Junior High School (now H-B Woodlawn High School) in Arlington was the first public school in Virginia to be integrated. That morning, four African American seventh graders – Ronald Deskins, Lance Newman, Michael Jones and Gloria Thompson – started classes at the school with over 100 Arlington County police officers in riot gear standing guard. To the great relief of the community, there was no violence or disorder (though two students were sent home for setting off a firecracker in a school bathroom)

The day had been a long time coming.

Filed Under:DC

Commemorating the Four Chaplains

Rabbi Alexander Goode. (Courtesy JHSGW Collections. Gift of Theresa G. Kaplan.)The Second World War abounds with stories of heroism. This weekend, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of a now little-known event: the sinking of the U.S. Army transport ship Dorchester and the brave sacrifices made by four chaplains, including the Washington-raised Rabbi Alexander Goode.

Thanks to David McKenzie from the Jewish Historical Society of Washington for contributing this guest post!

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