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Brandywine Springs Tour -- September 21

Alright, I hope this isn't too last-minute of a notice, but I think we've come to a consensus. Although I did say I'd do a tour with just a few people, it seems that there are several people who can't make it this week, but can make it next week. Since this isn't anything where there's a reservation or set plans involved, I've decided to wait the extra week in order to allow more people to attend. I hope this isn't a problem for those who said they could come this week. And for what it's worth, the Weather Channel's long-term forecast has it in the 70's with a 0% chance of rain on the 21st. All in all, this seems like the best thing to do.

We can nail down a time that's best for everyone, but since a few seemed to indicate that early afternoon was good, I'm suggesting 1:00 for now. The tour should take somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half, depending on how much I ramble on. As I mentioned before, we'll walk through the…

The 1844 MCH Election Flag

This is another item from the cache given to me by Fran Casarino, descendant of the Banks and Chambers families. (The Jabez Banks items from a previous post came from her, as well.) I don't really have a whole lot to say about it, but I thought it was certainly interesting enough to share with everyone. It's a newspaper article from 1959 that mentions an item I had seen referenced once before. One that would have been quite familiar to Mill Creek Hundred residents a century and a half ago.
As seen in the photo on the right, the item in question is a flag, purchased by a group of MCH residents in 1844. The accompanying article, shown below, gives the rest of the story. (Reminder: click on the image to view a larger, easier to read version.) Way back (in this blog's very first post, as a matter of fact), it had been noted that the Mermaid Tavern on Limestone Road (just north of the Pike Creek Shopping Center) was for many years the polling place for the hundred. One of the re…

Welcome, Elena Greene!


Brandywine Springs Tour and/or Next Gathering

OK, time for me to 'fess up (and for those of you of a certain age, no, this has nothing to do with Davey Crockett). Back when we all met up in February (where has the year gone?), we seemed to decide that we'd like to do some sort of gathering again sometime. A meeting at Brandywine Springs park in the spring was suggested, an idea I liked. Unfortunately, by the time I got around to seeing if I could reserve a pavilion they were all booked for the entire summer. With the demographic range we'd be likely to have present, I felt a reserved pavilion was necessary to ensure that everyone had a comfortable, shaded place to sit. Once the spring sprinted by me, I figured that trying to get a reasonable quorum together during the summer would be tricky. And considering the weather, probably also sticky.

Now that the summer of '13 has been laid to rest (again, wasn't it February like a few weeks ago?), I thought it was a good time to start thinking about group activities a…

Moore House - 1366 Bagley

1366 Bagley Street, Detroit.
Photo courtesy of Blake Almstead and Joshua Clark.

This quintessential mid-19th century worker's cottage has stood at the corner of Bagley and Eighth Street for at least 139 years. Addressed as 70 Baker Street early in its history, it has been home to more than a dozen working class families in its life.

When was it built?
It's not certain when 70 Baker Street (now 1366 Bagley) was constructed. One potential source of information could be a map drawn by New York cartographer Henry Hart in 1853, indicating the location of every existent building in Detroit.

Detail from Henry Hart's 1853 map of Detroit.
There is only one problem. This house was literally a few feet outside of the city limits when that map was drawn. The Baker farm had been annexed by the city in 1849, but this house stands just within the former Woodbridge farm, which wasn't annexed until 1857. Below is a comparison of this block as it appears on the 1853 Hart map and an 1885 …

From Bush to Obama

Since July 4, 2010, I have been suggesting here that George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, was the key President of our third great national crisis, and that he set us on a course which we are fated to keep for some time.  That course involved lower taxes and a permanent deficit that made a drastic government response to economic crisis impossible at home.  Abroad it included a new definition of America's role in the world: essentially, it asserted a unilateral right to remove any regime that either supported terrorism or developed or used "weapons of mass destruction," broadly defined, that we believed should not have them. That doctrine repudiated more than a century of American adherence to international law, as well as the charter of the United Nations.  Sadly in Syria the Obama Administration has adopted a modified version of that doctrine. The United States reserves a unilateral right to take any military action it finds appropriate against a regime that seems to have …

Hello, Dolley!

My editor’s notes for revisions to the 464-page manuscript of my next nonfiction release, INGLORIOUS ROYAL MARRIAGES: A Demillennium of Unholy Mismatrimony (NAL/November 2014), just arrived in my inbox yesterday, so this will be a brief post, as I need to buckle down ASAP.
I think this is my first History Hoydens Post since moving down to our nation’s capital. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t taken advantage of the myriad opportunities to explore the cool things about the city, steeped as it is in history; but last Sunday my husband decided that I needed to get out a bit more.
So we went on a two-hour walking tour of "Georgetown during the War of 1812." The irony is that the war didn’t really touch Georgetown proper—except that we DID begin the tour at the federal-era Dumbarton House, now the HQ of the Colonial Dames of America, known as the place where Dolley Madison (my favorite First Lady) stopped for tea on August 24, 1814, the day she fled the White House with, among oth…