Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shore Heritage Showcased at Annual Maryland Preservation & Revitalization Conference

Chestertown, MD, May 24, 2007 — The history-steeped Eastern Shore's heritage and traditions will be showcased when Preservation Maryland brings its annual Maryland Preservation & Revitalization Conference to Chestertown on Thursday and Friday, May 31 and June 1.

Chestertown, which has been designated one of America's 2007 Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is a fitting venue for the conference, being presented by Preservation Maryland as the organization celebrates its 75th anniversary year.

Offering a diverse selection of educational sessions, workshops, tours and special events, the conference will be headquartered at Washington College's Casey Academic Center, with various activities throughout the town and surrounding area.

While showcasing the rich traditions of the Eastern Shore, the conference will provide tools and resources for participants from throughout the state to take home and implement in their communities. As always, the conference will bring together professionals and volunteers from throughout Maryland and neighboring states.

The numerous sessions and workshops during the two-day conference will cover everything from heritage tourism to historic-house restoration to Eastern Shore culinary traditions. Venturing afield, the conference's tours will serve to highlight the host-region's distinctive historical aspects. "There's History Around Every Corner," a bus tour of Cambridge, Denton and Easton, will make its rounds on Thursday, May 31, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The three Shore communities will serve to highlight the "Main Street Maryland" program. Through Main Street Maryland, towns and cities are experiencing revitalization and growth that allow Marylanders to celebrate and build upon their rich past.

An oft-forgotten chapter of the area's military history will be explored in "Caulk's Field: Maryland's Last War of 1812 Battlefield," a tour on Thursday, May 31, from 2:15 to 3:45 p.m. On the moonlit night of August 30, 1814, British naval forces from H.M.S. Menelaus attacked the Kent County militia in an open field, five miles west of Chestertown. The encounter became known as the Battle of Caulk's Field, and its location remains the only surviving War of 1812 battlefield on the Eastern Shore in its original landscape after 194 years.

With the approach of the 1812 bicentennial, it is remarkable that this Maryland landscape has survived. Other War of 1812 sites in St. Michaels, Queenstown and Baltimore have been lost to development. The Caulk's Field tour will relate the story of this last War of 1812 battlefield landscape on the Eastern Shore—and offer suggestions on how we may preserve it.

Tours on Friday, June 1, include "Shaping History: Economic and Historic Development of the Eastern Shore," a trip to historic Queen Anne's County sites including St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Church Hill, Dudley's Chapel and the Sudlersville Train Station Museum in Sudlersville, and Wright's Chance and Tucker House in Centreville.

Also on tap for June 1 is a Chester River excursion aboard the schooner Sultana. Up to 32 passengers can sail aboard the replica 1768 vessel, which provides students of all ages with the ultimate classroom for learning about the history and environment of the Chesapeake Bay. On board, passengers travel back in time to the Age of Sail and participate in hands-on activities that are interactive, informative and fun. The original Sultana, a Boston-built merchant vessel, is noted for having served four years as the smallest schooner ever in the Royal Navy.

For a complete schedule of the 2007 Maryland Preservation & Revitalization Conference, Onsite registration will be at Washington College's Casey Academic Center. Advance registration can be made via the aforementioned website. For more information, call 410-685-2886.

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