Friday, January 4, 2013

Day 124 - More History in Downtown Frederick

Roger Brooke Taney House

I am going to drop some names on you:  Barbara Fritchie, Francis Scott Key, and now, Roger Brooke Taney.  (Taney is pronounced "tawney.")   All of these are famous Frederick names well known in history.

Duplex 1
In the Civil War, Barbara Fritchie shouted at soldiers passing by her house in downtown Frederick, “Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, But spare your country’s flag,” according to the poem by John Greenleaf Whittier.  (There may be some doubt as to the veracity of this event, but we'll allow Whittier to use his poetic license.)  Fritchie happened to be a friend of  Francis Scott Key who, as I'm sure you know, wrote the "Star Spangled Banner."  And Roger Brooke Taney?  Well, he was the law partner of Francis Scott Key, he married Key's sister, and in 1857 he was the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who wrote the Dred Scott Decision, confirming that slaves were property and therefore were not citizens of the United States, and therefore not entitled to rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Duplex 2
Duplex 3
I discovered the Roger Brooke Taney House when I decided to walk in a different part of Frederick that I had not walked before.  First, I parked near the two Lincoln Elementary Schools, just around the time that school was letting out for the day.  I asked a parent who was waiting for his child why there were two elementary schools with the same name, and he told me that the smaller one was not in use anymore, replaced by the new one.  Then I walked along West South Street, Center Avenue, Madison Street, and South Bentz Streets.

This area of Frederick has lots of identical brick duplexes with front porches, and the residents clearly make an effort to distinguish their halves with differing outdoor decor, awnings, paint colors, etc.  Most of the homes offered only street parking.  All of this area was in walking distance to downtown Frederick.

A political commentary tossed by a fed-up voter?
My daily photo walks are certainly helping me to learn not only my local area, but my local and U.S. history, as well, by walking the same streets as our famous ancestors walked before me.  If I had not started this project, I might have just been content to pass by the Francis Scott Key Mall, the Barbara Fritchie Restaurant, and the Roger Brooke Taney House, without ever knowing the connection these three historical figures had to each other.

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Forward to me via email a receipt for donating to the Red Cross. Tell me whether the photo is from the blog or the website, and Include its title along with a mailing address. The name on the receipt to the Red Cross must match the name of the mailing recipient. Send the receipt and the photo request to

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Cam's rules for the Daily Photo Walk:

  1. walk every day
  2. the walk must be in addition to any other planned activity for the day
  3. post a photo every day
  4. use my Nikon P7100 (it is a very convenient size and weight)
  5. no weather excuses
  6. walk only where it is safe to do so

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