I figured I might as well see what Frederick is all about, since I slept in a Wal-Mart in this town and can put Maryland on my map of the USA. I read that there is a house in the city where Barbara Fritchie waved the Union Flag while the Confederates were passing by. She was 92 years old at the time! John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a ballad about her act of defiance but historians pointed out that the Confederate Army never passed by Fritchie's house and that Whittier confused her with Mary Quantrell, who shook the flag at Confederates who ignored her. I found Fritchie's house, but it wasn't open - it's only open on Fridays thru Sundays. So, I walked to the Visitors Center and got a magazine on Frederick. I followed the self-guided walking tour of the historical district and learned a lot about this city.
In 1861, the Maryland Legislature met at Kemp Hall (now a candy store is in part of the building) in a special session to decide whether Maryland should secede from the Union. Lincoln ordered that those legislators who were probably sympathetic to the secession be arrested just before the meeting took place. Therefore, there was no quorum and no vote could be taken.
I looked for a mural on a corner street and at first couldn't find it. I laughed when I did, because it is painted in a style known as "trompe l'oeil" which means "trick the eye"! The pamphlet says there are other such paintings around town in a series called "Angels in the Architecture". I almost wish I was staying here so I could find the other artwork - not necessarily murals, I guess.
The courthouse square is described as "one of the prettiest ... in America". Check out the picture and decide for yourself. Apparently, town citizens burned effigies in the courtyard in 1765 against the Stamp Act, making this site the first public uprising against the British monarchist rule. How about that?
The cast iron dog outside Dr. Tyler's home was modeled after his pet, Guess. It (not the actual dog), was stolen by Confederate troops in 1862, and was found sometime later near the battlefield at Antietam. Dr. Tyler was the first American born ophthalmologist and performed the first cataract removal here.
Who was the first President of the United States? Wrong! John Hanson of Frederick was elected by Congress in 1788 and he served for one year. I was expecting to see a placard saying Washington slept here!! He slept in so many places in NY and PA!!
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is located in the building where soldiers were embalmed during the war! I wasn't allowed to take pictures of exhibits. I learned about how much (little) training was done by doctors and how many (few) medical schools there were, how cursory the physical was for men (and women in drag) to enlist, that Jonathan Letterman came up with an organized system for evacuation of wounded soldiers that is still the basis for military evacuations today, and that there were a lot of women involved in various capacities during the war. History lessons leave a lot of information out of textbooks!
The last thing I saw was the Community Bridge over Carroll Creek in the heart of town. When I found out that the bridge is covered by a mural giving the illusion that is built of stone, covered with ivy in the corners, and has lots of etchings and 3D looking murals in it, I was very impressed and count this as one of the best sites in the city! There are new buildings alongside the channeled creek on both sides of the 5 bridges and all the finished ones are available for businesses. Only a modern public library is open for business in the center of the stretch. It has lots of potential and I hope it develops tastefully. The whole thing reminded me of the riverfront area in Indianapolis.