“A concerted effort to preserve our heritage is a vital link to … all of the things that quite literally make us who we are.” ~ Steve Berry
Our country’s educational, cultural, economic, aesthetic and inspirational legacies are worth preserving. This past Memorial Day weekend, I took a day trip to Bel Air, Maryland in the Heart of Harford County. Designated as an official Main Street Community, resources have been put into their historic downtown bringing revitalization.
But that’s not all that has been worth preserving in Harford County. Thanks to the Historical Society of Baltimore County through their recent acquisition of Smithsonian’s traveling Water Ways exhibit, I became aware of a historic site I never knew anything about. While in Harford County, I paid a visit to the corner of Jerusalem and Jericho Roads in Kingsville, Maryland.
The water wheel powered grist mill, which dates back to the 1770’s, situated along the Gunpowder River used to be the center of commerce in a small Quaker village called Jerusalem Mill. The facility stone-ground wheat and corn for the villagers and neighboring communities, at times as much as 200 tons daily, until 1961. Then the village fell into decline and sat vacant. Thanks to FOJM volunteers (Friends of Jerusalem Mill), the conversion of the property to a non-profit entity, and funds from the Open Space program, the village is being restored to it’s former state for visitors to visit and appreciate.
The flowing waters of the Gunpowder provides a quaint, serene setting for the village which received a Preserve America Steward Award. The grist mill, blacksmith shop, general store, barn, covered bridge and other small outbuildings attracts thousands of visitors. I’d encourage anyone who will be in the area to browse the buildings, see the artifacts and hear stories with educational reenactments of life long ago. A small, peaceful step back in time.
The acreage is also home turf to one of vintage baseball teams of the Chesapeake Nine of Baltimore. Baseball is played authentically using a 1860’s rulebook and vintage Civil War baseball uniforms are worn. Jousting tournaments, Maryland’s state sport, are held on the property as well. For more information on this very unique historic village please visit this website. There is also information available about the picnic grounds, walking trails, educational tours, concerts and other events held at this venue.
All across America, there are fascinating places to see, many probably right around your corner of the country, eliminating the need to travel far. One of the best gifts you can give your family is time together. Help your children learn about the history of the U.S. A. It will deepen their appreciation of their roots and the historic culture of the country in which they live. Take some enriching day trips and enjoy summer. Adults and children alike will benefit by becoming familiar with our nation’s history at parks and historic sites from sea to shining sea. Explore the unfamiliar!
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca