A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Monday, June 25, 2012

Dog walks through history


Dog walks through history



During our stay at Camp Hill Bed and Breakfast in Harper's Ferry, before breakfast, Mabel and I walked a variety of loops that began and ended at the Carriage House. On Friday morning, we traveled one block down McDowell Street, turned right along Fillmore Street.

The Carriage House at Camp Hill is a pet friendly, family friendly destination.

Loop 1: Storer College



Tony Catanese, proprietor of Camp Hill Bed and Breakfast Inn,  had suggested that I look for  a field with a canon. Behind Camp Hill, on the corner of Fillmore and Jackson, Mabel posed behind this Civil War era canon.

Across the street from the canon, Mabel and I explored  the grounds of  Storer College, site of the first open meeting of the Niagara Movement on American soil, organized by W.E.B. Dubois.

Pithy  historical displays along the path presented  the ironic history of separate but unequal schools in a segregated society which used rights articulated in the Declaration of Independence as the basis for armed struggle. Mabel and I stopped at all of the historical displays.

Mabel and I paused to watch the ongoing painting and restoration of the old Storer College facilities, which has been repurposed as the Mather Training Center for the National Park Service.

Debates over funding and the role of higher education in our society that played out at Storer College paralleled current debates playing out over the future of higher education playing out at the University of Virginia .


While educational funding was easier to secure for  programs that produced "hands" at Storer College, such as industrial arts,  funding for programs that benefited "minds," such as chemistry,  was generally unavailable.


In today's ongoing debate at the University of Virginia over the ouster  of President Sullivan by the Board of Regents, President Sullivan's defense of the unprofitable classics department played a role in her ouster.

Did W.E.B. Dubois's insistence on providing a Liberal Education over more marketable programs eventually lead to future funding problems at Storer College?

Tony had shown me a Civil War picture of Union Soldiers lining up in parade formation on a field which is now part of the Mather Training Center for the National Park Service. That field became  Storer College's football field.

An uneven playing field!


Hikers are welcome on this friendly stopping place along the Appalachian Trail located at the corner of Jackson and Washington Streets.

After making a deposit in trashcans at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Mabel and I paused in front of this sign.

Back on the porch, Mabel felt like a queen. In a few minutes, the Catanese family would be delivering the bacon. It's a dog's life!

Loop 2: Washington Street


Early Saturday morning,  Mabel and I stopped in front of this stone arch a few blocks down from Camp Hill on Washington Street.

A red Chevy Truck was parked in the driveway.

Mabel is partial to Chevy trucks.

Cooled by thunderstorms the evening before, it was a pleasantly cool morning, so we continued the rest of the way  down Washington Street.

Mabel was a good sport as she  posed often for photo opportunities.

We found this cut-through and made our way down to Potomac Street.

The smells wafting from Hannah's Train Depot on Potomac Street, which specializes in barbecue, were unforgettable. Here's another reason to come back to Harper's Ferry.

After descending the stairway connecting Washington Street to Potomac Street, Mabel posed by the memorial of Private Luke Quinn, the only  Marine to perish during John Brown's raid.

On Friday night, during his Ghost Tour of Harper's Ferry, Rick Garland, a living historian, evoked  a side of Harper's Ferry generally missing  from the history books. Garland reflected on  historical and social factors which defined Harper's Ferry's role in American History before John Brown's Raid on the National Armory during the Civil War. He described how, during the French Revolution, after French suppliers stopped supplying weaponry to America,  George and his younger brother Charles Washington campaigned on behalf of Harper's Ferry as the site for a southern gun factory and hub of transportation and commerce. The National Park Service describes the role of George Washington  in its teacher's packet. During its heyday, according to Garland, Harper's Ferry was defined by 3 W's: Weapons, Whiskey, and Women. Saloons  played a pivotal, but often unacknowledged role in the historic events which unfolded along Potomac Street.

Mabel and I paused  in front o f the site of Dr. Brown's cave, the significance of which was described on Friday night by Rick Garland of "O' Be Joyfull Historical Tours & Entertainment." For a  virtually verbatim description of the story about Dr. Brown that Garland shared with his audience, check out  "Musings of a Ghost Adventurer by " Melissa Telesha  at

 My camera lost power at Hog Alley.

During the Ghost Tour, Rick Garland described how drunken townspeople cheered the slow and agonizing death of Dangerfield Newby. Newby was stabbed repeatedly,  dismembered  alive, then dragged to Hog Alley, where his body was fed to  wild hogs in retribution for his role in John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry before a cheering mob. Odd occurrences at Hog Alley have been attributed to  Newby's ghost which is said to haunt the place of his horrific death. Garland described a belief that ghosts draw energy from the surrounding environment, and that ghosts drain batteries.

Back at the Carriage House at Camp Hill, Tony would soon be delivering his signature omelets. Mabel would be getting her share.

Mabel and I enjoyed our dog walks through history. I was reminded of something Roger Slakey, one of my favorite professors at Georgetown University once shared with his class: "It's one thing to experience the Shenandoah by car and quite another to experience the Shenandoah on foot."  Mabel would agree.