Preserving Maryland's Conservation Agency History
Oyster Wars Cannon now on Display at Havre de Grace Maritime Museum
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is partnering with the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum to exhibit historic cannon from now until September 2013. A relic of the Oyster Police of the 1800s, the cannon was used to protect the Chesapeake Bay’s oysters during the “oyster wars” of the 19th century.
The cannon was acquired by Hunter Davidson, the first Commander of the State Oyster Police Force, in 1868. It was installed on the original steam-powered patrol boat of Maryland’s “Oyster Navy,” the Leila. In 1884, this ship was replaced by the Governor R. M. McLane, which fought many spectacular battles against oyster pirates. The McLane was equipped with a 12-pound Dahlgren boat howitzer in 1888. While accounts are not definitive, authorities believe that this gun may have been the original cannon from the Leila.
DNR obtained the cannon in December 2010 from the American Legion Post 116, which owned it since the1950s. The legion regularly loaned it to a group of Civil War re-enactors who took part in North-South Skirmish Association competitions. The Cannon has been on display at the Delmarva Discovery Center in Worcester County, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, the Calvert Marine Museum, the Annapolis Maritime Museum, and was part of larger exhibits at events across the State.
“This cannon signifies our State’s commitment to protecting our valuable natural resources,” said then DNR Secretary John Griffin at the time the cannon was acquired from the Legion. “We are honored to make this piece of Maryland history available for all to enjoy.
South Mountain Museum Dedication
On May 11, 2013 Washington Monument State Park unveiled its newly renovated museum at a grand opening celebration, featuring fun, family-friendly tours, activities and presentations.
“It has been more than exciting to see these old historic structures renovated and transformed into a beautiful museum,” said Park Manager Dan Spedden. “Its exhibits will tell stories of the region’s rich history, illustrating events that shaped not only our State but our entire nation.”
The museum interprets events of the nation’s first monument to honor George Washington, the Civil War Battle of South Mountain and the literary career of noted author and war correspondent George Alfred Townsend.
Oyster Wars Cannon and Crew
Exhibited at South Mountain Museum Dedication
New Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Exhibit at Gambrill State Park
A new exhibit, "The CCC at Gambrill State Park: Their Legacy Lives On." is now on display at Gambrill State Park in the vicinity of the CCC Statue, which was dedicated on November 5, 2011.
Two additional exhibits (see below) are
with each telling the story of one aspect of the CCC in Maryland.
The foundation that supports the Maryland Conservation History Committee, made up of volunteers and DNR employees, was recently designated as a 501 3c non-profit. The foundation will fund projects that preserve and promote DNR’s history and heritage.
Conserving Memory: The Civilian Conservation Corps in Western Maryland,
By Colleen Esther Walter
Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of
Maryland, Baltimore County, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Master of Arts 2011
Maryland Names Forest In Honor Of Fred W. Besley
Besley was Maryland’s first State Forester.
Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources Press Release. February 22, 2012
The Committee for Maryland Conservation History was originally formed in 2004 to prepare for the Maryland Forestry & Parks Centennial. Following the success of the Centennial activities, the Committee was expanded to include additional DNR units in its membership.
To preserve, promote and interpret the legacy of natural resource conservation in Maryland for the public’s benefit.
Strategies for achieving the mission include the following: