Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Fort Armistead

Posted by Stu On April - 26 - 2007

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This place is trashed. It’s like the state said screw it and gave up maintaining the park. There’s tons of spray paint, the iron gates blocking the inside of the fort have all been broken or have had bars removed, there’s trash everywhere, etc…I was told quite a few stories about this Spanish-American War-era fort, and while I don’t normally believe such things, I have to wonder about this place.

Things I heard:

The fort is home to large rats.
A colony of feral cats live there and the homeless take care of them. Homeless people live there too.
Drug use & deals are commonplace.
Prostitutes – most commonly gay men – and their clients meet up there. If you pull in a spot in reverse it means you’re available and looking. Head first means you’re not.

Normally I dismiss such stories as nonsense, the kind of thing certain magazines like to line their pages with because they need content and anyone who has actually bothered to visit such places knows the stories are complete crap. I mean, come on, it’s just a historical city park. How bad could this place be?
But when I pulled up – head first, just to be on the safe side – there was a group of dudes standing on the side of the parking area, and they didn’t take their eyes off me until I took out my camera. Not sure what they were doing there, but they were hanging out the entire time I was there, and once I began walking around the ruins they huddled over by their minivan. Dunno if I stumbled upon some of the fabled fort hookers, a drug deal, or just some other shy tourists, and honestly I’d rather not know.
While I didn’t see any giant rats, we did find a syringe on the ground. On the one side of the fort, along the water, we noticed some tiny shelters with lots of food and water bowls…and then we saw 3 cats. So the feral cat colony story is true at least. And so is the drug one apparently.

Some of the feral cats and their shelters.

Popularity: 24% [?]

Antietam Battlefield

Posted by Stu On April - 26 - 2007

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I’ll admit I know very little about this particular battle and have just recently begun reading about it. My interest in the Civil War has grown significantly in the past few years. Since I’m a Yankee, I have, as far as I know, only 2 battlefieds near me – Antietam and Gettysburg. I’ll get to Gettysburg sometime soon hopefully. I figured since I was already in Maryland this one particular time I might as well go see Antietam.

Antietam was the single bloodiest day in the Civil War, with over 23,000 casualties. Although the Union prevented the Confederacy from advancing northward, they failed to stop them from retreating back to Virginia. The Union’s semi-victory at Antietam convinced Abraham Lincoln to announce the Emancipation Proclamation. Clara Barton, the founder of the Red Cross, cared for soldiers at this battle and has a monument there.

The self-guided car tour is about 8½ miles. It’s mostly monuments and signs, so if you have no knowledge or interest in the battle or war you probably won’t care to go. The cemetery at the end is a must see though.
We went during the first week of April, and the weather was pretty odd. While the day before was nice, we were greeted with random snow at the battlefield.

Monuments & signs line the roadside.

Bad photo of Clara Barton’s monument.

The Mumma Cemetery. The Mumma farm was burned down by the Confederates. Since it was destroyed by the South, the Union wouldn’t reimburse the family.

The tour ends at the Antietam National Cemetery. It contains 4,776 Union soldiers (over a third were never identified) and over 200 soldiers from other wars. A large statue of a Union soldier is in the center of the cemetery and the graves make a horseshoe around it.

Popularity: 10% [?]

Army Ordnance Museum

Posted by Stu On April - 26 - 2007

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How could I say no to 25 acres of tanks? The Army Ordnance Museum is home to roughly 240 tanks, all from different countries and time periods. Also here is the allegedly largest military gun ever built – it was tested but never put to use.
Since the museum is on a military base (Aberdeen Proving Grounds), we needed to get a visitor pass to get to it. Make sure you have a license and vehicle registration (which you should have anyway) if you plan to visit.

I had read that the tanks used to have their hatches open and you could climb inside them. When we got there though, none were open and there were a few signs saying not to climb on them. Guess times have changed. Still, 25 acres of tanks is impressive. Oh, how I wanted to play in them.

A huge bomb greets visitors.

Yes, there are even some rockets.

What is supposed to be the largest military gun ever made. Yes, it’s quite large. *Insert big dick jokes here*

We noticed during our visit there were several empty spots among the tanks. We later found out that the missing tanks were in the process of being restored.
There is also a small indoor section of the museum, which houses many types of guns and other war relics/displays. There’s also a gift shop, which unfortunately was closed when we visited.

Popularity: 11% [?]

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