The 2nd Battle of Ogdensburg: 204 Years Later

I’m on the board of directors for Fort la Présentation Association, a non-profit organization located in Ogdensburg, NY. The Fort la Présentation Association’s main goal is to reconstruct the French mission fort that was located on the St. Lawrence River, along with preserving and presenting the history of the fort and Ogdensburg. Fort de la Présentation was a significant location on the St. Lawrence from before the French and Indian War all the way to the War of 1812.

Over the weekend, I helped at one of the Association’s events that we partner with Forsyth’s Riffle Association to put on. The event is the “Battle of Ogdensburg,” where re-enactors from across New York and Canada commemorate the “Invasion of Ogdensburg” or the 2nd Battle of Ogdensburg.

The actual event occurred on February 22nd, 1813 during the War of 1812. Meaning that today, February 22, 2017, is the 204 anniversary of the Battle!

During the early years of the United States, Ogdensburg, and well basically all of Northern New York, was the northern frontier of the country and during the War of 1812, the area was the front lines of the War. The St. Lawrence County Historical Association has a wonderful listing of all the sites in the county related to the War of 1812. A link to that web page is listed below.

The 2nd Battle of Ogdensburg Went Something Like This:

In 1813, Fort de la Présentation, had been renamed, Fort Van Rensselaer and was under the command of Captain Benjamin Forsyth and his rifle regiment, along with support from the local militiamen. IN early February, Captain Forsyth had received information that a large number of American prisoners were being held at the jail in Brockville, Ontario. The British considered some of those prisoners to actually be “deserters” from the British army and that they would be executed as an example for other British soldiers thinking about deserting. It seems that these so called “deserters” were really Americans from what Captain Forsyth learned. Not wanting American prisoners to be unfairly executed, Forsyth, his rifle regiment, and a number of citizens from Ogdensburg for a total of about 200 people, decided they would attempt a daring rescue of the prisoners on February 6th.

The raid was successful!

The combined American rescuers, were able to free all the prisoners in the Brockville jail minus one man, who actually was a convict. They left him in jail. They also took a number of prominent Brockville citizens as hostages on their way back to Ogdensburg. The hostages were let go once the Americans were back in Ogdensburg. The Americans were also able to capture 120 muskets, 20 rifles, and two casks of ammunition.

This raid, really angered the British forces located at Fort Wellington at Prescott.

On a side note, Prescott is located directly across the St. Lawrence River from Lighthouse Point, where the American fort was located. Today, Fort Wellington is part of Parks Canada and you can go there and walk around and tour the fort. It’s pretty cool!

The British forces at Fort Wellington were under the command of Colonel “Red” George MacDonnell. Colonel MacDonnell decided that his forces would attack Ogdensburg as payback for the raid on Brockville. He also personally did not like Captain Forsyth. So on the morning of February 22nd, MacDonnell split his forces into two different groups and they crossed the frozen St. Lawrence River to reach Ogdensburg. 300 men were under the command of Captain Jenkins and they headed straight to Fort Van Rensselaer, while MacDonnell took about 500 men into the Village.

The assault on the Fort was initially a failure in part because of the amount of snow, Captain Jenkins was wounded multiple times and eventually his men had to fall back. The majority of the American forces also were located at the Fort, which probably didn’t help the British.

Meanwhile in the Village, Colonel MacDonnell had better luck because the Village was only being protected by about 50 members of the local militia. MacDonnell’s plan was to capture the cannons the militiamen had and then use those cannons on the rest of the American’s at Fort Van Rensselaer!

The story goes that during the street battle in the Village, all of the American militia retreated except the Sheriff Joseph York, who continued to load and fire one of the cannons at the oncoming British soldiers. Colonel MacDonnell was so impressed with York’s bravery that he commanded his troops not to fire on York and instead took him prisoner.

Colonel MacDonnell’s plan worked. The British were able to capture the cannons and a few American prisoners including York. The British continued to Fort Rensselaer where Captain Forsyth and his men were still located. Forsyth refused to surrender to MacDonnell and supposedly told the British commander via messengers that “…there must be more fighting done first.” While MacDonnell’s forces fired at the Fort, the Americans slipped out the back unnoticed and escaped from Ogdensburg.

Click through the photos from the two days of re-enactments for commentary about the battle re-enactment.

Battle of Ogdensburg: February 18th 

Battle of Ogdensburg: February 19th 

In history, after this battle, the Americans decided not to reinforce Forsyth and his men, so that they could retake Ogdensburg. The British eventually left Ogdensburg alone and for the rest of the War of 1812, Ogdensburg was left undefended by the Americans.

By 1814 Captain Forsyth was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and was active in the patrolling and skirmishes near Lake Champlain and north in Quebec. He died during the fighting at Odelltown, Quebec in June of 1814.

Some Thoughts:

The re-enactment was very fun to watch! Last year, I did not have the opportunity to watch it but I have been able to attend the other re-enactment event the Fort Association puts on, which is Founder’s Weekend, a French and Indian War re-enactment. At Founder’s Weekend last summer, I dressed up in some borrowed colonial clothing and told ghost stories that pertained to New France and the French and Indian War.

As a board member of the Fort la Présentation Association, it’s really awesome to attend these events and be able talk with both the re-enactors and the spectators. At the Battle of Ogdensburg there was also an Open House at the Ogdensburg Am-Vets, where people could check out cool displays related to the War of 1812. The Fort Association always has historical reproduction children toys for kids to play with. While some of the re-enactors put their muskets, rifles, other period reproductions, and even handmade items out on display for the general public to look at and learn about. For example, there was a woman in period clothing spinning wool on a spinning wheel.

The men, women, and even children who attend this event and others like it, are very focused on preserving history and being authentic. More importantly though, the re-enactors make history a living, breathing, and exciting concept for general people to learn about and interact with. It’s really awesome!

If you have any questions or comments, let me know in the comment section below!

There’s also a list of links and a book, if you’re interested in learning more about the 2nd Battle of Ogdensburg and those who were involved.

Thanks for reading!

For More Information:

St. Lawrence County Historical Association map on the War of 1812 sites located in the county:

http://www.slcha.org/warof1812/sites.php

Forsyth’s Rifles, Inc. : http://www.forsythsrifles.org/

Fort de la Présentation: http://www.fort1749.org/

An account of the Battle of Ogdensburg: http://www.warof1812.ca/o_burg.htm

Fort Wellington: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/lhn-nhs/on/wellington/index.aspx

A book has been written about Fort de la Présentation, which was helpful in writing about the 2nd Battle of Ogdensburg. James E. Reagan, Warriors of La Presentation (Ogdensburg, NY: Oswegatchie Press, 1999), 130-135.

 

 

Afternoon in the Capital: History, Monuments, and Thoughts

After I finished walking around the National Gallery of Art, I started heading towards the Lincoln Memorial, which is located at the opposite end of the National Mall from where the U. S. Capitol Building is located.

The National Mall

So now would be a good time to talk about the National Mall and it’s history. The National Mall is the area located between the U. S. Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial. The Mall is home to many memorials and monuments representing different historical events and figures from our country’s history. I was able to see a few of the biggest monuments even though I was short on time. The National Mall is also known as “America’s Front Yard,” and I use that phrase a couple of times below.

Click though the following images of the National Mall landscaping and some of the memorials I saw that didn’t fit in anywhere else in this post.

So looking west of the Capitol Building, you can see the whole of the National Mall. The Mall dates back to 1791, when Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant began creating designs for the new capital city.

I’ve broken the history of the Mall into a very simple time line drawing from a number of sources, which are all listed below. What I have included in the time line relate specifically to monuments and sites that I saw while walking around the National Mall. There is a lot I have left out and I know that. I look forward to the day I get to go back to the National Mall and see everything I missed!

Time Line:

1791 George Washington chooses a central location for the new capital city of the United States of America. HE enlists Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant to design the new city. L’Enfant was an aide to Washington, a French engineer, and his designs were influenced by Baroque town planning. In his plans, L’Enfant, based everything around the President’s House and the Capitol Building. He designed a 400-foot wide, mile long avenue: the west axis from the Capitol, the basis of the National Mall. While the south axis from the President’s house would be a lawn and garden.
1792 Construction for the White House begins. Designs for the White House are chosen from a competition; the winner was James Hoban, an Irishman.
1793 Dr. William Thornton’s designs for the United States Capitol is chosen.
1800 The White House and the U. S. Capitol Building are more “completed.” The location where imaginary lines from the White House and the Capitol intersect, is where a monument to Washington is planned. The location is very marshy, so nothing is built.
1814 The British sack Washington D. C. Luckily the weather was crappy that day and a huge rain storm put the fires out at the White House, and most likely the Capitol.
1820 A canal is built going east-west on the north side of the Mall. It connects the Tiber Creek with the Potomac.
1827 The U. S. Capitol Building is officially completed.
1840’s Railroad tracks are laid across the eastern section of the Mall, separating the Capitol grounds from the rest of the Mall.
1848 Cornerstone for the Washington Monument is laid.
1851 President Fillmore commissions Andrew Jackson Downing to design a public park for the Mall- the designs are never fully executed.
1861-1865 The National Mall is used for military activities during the Civil War.
1872 That canal is removed!
1885 The Washington Monument is completed. Finally.
1902 The Senate Park Commission happens. Daniel Burnham, Charles McKim, and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. are all involved with evaluating the National Mall and giving feedback on how to improve the land for the public. Ideas that these three guys come up with are based on the “City Beautiful Movement”- rationalized axis, cleaned out inappropriate structures (the railroad), established a site for a new memorial for President Lincoln. The main idea is to “plan rationally for the common good” and civic pride in communities. They also narrowed the National Mall from its original 400 feet wide to 300 feet wide with rows of American Elms bordering the Mall. See photos above of the rows of trees.
1909 That railroad is removed! Finally!
1914 The Lincoln Memorial is started.
1922 The Lincoln Memorial is completed.
1993-1995 Korean War Veterans Memorial Constructed.
2001-2004 National World War II Memorial Constructed.

The U. S. Capitol Building

The U. S. Capitol Building was where I started my journey at the National Mall; it is located right across the street from the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress. See my previous post for more information on the Library of Congress!

The Capitol was designed by an amateur architect- Dr. William Thornton, originally from the West Indies. He literally based his designs for the Capitol off of what he saw in the architectural books of his time and he submitted his plans well after the design competition had ended. Thornton’s design was greatly liked by Washington, Jefferson, and chosen as the winning design. The original designs consisted of a modest dome atop a cubical central section that would be flanked by two wings for the House and Senate.

Construction on the Capitol Building started in the same year that Thornton’s design was chosen- 1793. The building was supposedly “completed” in 1800 but that didn’t stop later architects from adding their own ideas to the building. In 1803, Benjamin Henry Latrobe ( a really important architect) was appointed “Surveyor of Public Buildings” by Thomas Jefferson. Latrobe continued work to the Capitol by redesigning the interior and completed the House wing.

Then the War of 1812 happened. The building was burned but the Capitol was salvageable. Latrobe began work on rebuilding the Capitol around 1817-19 but was replaced by Charles Bulfinch (another really important architect), who saw the Capitol completed a second time in 1827. Another architect, Thomas U. Walter, worked on the building in the 1850’s. Walter designed new, larger wings for the House and Senate because of the growing number of Senators and Representatives (new states). Walter also replaced the dome with a Baroque, cast iron dome, that was double layered.

The Washington Monument

Along the way to the Lincoln Memorial I stopped briefly at the Washington Monument. There’s not a lot to say about the Monument. It’s tall. It’s also closed for repairs until 2019. At it’s base (well the bottom of the hill the obelisk stands upon) there is a gift shop with bathrooms. I checked it out since I’m always on the lookout for fun souvenirs. Oddly enough, what I was looking for, was a map of the entire National Mall with info. I seemed not to be able to locate one; I might have been looking incorrectly though…

Anyways, I didn’t get up close to the Washington Monument because there was a bunch of people at it’s base and I felt I could easily see the monument from a distance. As I was continued past the Washington Monument to get to the Lincoln Memorial, I did help a fellow visitor take some selfies in front of the Washington Monument. She was very nice and gave me a hug! I hope she enjoys her photos that I helped take!

So even though I said there’s not much to see at the Washington Monument, it actually has a very interesting history.

You see, there was a proposal for a monument to Washington while the man was still alive. He was like, “No. We have more important things to do. Did you forget, we have a NEW CAPITAL CITY to build. And. Oh, that’s right. BTdubs, we’re pretty much broke because of the war we just fought.”*

So the Nation held off on building a monument to George Washington until 1848, when the cornerstone was laid for the monument on July 4th. Funding ran very low by 1854, so construction stopped and then a political groups named the “Know Nothings” took over “construction” and ironically did almost nothing to the monument. Then in 1876, the Nation got a fire under these asses because that year marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the country and realized that, “Hey, now would be a good time to finish the half built tower to Washington that’s been sitting, neglected, in America’s front yard for the past two decades.”**

President Grant authorized the federal funding needed to finish the monument-work began in 1879 and the Washington Monument was FINALLY finished in 1885. It was officially opened in 1888. During this 37 year construction adventure- a funny thing happened- the quarry stone couldn’t be matched when construction picked back up in the 1870’s. So the Washington Monument is two different shades of white marble. Look at those photos again and find where the changes in marble start!

The Lincoln Memorial

To get to the Lincoln Memorial, it’s a trek. When I arrived at the Memorial, it was about 3:00 pm. It was packed with lots of people and not to be negative about the other visitors but there were many school groups visiting the Lincoln Memorial. Some of the groups seemed well behaved and then there were other groups that definitely needed more supervision- there were students sliding down the smooth sections of marble running along the side of the stairs (there’s a real word for that space- I can’t think of it- if you know the name, let me know). I wasn’t sure how to handle watching people be disrespectful of the Lincoln Memorial. It just seemed inappropriate and honestly it pissed me off.

I went to the Lincoln Memorial not to just take some nice photos of a very popular tourist attraction in the Nation’s Capital but to pay whatever respects I can to the 16th President of the United States, who worked to hold this Union together during a time of darkness in our country’s history. I also went to there to stand on the same steps that Martin Luther King Jr. stood on and try to imagine what it was like on those steps on August 28, 1963. The Lincoln Memorial is a place to reflect on our Nation: where we have been, how far we have come, and how much further we need to go as a Nation.

Within the Lincoln Memorial there is obviously the statue of Lincoln but there is also some really amazing inscriptions on the walls to the right and left of the statue. To the left of the statue of Abraham Lincoln are the words of the Gettysburg Address, while on the right is Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Speech from 1865.

In my last post, I talked briefly about getting to see a photo from Lincoln’s Second Inauguration, while I was at the Library of Congress. So, it was really cool to have seen an image of Lincoln on his inauguration day while I was at the Library, and then be at his Memorial where the words he spoke were inscribed on the walls.

Sorry, I’m totally history nerding out right now. It’s just really exciting!

I also discovered, after the fact, that there is an inscribed step on the Lincoln Memorial to signify exactly where Martin Luther King Jr. stood. Sadly I did not see this when I was there at the Memorial. Like I said, there were a lot of people there when I visited and the time I had was also limited because I had one last stop to make.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

I left the Memorial around 3:40ish and had to book it to my last planned stop for the day: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Museum closes daily at 5:30 and I wasn’t sure what to expect for crowds when I got there. I got to the Museum at 4ish and there was a small line to get in. This time of the year is considered the “off season”, so I did not need to get tickets prior to visiting the museum. The museum is free to visit but during the busy tourist season, admission tickets are needed and can be picked up at the museum in the morning or reserved online.

Before you enter the main exhibit, which you take an elevator to the top floor where it begins and work you way down to the ground floor. Before entering the elevator, you grab a small “identification card” booklet. Within the pages of the booklet is the biography of a victim of the Holocaust; you read different sections of the booklet as you progress through each floor of the museum.

My knowledge of the Holocaust isn’t extensive but I know a lot- in high school I took a course on the Holocaust through my school’s distant learning program. I’ve also visited the Holocaust Memorial in Boston, MA. So my understanding of the rise of the Nazi Party, the Final Solution, and the genocide of Europe’s Jewish population and other “undesirables” such as the Romani, Serbs, Ethnic Poles, Communists, Freemasons, Homosexuals, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, is very clear. The main exhibit added to my knowledge.

I visited the museum as a way to remember those who were murdered and to share what I have seen with those who haven’t or maybe don’t have the ability to visit the museum in person.

The museum was dark, grim, and yet I have these photos from inside the museum- a wall of beautiful portrait photographs, names of places, and of people who were victims.

I had a lot of feelings walking through the main exhibit at the museum. I don’t know what the right words are to explain how I felt about it. But walking through the glass corridors where the names of places and people are inscribed I thought about what that walkway might look like when the light is shining through those names. It just might be terrible and beautiful at the same time. They are the names of those who died. I read their names and I paid my respects to them. I think about how reading their names and seeing their faces means in a way they are not forgotten and they never will be.

Which brings me to the “identification card” that I picked up randomly from the piles of cards you can choose from at the beginning of the exhibit. The identification card I received was for Bella Judelowitz. Bella and her family lived in Kuldiga, Latvia. She and her husband, Daniel, had 10 children, one of whom died in infancy. Together, Bella and Daniel, ran a bakery-grocery store in their town, which was eventually taken over by a few of their daughters. Bella was in her seventies when her and Daniel were deported in 1941 and never heard from again.

The following link goes to a search from the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s website for Bella and members of her family: https://www.ushmm.org/search/results/?q=judelowitz. One of the people listed is Fanny Judelowitz, who I assume was a granddaughter; she survived the Holocaust. I tried researching more on Bella’s other children but I haven’t been able to find out a lot. If anyone can shed light on the rest of her family that would be nice or where to even start looking, that would be wonderful.

The White House

By the time I left the Holocaust Museum, it was about 5:30. I was hungry, thinking about everything I had just seen and read at the museum, and I realized I hadn’t seen one really important site while in Washington D. C.

The White House.

I had actually forgotten to plan to see the building. Luckily my phone had enough battery life in it to direct me in the general location of the White House. It was getting dark out by the time I found the White House but I did manage to take some photos!

If you have any questions or comments, let me know in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading!

Further Information

National Mall:

The general website for the National Mall, it will give you links to every site I saw while walking around the national park such as the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the World War 2 Memorial, etc: https://www.nps.gov/nama/index.htm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/lifestyle/the-evolution-of-the-national-mall/

http://tclf.org/landscapes/national-mall

Mark Gelerneter. A History of American Architecture: Buildings in their Cultural and Technological Context (Hanover, NH: University of New England, 2001).

U. S. Capitol Building:

https://www.visitthecapitol.gov/

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

https://www.ushmm.org/

https://www.ushmm.org/learn/

Another person I wanted to highlight, is Gerda Weissmann Klein. She wrote an autobiography entitled, “All But My Life,” that details her survival during the Holocaust. I read the book when I was in high school. The link is to the Wikipedia page for Mrs. Klein and tells about the amazing things she has done in her life as a human rights activist and author: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerda_Weissmann_Klein. There are other resources about Gerda at the Holocause Memorial Museum’s website.

***Made Up Quotations

* Washington’s exact words to members of Congress about building a monument to himself.

**Probably an actual statement made in Congress to secure funding for the Washington Monument by President Grant.

Morning Adventure in the Capital

After making it through week one of FEMA orientation, I had the weekend off! As I said in my previous post, the Bolger Center has a really great shuttle system that goes to a local mall, a CVS, and the metro station in Bethesda. So I was able to catch a ride to the metro station from the Bolger Center at 8 am and made it into Washington DC a little before 9 am.

If you’re visiting Washington DC and decide to use the metro to get around, you will be required you to purchase a “metro card.” It costs $2.00 for the card plus whatever you put on the card to travel around. I believe there were options for like a day pass for a fixed fee or weekly passes, also for a fixed fee. I put just enough on the card to get me to Union Station in DC and back to the Bethesda Station because I was planning on staying around the National Mall for the day.

So Union Station was my first planned stop in Washington DC. You’re probably wondering why I would want to hang out at a train station and take photos. I’m glad you asked!

Union Station has just went through some major restoration work through the partnership of the National Trust of Historic Preservation, American Express, Ashkenazy Acquisitions Corp, and the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation. The work was in response to the 2011 earthquake that Washington D. C. experienced; the Station’s ceiling was damaged. Oddly enough, the week before I headed into D. C. I received an email from the National Trust about the work that had been done on Union Station, which is why I placed it on my Washington Adventure Itinerary!

I arrived at Union Station around 9ish and a majority of the shops were not yet opened. I took photos of the main hall were the restoration work occurred. In the “Further Information” section at the end of this post, there are some links with more information about the work that was done and old images of the Station from the Library of Congress’s website.

After taking a bunch of photos of Union Station, I made my way to the Library of Congress. The Library offers free tours throughout the week and I wanted to check the place out because I love libraries! From the Station’s main entrance the walk to the Library is pretty simple: you just walk down First Street NE for a little ways and you hit the buildings of the Library of Congress!

Along the route I took some photos of the Senate Office Buildings and then detoured down Constitution Avenue where there were some nice houses and also the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument. I didn’t go into the building but I did take some photos! I then continued down Second Street NE towards the back side of the libraries, where I walked behind the Supreme Court of the United States. Then I walked along the side facade of the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, where the free tour that I wanted to go to was held.

So this walk occurred between 9:30- 10:00 am and there was like no one out walking around outside. The only people I saw were joggers and a guy with his two little kids…oddly enough they too were making their way to the Library of Congress. There was a huge kids event at the Library.

Located right across from the U. S. Senate Building, the Library of Congress, consists of three buildings: the Thomas Jefferson Building, the James Madison Memorial Building, and the John Adams Building. The tours are held in the Thomas Jefferson Building, which is the oldest building of the three. Down below I listed links to the “virtual tours” of the Jefferson Building and the other two buildings.

I made it to the Jefferson Building early. You do have to go through a security check: they check your bag and have you go through a metal detector. There is also a “coat room” where you can check your coat and bags, which I did so I didn’t have to carry around my stuff on the tour. The tour I made it to was the 10:30 am and the tours are first come- first served. You don’t need to sign up or anything, just be in the right place when it starts. There’s a short video that starts the tour that is about all the cool stuff the Library of Congress does.

There was about 30ish people who showed up for the 10:30 am tour. That large group of people was split up between a few different volunteer tour guides. The tour I was on was led by Cora, who is a retired English teacher and the group was about 15 people. Check out the photos from the tour I took; there’s history and other cool information with each photo!

The Library also has exhibit rooms and changing exhibits. The exhibit I was able to check out was related to the Presidential Inauguration and it was on display until February 4th. The exhibit had handwritten letters, speeches, and other artifacts from the inaugurations of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. While all of the artifacts were cool, the one that I enjoyed seeing the most, was a photograph from President Lincoln’s 2nd inauguration in 1865. That was the coolest thing in the exhibit, being able to see an actual photo of Lincoln from when he was alive. I also love seeing and using historic photos as a resource because its an actual window into history. This in a link to the photo I saw on display: https://www.loc.gov/resource/cph.3a04233/, Lincoln is somewhere in the center.

Another exhibit I was lucky to see was, “Out of the Ashes: A New Library for Congress and the Nation.” It is located on the second floor of the Thomas Jefferson Library and guess what the exhibit is about!?!?!

Thomas Jefferson’s actual library that he sold to Congress in 1815.

What a coincidence, right? An exhibit about a library within a library…. I’ll stop there.

So the interesting thing about this exhibit. I think I might have gotten really lucky, a sign said the exhibit was “open,” meaning it might not always be open to the public. The library is behind glass and is is a circular display. There are lots of little different colored ribbons sticking out from books and the colors represent different things.

The last thing I wanted to share with you all in this post about my morning adventures is the National Gallery of Art. I technically visited the museum in the early afternoon but my next post about my “afternoon adventures” is going to talk about the National Mall and a lot of the monuments I saw walking around the Mall.

The National Gallery is located right on the National Mall. The art museum has free admission. Free things are great! The Gallery is huge and consists of two buildings: the West Building and the East Building. I went to the West Building, where all the art created prior to more modern times is housed. There is a “coat check” room at the museum. I did not check my coat and bag here but I should have. My bag was heavy.

The cool thing about the Gallery is you can take photos of any piece of art according to the Gallery’s website. I double checked with a docent because I just wanted to make sure I could take photos and to paraphrase what he said, “You’re a tax payer right? You can take photos of whatever you want…”

I did take photos and yet, I still felt like I was breaking some unwritten code of not photographing art. The way I justified my actions of taking photos, is that I would be sharing these photos with people who may not have the chance to visit the Gallery and see these images in real life. On that note, the National Gallery of Art’s website does have the ability to search their collections and to see what highlights there are on display. Check out that link in the “Further Information” section below.

There were a few moments while walking around the galleries that I might have gotten lost…in time and art. I somehow skipped a number of galleries. I left gallery 11, walked through a courtyard and then walked into another gallery and discovered that was gallery 25. I think I finally found galleries 12-24 by back tracking through “art time.” A similar thing happened in the galleries for Flemish artwork. I managed to time jump from art dated from the 1500’s to artwork from the 1700’s. I’m still not sure how.

There’s a lot of galleries in the West Building and it is easy to get lost. I was on a huge time constraint so I skipped over to the other side of the West Building and went through a number of galleries over there, which consisted of galleries of early American art, Impressionism, Hudson River School art, etc.

These are some of the images I liked the most. I’m not sure what the copyright would be on these images since all of these paintings were created prior to 1923, which makes them fall into public domain… On that note, these paintings are all on display at the National Gallery of Art. You can check them out, in better quality at their website, which is listed below.

So this is how I spent the morning in Washington D. C. There was a lot of walking! There’s also a lot more to talk about in my next post. If you have any questions or comments about the Library of Congress, Union Station, or the National Gallery of Art, let me know in the comment section below. Also, check out the links I shared, there’s a ton of cool things in those links.

Thanks for reading!

Further Information

Union Station:

The website for Union Station: http://www.unionstationdc.com/

This is an article from the National Trust of Historic Places about the Union Station restoration: https://savingplaces.org/press-center/media-resources/union-station-celebrates-a-fully-restored-main-hall#.WJ24M_krLIU

Another article about the work that was done on the Station: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/2016/10/14/8da96d34-91e9-11e6-9c85-ac42097b8cc0_story.html?utm_term=.b885212fdc85

Link to Photos of Union Station from the Library of Congress’s website:

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/search/?q=Photograph:%20dc0254&fi=number&op=PHRASE&va=exact&co%20=hh&st=gallery&sg%20=%20true

Library of Congress:

This is the general website for the Library of Congress: https://www.loc.gov/

If you are interested in doing a “Virtual Tour” of the Thomas Jefferson Building or any of the other buildings of the Library of Congress, here is the link: https://www.loc.gov/visit/tours/online-tours/

This is a link to an online exhibit of President George Washington’s papers, some were on display in the exhibit I saw: https://www.loc.gov/collections/george-washington-papers/about-this-collection/

Thomas Jefferson Library, which is an exhibit on the second floor: https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/thomas-jeffersons-library/

National Gallery of Art:

This is the link to the National Gallery of Art’s website: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb.html

An interesting article about public domain, artwork, and taking photos of art in museums: https://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/21/when-its-illegal-to-photograph-artwork/?_r=0

This link goes to the search engine on the National Gallery of Art’s website: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/collection-search.html

Miscellaneous Websites:

Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument: https://www.nps.gov/bepa/index.htm

U. S. Supreme Court: https://www.supremecourt.gov/visiting/visiting.aspx

U. S. Senate: https://www.senate.gov/index.htm

What I’ve Been Up To….

Adventures with Courtney will be adventuring beyond Northern New York in the very near future.

I have some really awesome news as to where I’ve been the past couple of months…I’ve spent a lot of time on a number of research projects that I plan on sharing with you on this platform, below is one of the projects I’ve been working on.

In the mean time though, I wanted to share some other really awesome news.

Since graduating from the University of Vermont, I’ve worked not exactly ideal positions, worked as a consultant on the side, and have applied to countless positions related to the field of historic preservation. The number of consultant projects and this blog have been a great way to keep myself involved and “actively” using my educational background to share awesome history stories from around Northern New York and my other travels.

BUT, applying to numerous positions, and not getting hired for any, has been tough and mentally exhausting. Most recently, back in November and December, I went thorough a round of interviews for a position with a preservation organization. Ultimately I was not hired. Then the unusual happened. The same week I was given the news about one job opportunity falling through, I was contacted about another job opportunity with F. E. M. A. (Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is a part of the Department of Homeland Security). I had applied to F. E. M. A. way back in July!

The really awesome, cool news is that I was hired by F. E. M. A. to be a reservist historic preservation specialist! Since being hired a majority of my free time has been spent on filling out paperwork for the new position. There’s been a lot of paperwork. More paperwork than you would imagine. I actually have a folder of all the paperwork I had to fill out.

Fast forward to now, I just got back from orientation for F. E. M. A., which lasted for two weeks in Potomac, Maryland. Potomac is located about 30 minutes outside of Washington D. C. There was a lot of information to take in and paperwork to hold onto. It’s been really exciting to be offered this position because I’ll get to use my education to help communities rebuild after disasters occur. It’s exciting and nerve-racking at the same time to think about what I will be doing and as a reservist I will be required to travel a lot.

The orientation was located at the William F. Bolger Center, which is owned by the U. S. Postal Service. The property is used for training, as a hotel (both business and regular travelers), and parts of the center can be rented for weddings, social events, etc. It’s a really nice place and the food was soooooo good!

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This is the Osgood Building. It was constructed in the 1930’s and was used as a Catholic convent. In 1980, the U.S. Postal Service purchased the property for use as a conference and training center.
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So the Osgood Building is named after this man: Samuel Osgood. Osgood was appointed as the first Postmaster General by President Washington in 1789 under the new Constitution; he served until 1791.
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Within the Osgood Building there’s a “Stained Glass Hall.” Besides being used as a convent, the building was also a school for disabled children. The room must have been a type of auditorium when it was used as a convent and school. This is the ceiling of that large hall.
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These are the stained glass windows! There are about 5 or 6 on each side of the room.
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The Bolger Center is owned by the Postal Service and there happens to be a number of artifacts displayed pertaining to the history of the post office. This cart is located in the Franklin Building, where orientation was located. The building is named after Benjamin Franklin, who also was a postmaster for a majority of his life. He was named the first Postmaster General by the Second Continental Congress in 1775.
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So the Bolger Center has a very nice walking trail that encircles the entire campus. This was a photo I took while walking around one late afternoon.
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On another walking adventure, I scared the daylights out of some deer. There are two deer in this photo, can you spot them?!?

The cool thing about being at the Center, is that the hotel offered shuttle services into Bethesda where there’s a metro station. So the weekend I had off during the two week orientation, I was able to go into Washington D. C., which I’ve never been to!!!! I saw a lot of really awesome stuff yet limited my visit to the National Mall and a couple of places really close to the Mall because of the lack of time I had in the Capital. That means I will probably split what I saw in Washington D. C. into two separate posts: Morning Adventures in the Capital and Afternoon Adventures on the National Mall… oh boy. I need to get better at titles.

Here are some images of what’s to come!

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A view of the interior of Union Station in Washington D.C. It just had a lot of restoration work done on it.
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Some of the monuments that are visible from the fence out front of the White House.

For more information about the William F. Bolger Center this is their website: http://www.bolgercenter.com/.

Information about the history of the Bolger Center came from one news article… I wish I could have found more information because the Osgood Building was very cool. Peggy Vaughn,”Bolger Center Opens Doors to Weddings, Parties,” The Gazette, Oct. 13, 2004,  http://www.gazette.net/gazette_archive/2004/200442/potomac/news/240005-1.html.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments about the Bolger Center or if you could find both of those deer in the woods!

Thanks for reading!