G Gibson Photo Art Gallery: Blog http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog en-us Copyright 2017 @ G J Gibson Photography LLC (G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Wed, 02 Dec 2015 21:30:00 GMT Wed, 02 Dec 2015 21:30:00 GMT http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/img/s/v-5/u274039669-o168907966-50.jpg G Gibson Photo Art Gallery: Blog http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog 101 120 The Circa 1849 Muse-Goldsborough House Cambridge Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/12/the-circa-1849-muse-goldsborough-house-cambridge-maryland Residence of Former Prominent Cambridge Maryland Families

Ownership History and Family Heritage

One can tell that even by taking in solely the exterior grandeur of this Greek Revival style house that not only was it built for a person of means but it is also apparent that it has served as a residence for prominent Dorchester County families over the years as well. Referred to as the Muse-Goldsborough House, and to a lesser degree the Webb House, it was built in 1849 for Dr. James A. Muse. Married to Mary S. Sulivane in 1847 Dr. Muse acquired the land for his new house from the family of the late Maryland Governor Charles Goldsborough (1818-1819) who had passed away in 1834. Dr. Muse was the son of Joseph Ennalls Muse, a successful land developer and farmer, as well as a member of a well noted Dorchester County family.

In 1868, the year following the death of Dr. Muse on November 24th 1867, both the house and property was sold to Mary Ellen Goldsborough, daughter-in-law of the previously noted deceased Governor Charles Goldsborough. In 1874 she in turn sold the house to Nettie M. Goldsborough, mother of a future Maryland Governor (1912-1916) and US Senator (1929-1935) Phillips Lee Goldsborough.

A Mr. Barnard Honebach, a Cambridge clothing retailer, purchased the house in 1886 and he later died in 1892. Afterwards other less noted individuals and families owned the house over the years leading up to 1939.

The final noted family to own, as well as reside in, this grand High Street residence was the Webb family. Mildred W. Webb purchased the house in 1939. Mrs. Webb was the wife of Mr. P. Watson Webb, owner and publisher of the Cambridge Daily Banner and Record newspaper. The Webb's were married in June of 1908 and had a daughter, Virginia who was born in 1909. Mrs. Mildred Webb died in January of 1941 and Mr. Webb passed away in 1969. Virginia Webb came in to possession of the house and property. Virginia Webb passed away in October of 1995.

Today the house is owned by the Summers family who acquired it from the estate of Virginia Webb in 1997. It seems hard to believe, at least me anyway, that this stately residence was purchased for $215,000 at that time.

Architectural Influences and Characteristics

The Muse-Goldsborough House is located on one of the original colonial era streets of Cambridge Maryland just a little over a block away from the Choptank River. From an architectural perspective the original or main part of Dr. Muse's house was constructed in what most historical building survey specialists would consider to be the Greek Revival style, although there are others who note Federal design elements on it as well.

From a Greek Revival design standpoint the house features tall yet narrow six over six windows topped by stone caps each one featuring an upper protruding border line. In addition there are brick rectangle panels set back in the front and east exterior walls of the original house that are visible below each second floor window.

Any Federal style influence would have been more apparent when the main section of the house was first built for it has been put forth that the upper dormers and gables of the Muse-Goldsborough House were added later, perhaps when the attic area was expanded. So envisioning the absence of the present day attic, gables and flanking dormers as well as that of the ornate Victorian style front porch perhaps the front exterior of the house would have been more representative of a late Federal style structure.

It is believed that during the construction of the afore mentioned Victorian style front porch and its metal Mansard like roof in 1884 that the expansion of the attic and upper roof area took place. This work was done during the period when Mrs. Nettie Goldsborough owned the house. It is worth examining this journal post's photo show image of the front porch where one can see the ornately detailed millwork of both its brackets as well as cross pieces. Also note the dentil millwork with rounded bottoms beneath the porch's metal roofline. The porch itself is perhaps one of the more interesting architectural aspects of the house although there have been those who dismiss it as the "Victorianization" of its Greek Revival character.

During the ownership of Mr. Barnard Honebach in 1890 the rear extension of the house was built that itself is visible in two of this post's photo show images, from both the east and west sides.

The remaining architectural details on the Muse-Goldsborough House, or the Webb House for that matter, to take note of includes first of all the two story bay window on the west side of the original house. Featuring large four over four windows each framed by elaborate columns composed of layered millwork along with recessed panels beneath the outward facing sections. From the outside these one over one bump outs present the appearance of sun rooms although it is clear from the enlarged photographs of the west side of the house that they were empty at the time.

On both side gable ends the windows are of a Gothic style design, more so the top arch sections, like those found on a church or chapel. The front gable on the other hand features a bullseye window.

Final Thoughts

After having studied closely the architectural details of the Muse-Goldsborough House, its present condition as well as researching its history along with the backgrounds of the families that have owned it over the past 165 years I have found it to be more of an exception to the types of residences owned by prominent Cambridge Maryland families.

The house's presence along one of Cambridge's more historical streets could be perceived as stately what with its architectural details that are made of quality materials while also ornate in their overall appearance. Having undergone two extensive modifications since it was first built in 1849 the Victorian influenced front porch to a purist takes away from the house's original Gothic Revival style however to myself the craftsmanship and elaborate details speak volumes as to its then owners intent of a public projection of their status in society. The addition of the rear extension, while not as stylish as the front section of the house, I'm sure served the more practical needs of its respective owner at the time while also increasing the building's overall livable space.

When I took these photographs of the Muse-Goldsborough House it was apparent to me that the house itself is in need of a fair amount of exterior maintenance, specifically its wooden millwork including windows, porch and dormers. Its brick walls appear straight, level and devoid of any cracks either in its bricks or their mortar joints. Certainly a candidate for the more notable houses of the City of Cambridge Maryland I am hopeful that it will remain so for the next hundred years as well.

I also hope that you have enjoyed this brief visit to Cambridge Maryland today and found the Muse-Goldsborough House interesting as well,

G J Gibson

Images and Article Copyright ©2015 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Cambridge Maryland Circa 1849 Dorchester County Maryland Gothic Revival Architecture High Street in Cambridge Muse-Goldsborough House Webb House http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/12/the-circa-1849-muse-goldsborough-house-cambridge-maryland Tue, 01 Dec 2015 23:22:31 GMT
The Ambiance Of Halloween In Annapolis Maryland From Kitschy To Traditional http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/10/the-ambiance-of-halloween-2015-in-annapolis-maryland-volume-1 Holiday Decorations Set Before Period Architecture

The ambiance of Annapolis Maryland during Halloween is in many ways no different than that of any other East Coast urban local, yet as a City with over 350 years of history, as well as its location on the Chesapeake Bay, tends to make the sighting of a ghost at a historical building or house the continuation of an ongoing legend rather than that of a simple fictional story. In addition Annapolis is blessed with a number of 18th & 19th century buildings and houses, most still in use today, that makes for a distinctive historical atmosphere for one to immerse themselves. For example a pumpkin on a suburban front porch is simply that, however in Annapolis the same setting could be at a house built 100 to 275 years ago that perhaps was occupied previously by a local, regional or nationally prominent person who's occupation was that of a politician, lawyer, business or military leader.
So whenever there is an opportunity for me to walk the streets of Historic Annapolis during Halloween week it is not simply to take photographs along the way but also to experience both the fictional as well as non-fictional holiday ambiance of this historic American City.

With this post I have put together a photo show featuring snippets of the visual Halloween ambiance found in a few neighborhoods within, or bordering on, the Annapolis Historic District. It features various Halloween settings - predominantly residential, from those of a pumpkin or two to others with kitschy or modern day holiday decorations. In most cases the house or building serving as the backdrop for each photograph represents either a quintessential or prominent example of historical period architecture in Annapolis.


G J Gibson

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2015 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Halloween 2015 In Annapolis Maryland Halloween In Murray Hill Halloween In The Historic District Halloween Witches Monsters And Ghosts http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/10/the-ambiance-of-halloween-2015-in-annapolis-maryland-volume-1 Sun, 01 Nov 2015 02:33:53 GMT
A Seasonal Change Of Colors At St. John's College Annapolis Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/10/autumn-on-the-campus-of-st-johns-college-in-annapolis-maryland Autumn Foliage & Cloudy Skies

It seems to me at least that this year's Autumn foliage has been slow to arrive in Annapolis Maryland possibly due to the marginal amounts of rain that fell in August combined with an extended period of precipitation during the latter part of September. While precisely predicting when the leaves on the area's Maple, Oak and Elm trees will change has never been an exact science general assumptions can usually be made.

For example in Annapolis the majority of trees on the grounds of the Maryland State House normally start to display their Autumn colors around mid October, except the Maples on the north side of State Circle that for the most part begin changing at the beginning of the same month. In the Murray Hill area of the City the majority of the stately mature trees along the neighborhood streets normally begin to change colors in early October, although their leaves tend to transition from green to yellow to brown over a more extended period of time than those at the State House. In addition Murray Hill has more Japanese Maple trees that often begin to change colors in late September, thereby contributing to the perception of an earlier transition to Autumn foliage.

At St. John's College, the venue for the above featured photo show, the number of Red and Silver Maple trees found across campus appears visually larger than at either of the two other areas. Along the east campus lawn there are long rows of mature trees, mostly Oaks, that throughout the Spring and Summer provide a canopy of shade for the students and visitors seeking relief from the heat of the sun. As at the Maryland State House the Maple trees at St. John's usually begin to change colors in late September, or very early October, while its larger mature Oaks begin their seasonal transition in mid October.

So as was previously stated Autumn's colorful arrival in Annapolis this year has been sluggish at best. The leaves of the Maple trees at the State House are now only halfway through their color transformation, while the majority of the Oak trees there have just begun to change colors and here Halloween is two days away.

After reviewing the past five or six years of my photographs taken throughout Autumn in Annapolis I can say the color of this year's foliage is two or three weeks behind from where it normally is at the end of October.

As to the photographs included in this journal entry all were taken on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week when overcast, along with rainy, conditions dominated the Annapolis skies. While certainly sunshine would have provided a brighter backdrop, when it comes to the amount of time that a changed leaf will remain on the branch of a young Maple tree it is brief at best, often just a matter of days. So for this reason I opted to take this year's photographs of the changing Autumn Maple leaves at St. John's College this week.


G J Gibson

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2015 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Autumn Foliage 2015 Carroll Barrister House Paca-Carroll House Pinkney Hall Red and Silver Maple Trees St Johns College In Annapolis Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/10/autumn-on-the-campus-of-st-johns-college-in-annapolis-maryland Fri, 30 Oct 2015 00:40:18 GMT
Stacks Of Crab Traps On Hooper's Island Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/8/stacks-of-crab-traps-on-hoopers-island-maryland Vestiges Of The Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industry

Chesapeake Bay Crab Traps On Hooper's Island MarylandChesapeake Bay Crab Traps On Hooper's Island MarylandChesapeake Bay Crab Traps On Hooper's Island Maryland

Perhaps this scene is representative of the current state of the Chesapeake Bay seafood industry and its watermen who have worked crab traps such as these for generations. This photograph was taken from across a field on Middle Hooper's Island in Dorchester County Maryland.

G J Gibson

Gallery Note: at this time the photograph featured on this post is not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright © 2015 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Chesapeake Bay Crab Traps Chesapeake Bay Watermen Dorchester County Maryland Middle Hooper's Island Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/8/stacks-of-crab-traps-on-hoopers-island-maryland Wed, 19 Aug 2015 21:25:50 GMT
Sunset Across The Kent Narrows In Grasonville Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/7/queen-annes-photo-journal---sunset-across-the-narrows Eastern Shore Sunsets



G J Gibson

Gallery Note: currently the photograph featured on this post is not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright © 2015 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Kent Narrows In Grasonville Maryland Queen Annes County Maryland Summer Sunset http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/7/queen-annes-photo-journal---sunset-across-the-narrows Sun, 26 Jul 2015 23:59:45 GMT
A Nesting Platform Off Hooper's Island Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/3/hoopers-island-photo-journal-an-osprey-in-its-nest-on-hooper-s-island Ospreys Of The Chesapeake Bay

An Osprey In Its Nest On Hooper's Island MarylandAn Osprey In Its Nest On Hooper's Island MarylandAn Osprey In Its Nest On Hooper's Island Maryland

I was most fortunate being able to spend a truly delightful afternoon in southeast Dorchester County experiencing both the scenic vistas as well as abundance of Chesapeake Bay wildlife at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and Hooper's Islands.

Halfway through the afternoon I happened to come across this lone osprey, one of over two dozen encountered over the course of the day, perched atop its nesting platform on Back Creek. It seems the nest has required only a bit of upkeep this season that is evident in the smattering of new twigs and branches.

Halving taken a hundred or so photographs "on island" and at Blackwater Refuge yesterday perhaps an additional journal post or two is in order. I am thinking about including a musical soundtrack with one of them featuring Leon Russell's song Back to the Island.

G J Gibson

Gallery Note: currently the photograph featured on this post is not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2015 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Dorchester County Maryland Ospey On Hoopers Island http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/3/hoopers-island-photo-journal-an-osprey-in-its-nest-on-hooper-s-island Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:47:12 GMT
The State of Maryland Icebreaker & Buoy Tender John C Widener In Annapolis Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/2/annapolis-md-photo-journal-icebreaker-buoy-tender-john-c-widener-backs-into-its-berth Backing Into An Ice Filled Berth


One could say that there has been a bit of ice on the waters around Annapolis Maryland for the last week or so and when ice and boats come into such close proximity the presence of an icebreaker is most often necessary. This past Friday I happened to catch sight of the State of Maryland icebreaker and buoy tender John C. Widener as it worked to break up the harbor ice so as to establish navigation channels for the boats needing to venture out that day.
The following photo show of six consecutive photographs depicts the steps used by its crew that afternoon in order to back the John C Widener into its iced filled berth.
Note: use the pause and continuation button, available when you position your mouse or track pad pointer on an individual slide show photograph, to freeze the presentation or to navigate back and forth in the series. Enjoy!

It really is quite the sight to watch one of these vessels at work breaking up the ice,
G J Gibson

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2015 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Ice On Annapolis Harbor Icebreaker and Buoy Tender John C Widener http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/2/annapolis-md-photo-journal-icebreaker-buoy-tender-john-c-widener-backs-into-its-berth Fri, 20 Feb 2015 19:21:00 GMT
Snow, Historic Buildings and Grey Winter Skies In Annapolis Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/1/annapolis-photo-journal---snow-bricks-and-grey-skies After The Morning Snow

As Tuesday's morning snow fell in Annapolis it was a challenge just keeping my lens clear being that the wind direction changed from minute to minute and I could not seem to keep it on my back so too speak while taking pictures.

Finally when the snow stopped falling the light conditions became yet another challenge as the grey wintery skies languished overhead. On the other hand the opportunity to capture snowy landscapes and historic buildings as soon as possible was important as well so I set off on a walk through the Historic District in order to do so.

The following slide show is comprised of a dozen or so photographs taken Tuesday afternoon featuring buildings, as well as residences, built in the early 1700's and up to the late 1800's, each of them constructed primarily of brick and accented by the recently fallen snow - hence the title of this journal entry.

Note: use the pause and continuation button, available when you position your mouse or track pad pointer on an individual slide show photograph, to freeze the presentation or to navigate back and forth in the series. Enjoy


Until the next snowfall then,

G J Gibson

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Annapolis Maryland Chase-Lloyd House Chase-Stone House Government House Hammond-Harwood House John Brice II House Maryland State House Ogle Hall Old St Annes Rectory Annapolis Peggy Steward House Pinkney Hall Roger Brooke Taney St Johns College Annapolis Thomas Rutland House USNA Alumni House William Pace House and Gardens Woodward Hall Barr Buchanan Center http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2015/1/annapolis-photo-journal---snow-bricks-and-grey-skies Tue, 06 Jan 2015 23:57:00 GMT
Christmas Accents Adorn Doors And Porches In Chestertown Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/12/chestertown-maryland-photo-journal-christmas-accents-adorn-doors-and-porches Christmas Ambiance Along The Chester River

After having spent the fair part of a December day photographing Christmas and holiday residential decorations in the Chestertown Maryland Historic District I seemed to have come away from my photo shoot attuned as to the level of economic prosperity experienced by a class of town residents hundreds of years ago. This became more apparent with each photograph taken that day as I paid closer attention to the quality of the craftsmanship, materials and the architectural details used in the residences built for the town's merchants, lawyers, planters, and politicians. The material benefits of Colonial and Federal era economics to the landed gentry a side my reason for traveling to this Maryland Eastern Shore riverfront town was to photograph it basking in the ambiance of this year's Christmas holiday season.

Note: this journal post contains only photographs of holiday decorations adorning the doors and porches of Chestertown Historic District residences. The intent is to present a level of photographic detail featuring the historic architectural settings in which they were taken as well as conveying a visual sense of seasonal ambiance.

A Lantern And Christmas Wreath On A DoorA Lantern And Christmas Wreath On A DoorA Lantern And Christmas Wreath On A Door

A holiday wreath hangs on the door of the late 18th century John Anderson House. Lanterns such as the one adjacent to the door are frequently seen on Historic District residences in Chestertown.

Greek Style Porch Columns And A Holiday Wreath On The DoorGreek Style Porch Columns And A Holiday Wreath On The DoorGreek Style Porch Columns And A Holiday Wreath On The Door

A holiday wreath hangs on the door of the mid 18th century Bolton House. The Greek style columns on the porch came about during later renovations.

"Christmas Colonial Fruit Wreath Cannon Street Thomas Cuff House Chestertown Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Christmas Colonial Style Fruit Wreath On Porch In Chestertown MarylandChristmas Colonial Style Fruit Wreath On Porch In Chestertown Maryland

A Colonial style holiday fruit wreath anoints the front porch banister of the mid 18th century Thomas Cuff House. Note the fruit garland hanging on the plantation door shutters.

"Christmas Holiday Wreaths Plantation Doors North Queen Street Chestertown Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Holiday Wreath On Plantation Doors Chestertown MarylandHoliday Wreath On Plantation Doors Chestertown Maryland

Double holiday wreaths hang on the exterior plantation shutter doors at the Chambers House.

"Christmas Decorations Snow Shoe Front Porch North Water Street Chestertown Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Christmas Wreath On A Snowshoe North Water Street Chestertown MarylandChristmas Wreath On A Snowshoe North Water Street Chestertown Maryland

Holiday evergreens and a bow hangs on a wooden snow shoe next to the front door of a riverfront residence.

"Christmas Holiday Garland Wreath South Queen Street Chestertown Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Holiday Garland And Bows On A Porch Chestertown MarylandHoliday Garland And Bows On A Porch Chestertown Maryland

Garland and red bows decorate the front porch of a mid 1870's Victorian residence.

"Christmas Colonial Wreath North Water Street Simon Wickes Perkins House Chestertown Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Colonial Holiday Wreath On Late 18th Century Door Chestertown MarylandColonial Holiday Wreath On Late 18th Century Door Chestertown Maryland

A holiday fruit wreath set on the front door of the late 18th century Simon Wickes House.

"Christmas Holiday Wreath Door Baldwin Apartments North Water Street Chestertown Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Christmas Holiday Wreath On One Double Door On North Water Street Chestertown MarylandChristmas Holiday Wreath On One Double Door On North Water Street Chestertown Maryland

A holiday wreath hangs on one of the double entrance doors at the mid 19th century Baldwin Apartments building.

In concluding this journal post I would like to thank each of the Chestertown residents that I met and talked to during my recent visit to their town for not only the time they so willingly shared with me that day but also their gracious hospitality.


Until next Christmas then,


G J Gibson

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Baldwin Apartments Bolton House Chambers House Chestertown Maryland Christmas In Chestertown Maryland Thomas Cuff House Victorian Period http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/12/chestertown-maryland-photo-journal-christmas-accents-adorn-doors-and-porches Sun, 28 Dec 2014 04:55:00 GMT
Late Afternoon Sun and the Onset Of Dusk In Oxford Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/12/oxford-md-photo-journal---late-afternoon-to-dusk---december-27th Perhaps Another Example Of How Unplanned Trips Are The Best Ones


A trip to Oxford Maryland has always been an enjoyable, as well as artistically rewarding, experience for me no matter the time of year or what the weather conditions happen to be on any particular day that I find myself there. To those already familiar with this historic Colonial Port town you might agree that a trip on the Oxford-Bellevue Ferry is the most scenic way to arrive but for me on a Saturday afternoon driving along a two lane road, sans stoplights, flanked by low lying farmland wasn't such a bad way as well. This happened to be the case when I took a somewhat late starting, and certainly impromptu, drive to Oxford in hope of catching a little late afternoon sun so too speak.

Having arrived in town around 3 o'clock, and with sunset taking place at close to 10 minutes of five, there was already a limit on both the amount of time available for photographs as well as places in town to experience before the sun disappeared out beyond the Tred Avon River.

The following are eleven photographs taken over an hour and 30 minutes or so during my recent visit to one of the oldest and perhaps most quaint of Maryland's Eastern Shore towns.

"East Strand Street Shoreline Oxford Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"East Strand Street Shoreline Oxford MarylandEast Strand Street Shoreline Oxford Maryland
The Oxford-Bellevue Ferry operates from mid April until mid November each year and as a traveler arriving in Oxford on it the photograph above depicts one of the views that a passenger would have as the ferry approaches the dock. The shoreline shown here is of the residences that line a segment of East Strand Street in the Town of Oxford. Note that this photograph was taken from the far end of the ferry dock upon my arrival this past Saturday afternoon.


"Oxford Museum North Morris Street Oxford Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Oxford Maryland MuseumOxford Maryland Museum
As one can see in this photograph the town clock was displaying almost 3:30 pm by the time I walked down to the Oxford Museum on South Morris Street from the ferry dock. The bright late afternoon sunshine is seen streaming into the museum's front windows that were featuring holiday displays that day.


"Cedar Shake House South Morris Street Oxford Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Cedar Shake House Late Afternoon Oxford MDCedar Shake House Late Afternoon Oxford MD
Continuing walking down Oxford's main street this shore style residence, replete with a cedar shake facade and a wide expansive front porch, is both bathed in the shade as well as by the late afternoon sun.


"Holly Bush South Morris Street Porch Oxford Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Holly Bush And Front Porch Oxford MarylandHolly Bush And Front Porch Oxford Maryland
Almost directly across the street from the previously featured residence is this traditional frame house that is completely shaded from the afternoon sun however this view accents the berry bush located on the near end of the front porch.


"Oxford Mews Emporium South Morris Street Oxford Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Oxford Mews Front Windows In Oxford MarylandOxford Mews Front Windows In Oxford Maryland
Catching sight of the brilliance of the then setting sun reflecting off the Oxford Mews Emporium storefront windows I dashed back up South Morris Street in time to capture this scene. By the time I stepped back to contemplate a better angle for taking another photograph of it the reflections shown here were gone.


"Maritime Mural Market Street Oxford Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Maritime Street Mural Oxford MarylandMaritime Street Mural Oxford Maryland
With both the sunny and shaded sides of the street to contend with, while the sun continued to reach closer to the surface of the Tred Avon River, I stopped to photograph this alleyway like mural depicting the generations of watermen, along with the role that the seafood industry has played, in the Oxford community over the years.


"Benoni Street Residence Tred Avon River Oxford Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Residence Along The Tred Avon River Near Sunset Oxford MarylandResidence Along The Tred Avon River Near Sunset Oxford Maryland
Yes having previously presented an example of a wooden shake exterior residence this scene features a more modern version of one however it really brings together the intensity of the setting sun and the close proximity of the Tred Avon River to the town of Oxford itself regardless of where one happens to be within its boundaries.


"Old St Pauls Church South Morris Street Oxford Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Former St Pauls Church Oxford MarylandFormer St Pauls Church Oxford Maryland
Quickening my pace I made my way back to South Morris Street so as to photograph the former St. Paul's Church building. Yes I noted 'former' for you see the old church had been closed when a couple of town residents purchased the building in 1979 and began restoring it in the late 1980's. Today this building, still sporting a church like facade and interior, is used for community events and other functions as well.


"Sunset On Tred Avon River Oxford Maryland Benoni Point Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Sun Setting On The Tred Avon River Oxford MarylandSun Setting On The Tred Avon River Oxford Maryland
Okay it became time to return to the Tred Avon River shoreline in order to get this view of Benoni Point, seen out in the distance across the water, as the sun continued getting lower on the western horizon.


"Red Hull Sailboat Lower Town Creek Oxford Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Red Hull Sailboat On Town Creek Oxford MarylandRed Hull Sailboat On Town Creek Oxford Maryland
Wow made it to my final destination of the day for it was now officially dusk here on the lower part of Town Creek. Yes Oxford Maryland is a well known sailboat town as well what with its rich history of boat building and design that has and still does take place along its waterfront.


"Bay Workboats Watermens Dock Dusk Oxford Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Watermens Dock On Town Creek Dusk Oxford MarylandWatermens Dock On Town Creek Dusk Oxford Maryland
This photograph is of local work boats tied up along the watermen's dock as the colors of dusk prevail over Town Creek.


Hopefully you did not feel rushed as we toured Oxford Maryland together but this was certainly a time, in the spirit of beloved Chesapeake Bay photographer Marion E. Warren, where I could not afford to wait for the light to be just right.

G J Gibson

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) East Strand Street Oxford Maryland Oxford Mews Oxford Museum St Pauls Church Sunset Town Creek Tred Avon River http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/12/oxford-md-photo-journal---late-afternoon-to-dusk---december-27th Sun, 28 Dec 2014 01:36:00 GMT
Experiencing Autumn Colors In St. Michaels Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/11/when-autumn-leaves-change-colors-around-marylands-chesapeake-bay-is-not-a-science Autumn In The St. Michaels Maryland Historic District

Each Autumn since having transitioned into a more dedicated regional photographer I would say to myself how this is the year that I will know, within reason, when the leaves on each species of tree throughout Maryland's Chesapeake Bay region will begin to change colors as well as actually peak for the season. Empowered with this specific knowledge I could then make plans to be in the right locality at the right time so as to capture the vibrant hues of Autumn with my camera. No I am not an arborist by any stretch of the imagination however I possess a fair amount of experience with trees and perhaps more so with their leaves from my years of living on a farm as well as of being an outdoor and historic architecture photographer.

However nature has a way of not keeping to a precise schedule for a myriad of reasons so even with all of the above noted experience I am usually weeks off in my projections each year. Why? Well for example In Annapolis the Red Maple trees found near the Maryland State House begin to change colors early, by a couple of weeks, then those on the campus of St. John's College. Soil and shade conditions? Spring and Summer rainfall amounts? Tree care practices by each institution's respective staff members? All of these things do influence the arrival of the changing leaf colors each Autumn. By the way it is not just the Maple trees in the Capital City that change at different times each Autumn for the Pin Oak trees in Chestertown Maryland vary from when they take on their seasonal hues along the campus of Washington College as opposed to those on High and Cannon Streets. Hickory, Chestnut and Red Oak trees in St. Michaels, Easton, Oxford, Cambridge, Crisfield, and the Western Shore of Maryland also change at different times even within their respective town limits.

So this year I have stopped making predictions or let my confidence get the best of me when it comes to the arrival of Autumn's colorful foliage, no instead I just start my seasonal journey at the beginning of October and walk as far as I can taking photographs along the way with my camera until the leave's Color Dance has concluded for the season (BTW click on the Color Dance link to hear George Winston's song of the same name from his Autumn collection as you peruse the photographs below).

The following six photographs are of 19th century residences that I came across during an Autumn afternoon walk in one St. Michaels Maryland neighborhood.


"Mid 19th Century House Autumn St Michaels Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Autumn Leaves Flank A Mid 19th Century St. Michaels HouseAutumn Leaves Flank A Mid 19th Century St. Michaels House

The Aaron Dyott House was originally built in the 1850's and is seen pictured above accented by the Autumn colored leaves of two nearby trees. Additions and extensions to the residence were completed in the 1870's by James Dyott.


"Early 19th Century Keithly House St Michaels Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"The 1815 Keithly House In St. Michaels MarylandThe 1815 Keithly House In St. Michaels Maryland

The 1815 Keithley House and the lot it occupies was in the Keithley family from 1783 to 1955. Located a block or so off Talbot Street in St. Michaels Maryland the residence went through a major remodeling in the middle of the 19th century which is reflected in its exterior appearance today.


"1880 Dawson Caulk Jr House Autumn St Michaels Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"The 1880 Dawson Caulk Jr. House In St. Michaels MarylandThe 1880 Dawson Caulk Jr. House In St. Michaels Maryland

Located on land that was owned at the time by his father, Dawson Caulk Sr., Dawson Caulk Jr. built this two story frame residence in 1880 and later purchased it after his father's death owning it until his own death in 1924. Comfortable rocking chairs depict an inviting front porch on which to observe the comings and goings of St. Michaels while flower boxes add color to the this historic district residence. Of course the current residents must be 'Rockers' what with the large Rockfish art work hung on the front door.


"1860 Leonard or Charles W Willey House Autumn St Michaels Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"The 1860 Leonard or Charles W. Willley House In St. Michaels MarylandThe 1860 Leonard or Charles W. Willley House In St. Michaels Maryland

Known in the second half of the 20th century as the Leonard House, it was known in the 1860's as the Charles W. Willey House, this two section wood frame residence is set on a narrow street front lot in the St. Michaels Historic District. The gable end visible above the left side roof line is an extension built after the house was originally constructed and is where a detached kitchen use to be located.


"James F Burns House Autumn St Michaels Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"The 1870's James F Burns House In St. Michaels MarylandThe 1870's James F Burns House In St. Michaels Maryland

The 1871 James F. Burns House was originally constructed of three front facing bays that included the front door and two windows set to the left of it. As was the case with an assortment of St. Michaels Maryland basic frame residences constructed during the latter part of the 19th century the Victorian style three floor Bay addition on the right side was built afterwards and in this case prior to 1890. The front porch features a wooden bench swing, a  rocking chair and wide flower boxes set along its perimeter.


"Late 19th Century Fairbank House Autumn St Michaels Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"The 1880 Fairbank House In St. Michaels MarylandThe 1880 Fairbank House In St. Michaels Maryland

In the late 1870's a one section house existed on this St. Michaels Maryland lot that included a detached kitchen and what has been said to be a cobbler shop. Purchased by the Fairbank family in the last quarter of the 19th century the house was remodeled and expanded to include the three fronting sections that one sees from the street today. Around the corner of the house on the right side a covered walkway leads to a detached garage that could be reminiscent of the former cobbler shop. Of course what was so inviting in this scene to look at was the transitional colors of the leaves on either side of the front porch.

So as I alluded to at the beginning of this journal post it is actually best to come upon Autumn when and where you find it instead of attempting to predict its exact arrival.


G J Gibson


Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Aaron Dyott House Charles W. Willey House Dawson Caulk House Fairbank House James F. Burns House Keithley House Leonard House St. Michaels Historic District St. Michaels Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/11/when-autumn-leaves-change-colors-around-marylands-chesapeake-bay-is-not-a-science Mon, 10 Nov 2014 18:57:43 GMT
Early Morning Along The Chester River At The 2014 Downrigging Festival In Chestertown Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/11/scenes-from-along-the-river-at-downrigging-2014-in-chestertown-maryland The fourteenth Tall Ship & Downrigging Festival took place in historic Chestertown Maryland this past weekend. This is certainly one of the region's premier events to celebrate the glorious maritime character of the Chesapeake Bay.

What follows are six photographs taken on the morning prior to the start of this year's festival.

* No camera filters were used in the taking of these pictures nor was any image editing software applied 

Pride of Baltimore II, Sultana & Kalmar Nyckel Docked Along The Chester RiverPride of Baltimore II, Sultana & Kalmar Nyckel Docked Along The Chester RiverPride of Baltimore II, Sultana & Kalmar Nyckel Docked Along The Chester River

Early Morning Fog on the Chester River • The Pride of Baltimore II, Sultana & the Kalmar Nyckel at the Town Dock

"Bridge Lamp Post Foggy Morning Chester River 2014 Downrigging Chestertown Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Lamp Post On Bridge In The Morning Fog Above the Chester RiverLamp Post On Bridge In The Morning Fog Above the Chester River

Fog Along The Shoreline And A Lamp Post On The Chester River Bridge

"Sailboat Fog Chester River Chestertown Maryland 2014 Downrigging Event Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Sailboat In The Fog On The Chester River In Chestertown MarylandSailboat In The Fog On The Chester River In Chestertown Maryland

A Sailboat Anchored Just Out Beyond The Morning Fog On The Chester River

Crabbing Stakes In The Fog On The Chester RiverCrabbing Stakes In The Fog On The Chester RiverCrabbing Stakes In The Fog On The Chester River

Crabbing Stakes Set Along The Chester River

"Early Morning Chester River Docks Chestertown Maryland 2014 Downrigging Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Early Morning Chestertown Maryland DocksEarly Morning Chestertown Maryland Docks

A Gathering Of Ships At The Chestertown Dock

"Cape Cod Catboat Shoveller 2014 Downrigging Chestertown Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Catboat Shoveller Docked In Chestertown MarylandCatboat Shoveller Docked In Chestertown Maryland

Catboat 'Shoveller' Docked In Chestertown Maryland

G J Gibson

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC


(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Catboat Shoveller Chester River Chester River Bridge Chestertown Maryland Kalmar Nyckel Pride of Baltimore II Sultana http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/11/scenes-from-along-the-river-at-downrigging-2014-in-chestertown-maryland Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:39:02 GMT
Farm Stories • Life Among The Trees, Wood Cutting 101 & Master Of The Plantation - Part 1 http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/life-among-the-trees-wood-cutting-for-urbanites-master-of-the-plantation---part-1 Emotional Bonds, Wind Breaks, Tree Profiling, Wood God Sighting, & My First Chain Saw

"Farm Stories Series Lumberjack Glenn Gould Hill Farm Hanover Virginia"Farm Stories - Lumber JackFarm Stories - Lumber Jack

From The First Day….

Surely it was a deep attachment, a bond if you would, that I felt for them inside of me what with the vast expanse of trees visible in every direction on that first day of self exile from the city. Rural naivety aside, as noted in my Self Discovery & How I Came To Live On An Old Farm Without A Chainsaw narrative, it seemed an innate reaction on my part to the wonders of nature along with a new rural lifestyle that had led me to those feelings years ago.

In retrospect I now freely admit  that when first living on the farm I was faced with the reality that wood, cut and gathered by my own labor, was to be the only source of warmth to sustain me through the Fall and Winter months of each year which surely had much to do with that early infatuation with trees of mine. Yet by the end of my tenure on the farm I had indeed bonded with the trees for more than simply practical reasons.

It can also be said that in the years that followed after having taken up my rural lifestyle, seemingly on a whim at the time, I came face to face with the economic reality that there are those who come to work the land in order to cultivate it for profit and at times do so in a way less respectful of nature and the environment than I had ever imagined. Eventually my novice like observations of their actions found me questioning the wisdom of certain agricultural management practices including those that depict trees as more of a nuisance rather then the role that they serve in protecting and preserving the land.

Over time I became jaded about not only those who profited from the land, while appearing so indifferent as to their own impact on it, but also of those charged with preserving it. A naive idealistic perception of them as stewards of the land was nothing more than an urban fantasy of mine I came to learn.

What follows are the origins of my Homeric like epiphany that led to a time in my life spent living in harmony with nature’s sentinels of one historic farm’s forests and the land that they protected.


Farm Stories Road Through The Front Fields To The Western Tree LineFarm Stories Road Through The Front Fields To The Western Tree LineFarm Stories Road Through The Front Fields To The Western Tree Line

Time Was Short But I Had A Support Group

There was so much to learn and very little time in which to do so in was one feeling I harbored after taking up residence on the farm. I began to also realize even then that there was a dichotomy between my sense of wonderment over the scenic vistas that the farm afforded me and the need to stay warm throughout the Winter. You see even though it was late summer the sight of the wood stove in my basement apartment each day served to remind me that those green leaves, visible in the distant forest, would be gone in a matter of months and that the temperatures would turn cold. It seemed like such a primitive feeling to have, one that up to that time I had never experienced before in my life.

I was fortunate at the beginning of my rural exile to have a heat with wood support group so too speak made up of friends who from time to time offered me sage advice on things such as caring for the wood stove, flue maintenance and how to plan for next year’s wood supply. To this day I still remember Nancy’s recommendation that one should never harvest more than a cord of wood from a one acre lot each year in order to not over cut the trees on it. While this may seem like a silly thing for me to remember today it planted the seed of land renewal in my mind, something that I have never forgotten.


A County Guy Named Joey

Joey came by the house on the first Saturday that I lived on the farm offering to show me around. So after a moment of formal introductions we set off to the barnyard where our conversation soon turned to trees and firewood.

Joey and his wife lived in the old farm managers house down the road from me. He was a short lean country looking kind of guy in his twenties who had resided on the farm for years. As a matter of fact he lived in the main house where I was then a resident, before the State Trooper did, and was very familiar with just about everything on the farm — buildings, land, wildlife, and its history. Joey was employed as a power tool repair person at a shop in the City and I came to learn that he was a regular Mr Fix-it. Good with his hands and possessed a rich mechanical aptitude.

In future Farm Stories Joey’s name will come up from time to time and this seems like a good point to share a couple of more things about him. First of all Joey’s hobby, or outlet, from his working and family life was that of an amateur archeologist, or a relic hunter as he would often refer to himself as. While the area around the farm was known for being the sight of a few Civil War encounters Joey was not at all interested in “relics” from that period. No Joey’s interest was in the colonial era and he had conducted numerous digs or excavations during his years of living on the farm coming across a number of fascinating items from the 18th century. Finally Joey also heated exclusively with wood cut from the farm and I came to appreciate him helping me get my own start in the wood cutting profession and so much more over the years.

Those Trees Are Only But A Memory

A shame that you moved in this year instead of two years ago Joey said to me in passing as we approached the barnyard, there used to be a good amount of wood over behind that hay barn he began to point out to me that was set off in the distance, but now its mostly rotted. Joey then began to tell me about what had happened two years ago that led to those visible heaps of rotted wood behind the hay barn.

Yep a couple of years ago the guy who leases the fields here brought in a bulldozer and plowed down all of the big trees that lined the main road of the farm Joey told me. I remember asking Joey something to the effect of, what there used to be big trees all along both sides of the road over there — as I pointed to the main road. Yes he replied, and then went on to describe the big Oak and Maple trees that lined both sides of it running from the hard surface state road where the mailboxes were located up for about a half a mile to the main house where I was then living.

Why were they taken down I asked? Joey’s response was that the farmer wanted more tillable land for planting so between the size of the trees themselves and their large roots being taken out he picked up another five acres of land to grow crops on. Joey shared all of this with me in such a matter of fact manner that indicated the farmer’s actions made perfect sense to him as well. Continuing on with the farmer’s rationale for doing so he told me how those trees competed for moisture from the soil adjacent, as well as beneath, the planted crops and that they also kept sections of the front fields in the shade for 3 or 4 hours each day hindering access to the sunlight.

I stopped walking in order to look back at the now treeless road attempting to imagine what it must have looked like with all of those big trees set on either side of it. In Autumn it surely must have made for quite a picturesque scene that’s for sure I thought. By the time I turned back around Joey was already standing in the barnyard waiting for me so I hurried to catch up with him.

Wind Breaks & Yes I Don’t Have A Chain Saw

Over on that wind break, Joey began to tell me, is a good place to find damaged trees. With my farm naivety making its first public appearance I remember asking Joey “what the hell is a wind break?” Out there, that thin line of trees running from the far back road over to that large grove of trees he told me. In time I came to know a lot more about that particular wind break Joey had pointed out to me that day. The break itself separated one hundred acre planted field from a similarly sized one set behind it that bordered Ms. Newton’s farm.

While there is no need to go into much detail about why there are wind breaks between farmer fields I can say from a bit of experience that trees in a break are more susceptible to damage from the wind over time than those clustered together as a group. While they provide a good opportunity for a wood cutter looking to take out damaged trees but by doing so this contributes to the thinning of the overall treeline itself until over time the remaining trees will die as well. How smashing I thought to myself for I will be doing the job of the bulldozer by opening up the land even more for that farmer I thought to myself. No, I remember thinking, this city boy isn’t going to be doing anything like that. I’m no one’s surrogate beaver.

We set out down the road leading to the wind break which meandered through the upper fields for a good distance when Joey asked me about what kind of chainsaw I had, to which I replied none. He quickly glanced over at me and said in a very discernible country kind of way well no need to go buy one there’s a spare in the tractor shed that no one is using right now. Great I thought now I just have to learn how to use it without maiming myself. Do you have a round rat tail file I remember Joey asking me to which I replied no not yet. Well you will be needing a couple of them for this season and a quart or two of bar oil as well. I hadn’t a clue what he was talking about but somehow knew that I would quickly learn this wood cutting lingo one way or the other.

Arriving at the wind break we turned down a narrow dirt path set between the trees of the wind break and the planted field. Okay, I remember Joey instructing me, its only the damaged Oak and Hickory trees that I should be culling out of the break this season. He also told me not to worry about gathering any kindling wood from it because he had plenty of it for the both of us this year. That was reassuring to hear I must have thought but at that time I simply had no idea of what kindling wood even was.

Know Thou Trees

Joey pointed to a tree set directly in front of where we were standing at the time and said okay this one is ready to come down and it might even have a bit of seasoning in it already so you can burn it this year. The tree Joey had pointed to I remember stood over 35' and was devoid of any leaves but was still perfectly upright. He then asked me if I knew what kind of tree that it was. When I told him I didn’t know he quickly said that it was a Hickory. He assured me that it was one by its lattice like bark pattern that looks like a pie top. Sure enough I could see that crisscrossing pie top pattern on the bark of the tree. It burns better than red oak but doesn’t last as long as white oak plus it gets heavy when its wet. What there are different types of Oak trees too I must of thought at the time. Subspecies of trees? I must have slept through high school science class it seemed

Tree profiling school lasted for about two hours as we walked that wind break and then into the nearby forest looking for damaged trees. It was during this “nature hike” that I came to learn about most of the attributes of White, Red and Pin Oaks as well as Hickory and Maple trees. I also learned that Poplar trees were good for kindling and how Pines trees were absolutely no good — burn too fast and leave a lot of creosote in the wood stove pipe and thimble as well as the chimney. Elm trees were not the best choice for firewood because they can get so cracked and twisted. Chestnut and Sycamore trees were too stringy when they split as well as drying out too much losing their mass so stay away from them as well Joey added. Never pick a Gum tree which are impervious to splitting and will ruin the chain on your saw in a matter of minutes if you try to cut one. I remember thinking that I was well on my way to becoming proficient at recognizing all the different trees on the farm thanks to Joey’s lecture.

Gum Trees Were A Slave’s Holiday Salvation

After my tree lecture Joey placed a wad of chewing tobacco in one of his cheeks and began to share the first, of many to come, anecdotal stories about the early years on the farm with me. Yep, Joey began, back years ago, which I determined he meant 150 — 200 of them, when there were slaves on the farm they would cut a Gum tree down by the river in the Spring and get four good size fireplace length sections out of it. They left these sections in the river until late Summer and then hauled all of them up to the main house where they would be set up to dry out over the remainder of the Summer and all of the Fall. A Gum tree won’t dry out for a long time after being cut because there’s so much sap inside of it Joey went on to say with a bit of a grin on his face, that’s what makes them so tough along with the tightness of the wood rings. You see late on Christmas Eve, Joey continued, the slaves would carry each piece of those cut Gum tree sections into the house and place them in the already burning fireplaces of each room. Then according to Joey, along with a few others who have regaled me with similar holiday tree stories over the years, they would proceed to bank them down real good with pieces of Oak and Hickory so that those large sections of Gum would eventually catch fire and go on to burn all of Christmas Day. Of course I was thinking that was a smart way to get Christmas off but their benefit package really sucked.

In The Presence Of The Farm God

With Joey’s holiday story over he told me that once I have cleared the damaged trees out of this wind break then I could find my own wood lot in one of the back lower fields to start next year’s cutting. For next year I thought to myself, cutting wood is going to be a lot of hard work.

As I was pondering about how I already need to be cutting wood for next year is when I saw a cloud of dust making its way up the main road of the farm at a pretty good speed. Soon I could make out that it was a white SUV with that faux wood paneling along it’s sides causing it.

Well there he is Joey remarked, he’s probably coming to see what we are up to today. Who is it I remember asking? Oh that’s our landlord Joey replied kind of anyway. Kind of I replied? Yes he is married to one of the daughters of the guy who owned this farm for years who then left it to his two daughters when he died. The old man and his family used to live on the farm in the house your in right now back some twenty years ago or so. Joey went on to say that it was the wife of the guy in that SUV who’s father bought Marilyn for her when they all lived on the farm. I wanted to ask who Marilyn was but figured that I had asked too many questions already today. In time I would meet Marilyn on my own and in a future Farm Story you will as well.

In spite of my then hesitation about asking who Marilyn was I managed to blurt out a question to Joey. Does he also cut wood on the farm? Nope Joey told me but he burns a fair amount of it each year and you will be learning about where he gets it from in about three or four months. I was puzzled by his answer to my question but he turned out to be right. By late Fall I actually would find out just where my new landlord got his wood.

It was getting well on into the afternoon and I felt a bit overwhelmed by everything that I been absorbing throughout the day from Joey. We both began to head back to the distant barnyard talking along the way about the history of the farm and a couple of the digs that he had conducted in the fields that we were passing by at the moment.

With A Chainsaw And Maul Your Good To Go

Upon arriving back at the barnyard Joey led me into what I was later told was the tractor shed. Inside I could see a good size Ford farm tractor parked in the center, certainly bigger that any riding lawn mower that I had ever seen before, and hundreds of things seemingly everywhere just tossed about or randomly hung up on the wall. Along each of the long walls flanking the tractor were two deep wooden plank waist high shelves. Joey picked up the chainsaw set on one of the shelves and with a couple of tugs on its rope starter brought it to life. Boy was it loud as Joey pulled on its trigger making the chain spin faster and faster. After a minute or so he turned it off. Okay she seems fine, its all yours. It has an 18" bar and you should use those Oregon replacement chains on it Joey instructed me. Okay I am ready to be a lumberjack now I must of thought then — not even close.

We both went outside the tractor shed into the late afternoon sunshine and closed the heavy wooden doors of it behind us. Joey had a few more words to impart on me that day. He started off by saying if you haven’t already seen it there’s an old Chevy pickup truck parked over there in the stable for hauling smaller loads of wood but if you need to bring back a big load the trailer for the tractor is on the other side of the dairy barn. The truck I could handle I thought to myself but driving that tractor with a wagon on it? That I wasn’t so sure about.

Do you have a maul Joey asked? No what type do you think I should get? He kind of smiled once again and said hold on. He opened up one of the tractor shed doors where I watched him reach for something inside next to the door. Here this one will work and you’ll never have to replace the handle either he kind of snickered. Joey had handed me a 30" piece of 2" round galvanized pipe with treads on one end sporting a bulky metal combination head on it. One side of the head had a broad thick axe or wedge on it while the other side looked like a big sledge hammer. It was clear that the head had been welded on to the galvanized pipe handle years ago. Yep its heavy to swing but it will get the job done and will never break on you I remember Joey saying as he closed the tractor shed door.

Equipped To Cut Wood Yet Feeling A Bit Uneasy

Joey said he had to get home for supper and added to just come see him if I needed anything. I thanked him for his time and told him to feel free to let me know if there was ever anything that I could help him with.

As he walked off I found myself reflecting back on the day’s rural boot camp experience and in one respect was glad that I had been imparted with so much tree wisdom so too speak. Yet in another respect I felt a bit uneasy as I looked down at the chainsaw and that gladiator like maul at my feet. I wondered what future disasters lay ahead for me with those two things.

G J Gibson


Content Note: this is the first of a three part narrative titled Life Among The Trees • Wood Cutting For Urbanites • Master Of The Plantation in the Farm Stories Photo Art Galley Journal Collection

Collection Note: as I wrote in the prologue narrative for the Farm Stories series I began writing of my experiences of life on the farm after coming across a group of photographs and journals buried away in one of my cabinets. Even I was surprised upon reading through those old journals recently by not only the frequency that I wrote in them back then but also by the amount of details that they contained. These journals have served to flesh out my recollections from those days on the farm years ago while providing numerous details and allowing me to recount them as if it was yesterday.

This article was first published on Medium

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery

Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Farm Chainsaws Farm Stories Gould Hill Farm Hanover Virginia Oak Hickory Maple Gum Pine Trees Part 1 Tree Wind Breaks http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/life-among-the-trees-wood-cutting-for-urbanites-master-of-the-plantation---part-1 Fri, 25 Apr 2014 03:52:29 GMT
The Vanishing Chesapeake Bay Seafood Industry On Tilghman Island Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/vanishing-breeds---a-purveyor-of-chesapeake-bay-seafood-on-tilghman-island-maryland Chesapeake Bay Workboats Docked In Tilghman Island Maryland

"Tilighman Island Maryland Bay Work Boats Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Tilghman Island Maryland Bay Work BoatsTilghman Island Maryland Bay Work Boats

Experiencing the sights, smells and sounds of Tilghman Island Maryland today is still like a journey back in time. To a first time visitor it may seem that most of what one might come across within the town limits appears to be a bit disheveled or worn out in a rural country kind of way while the sight of unused or forgotten objects left where there must have simply been an open spot for them I'm sure might be unusual. The possible exception to these first impressions one might conclude stands nearby - everything is in close proximity on Tilghman Island, by the sight of the Volunteer Fire Department and Elementary School buildings.

It is to these same visitors that I suggest taking an opportunity to learn more about this Eastern Shore community of watermen so as to better appreciate how over many years it has defined not only the character of its people and their way of life but also the singular ambiance of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay region that they have traveled far to experience.

Knapps Narrows Bridge • Tilghman Island Maryland

"Knapps Narrows Bridge Tilghman Island Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Knapps Narrows Bridge In Tilghman Island MarylandKnapps Narrows Bridge In Tilghman Island Maryland

One’s journey into Tilghman Island proper begins by crossing over the Knapps Narrows Bridge. Said to open more than 10,000 times each year it is the definitive landmark connecting the Chesapeake Bay and Choptank River used by watermen and pleasure boaters alike. During my time spent ‘on island’ that day the bridge horn sounded off more than 2 dozen times at least.

It should be said at this point that I wasn’t there to photograph, which I actually did a few times no less, nor to learn more about the bridge much less its place in the daily lives of the town’s residents. No I was there so as to take a closer look at the Harrison Oyster Company building. For you see on my many trips to the ‘island’ over the years I, like most other drivers, would often catch but a glimpse of it while passing over the bridge. In the last couple of years I have become more familiar not only with the role that it once played in the Tilghman Island economy but also with those who had worked inside of it.

Harrison Oyster Company On The Knapps Narrows • Tilghman Island Maryland
"Harrison Oyster Company Building Tilghman Island Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Harrison Oyster Company Building Tilghman Island MarylandHarrison Oyster Company Building Tilghman Island Maryland

Let me say that I do not know if the Harrison Oyster Company even operates out of this building today, if so it seems to be not on a regular basis. Still it stands along side the Knapps Narrows channel a seemingly perfect location for Bay work boats to deliver their day's catch as it has been for years. Today there are still remnants of the equipment and processing platforms used by workers to unload, sort, weigh and move the day’s harvest from the waterfront bulkhead to inside the building for processing.

A large metal plate like those used on a warehouse loading dock, sans any ‘legs’, is still set at the bottom of a wooden ramp that made for the moving of product from or into the building smoother. In front of the garage door a thick vinyl mat, similar to ones found in an office set beneath a desk or perhaps behind a service counter, remains in place as well. The only aspect on the front of the building that I was unsure of was the second floor door. Without any obvious signs of former steps or porch supports on the siding I must assume that it had been used to toss things outside whether that was waste from the seafood processing or the product itself.

Harrison Oyster Company Sign • Tilghman Island Maryland

"Harrison Oyster Company Sign Tilghman Island Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Harrison Oyster Company Sign In Tilghman Island MarylandHarrison Oyster Company Sign In Tilghman Island Maryland

It was while standing there in front of the building that I began to think about what I had learned that used to go on inside of it during the days when oysters where processed as soon as they arrived on the boats. As is the case today proficient crab pickers and oyster shuckers are a vanishing breed. Commonly made up of local workers, with a number of them shucking since childhood, most were women. A good shucker could sort and open hundreds upon hundreds of oysters over the course of a day's work.

Paid by the pound and type of oyster shuckers labored in what most would consider rough working conditions today yet did so mostly for the lack of employment opportunities in an area that offered few other jobs. They sat at tables half surrounded by buckets on the floor that indicated the type of oyster that they had just finished shucking. Their actions consisted of thrusting a short flat knife into each oyster so as to unhinge its shell in order to then carve out the succulent meat that was inside and finally tossing it into the designated bucket. This process was then repeated over and over again throughout the course of the work day. At their feet would lay the accumulated waste from the opening of numerous oysters throughout their shift which surely emitted a smell that would have been less than pleasant I would think, that is until one becomes accustomed to it.


Older watermen have told me of the times they remembered pulling alongside the docks of Eastern Shore crab or oyster houses with their catches and could hear the sounds of gospel like songs emanating from the nearby buildings that were being sung by the workers inside. “The sounds of them singing like that would make me feel like I was late for church” one boat crew member recalled to me.

Dockside Hoist At Harrison Oyster Company • Tilghman Island Maryland

"Harrison Oyster Company Bulkheaad Hoist Knapps Narrow Tilghman Island Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Harrison Oyster Company Bulkhead Hoist On Knapps Narrows Tilghman Island MarylandHarrison Oyster Company Bulkhead Hoist On Knapps Narrows Tilghman Island Maryland

Of course I wasn’t surprised to see the way that the equipment or work areas around the oyster house looked, as is the case with most things on Tilghman Island, they seemed frozen in time. I did take heart when I took a closer look at this waterfront hoist and saw the condition of the ropes on it. No worse for wear and not at all weathered looking for they showed signs of being used recently but by who though I could not tell. From what I had learned over the years locals respect each others property but like an abandoned crab cage, discarded metal tooth or chain from an oyster dredge someone coming along and using this hoist was a possibility.

Even though this bulkhead platform appears cobbled together, what with that piece of stud wood nailed diagonally to it for stability, along with the slightly rusted metal table set at the end of it overall this is indicative of what one will find scattered about the grounds here at the oyster house.


Discarded Oyster Shells On The Ground At Harrison Oyster Company • Tilghman Island Maryland

"Oyster Shells On Ground Bulkhead Harrison Oyster Company Tilghman Island Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Oyster Shells On The Ground Harrison Oyster Company Tilghman Island MarylandOyster Shells On The Ground Harrison Oyster Company Tilghman Island Maryland

The first contact with discarded oyster shells that day was when I got out of my car stepping down into a mixture of shell fragments and dust bonded together by standing water. It was no surprise seeing that the entire lot was filled with puddles from a recent rain storm. Scattered along all three sides of the concrete deck at the front of the building, piled underneath, around and on top of the outside work tables oyster shells were everywhere. I’m sure that I had at least a half pound of fragments and dust on my floor mats by the time that I returned home. It was all over the undercarriage of the car and the tires were caked with it, as were my shoes as well. In spite of this being a fairly obvious thing to anticipate I was still amazed by just how much the oyster shell debris set itself into everything.

Writer’s Note: I left Tilghman Island that day with a continued appreciation for not only its residents and their community but also with an ongoing sense of admiration for those who spent their lives laboring in the oyster, crab and seafood houses of Maryland’s Eastern Shore. As to the future viability of those remaining industry concerns and their workers that mostly depends on a stronger commitment to the environmental well being of the Chesapeake Bay as well as the region’s ability to continue to sustain this important part of its economic base.

G J Gibson

Note: This article was first published on Medium

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not included in the main gallery
Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Chesapeake Bay Seafood Markets Choptank River Harrison Oyster Company Knapps Narrow Bridge Tilghman Island Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/vanishing-breeds---a-purveyor-of-chesapeake-bay-seafood-on-tilghman-island-maryland Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:02:19 GMT
Farm Stories • Self Discovery and Life On An Old Farm Sans A Chainsaw http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/self-discovery-how-i-came-to-live-on-a-historic-farm-without-even-a-chainsaw "Farm Stories Main House Gould Hill Farm Hanover Virginia"Farm Stories - Main House and Plowed FieldsFarm Stories Main House and Plowed Fields

Writer’s Note: This is the first article in the Farm Stories Collection and serves as an introduction if you would for a series of writings and photographs recounting my time spent living along a rural tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.

Fortunately, for the sake of the above noted subject matter, it was also a time when both writing and photography had first established themselves as a creative outlet in my life, which in those days brought a certain sense of balance between the rigors of existing as a corporate drone and a need for individual expression. Recently I came across a group of old photographs and writing journals of mine which have rekindled memories of a rural lifestyle that served as an artistic source of inspiration and so much more indeed.


Farm Stories A Prologue:
Recollections Of What Led Me To Become A Country
Gentleman Instead Of Listening To Bagpipes


It All Began With A Question

I clearly remember that day, yes the one when my life would change in a way that I could hardly imagine at the time. Walking through the sterile ambiance of a hallway, adorned with an occasional picture of a flower or something soothing like that, at my then employer’s office I was focused on the progress of an ongoing project. That is until I heard someone call out “hey Glenn you got a minute?” Turning in the direction of a nearby open office door I could see that it was Doug who was calling me.

Stepping inside the doorway I saw that he was already back sitting back in the chair with his shoes, sans socks, up on the desk. It is worth noting that Doug was an avid runner doing so just about every work day in lieu of lunch, also in the evenings and the weekends as well. Doug was the consummate laid back kind of guy. Sporting a thick black beard along with a short shag like hair style he often dressed in clothing that hung loosely over his lean well toned athletic frame. Even his speech mannerisms consisted of those of a friendly well spoken country gentleman with a bit of a drawl.

Doug was a member of another IT development team at our company and over time we both had become acquainted with each other via a group of fellow programmers who could be labeled as liberal art techies of the era. My final take on Doug was that as a runner he trained hard and seemed to relish the solitude of his long runs in the country. As a computer programmer he was one who worked to live, in his own laid back lifestyle that is, and not living to work as many do today.

In Doug’s laid back manner he posed the following question to me “hey bud do you want to live on a big farm in the country?” While I do not remember my exact response from back then though I’m sure it was something along the line of sure! What I do know is that I didn’t miss a beat in answering him. To this day I still wonder why I responded so quickly to Doug’s question since I was perfectly happy where I was living at that time.


Enjoying Life In The City

I had been living in my apartment since having accepted a position with a local corporation about a year prior to my encounter with Doug and thrived on the neighborhood’s bohemian like vibe as well as the city’s historical pedigree.

The neighborhood streets were lined with historic town homes - a number of which having been converted into apartments, and grand mansion style residences with well maintained lawns enclosed by black wrought iron fences that ran along the sidewalks. There were wide boulevard like avenues featuring mature trees, fountains and statues that tied in nicely with the nearby parks as well as museums. Cross streets were the venues for bars, restaurants, shops, design studios, galleries, and just about every type of commercial venture that a resident would ever need. Even the university where I took the occasional class was located 10 or so blocks away — a nice walk especially in the Spring. All of this meant for me that on Friday evening I could park my car and never have to use it again until returning to work on Monday morning. I walked everywhere and it was great place to live.

The people in the district came from all walks of life including college students, artists of almost every discipline, chefs, tradesmen even morticians as well as older residents who had lived their entire lives in the neighborhood. Musicians? Yes there were a number of them living in the nearby buildings and through my open apartment windows I could often hear the sounds of cellos, guitars, flutes, saxophones, and even bagpipes drifting about on the evening breezes.

Questions, Directions & A Bit Of Background

Where was I in this story anyway? Oh yes Doug’s office, so in response to my answer to his question he said great the farm is located out where Linda, his wife, and I live so the next time that he ‘runs’ into the guy who owns it - I assumed then that Doug and the farm owner were fellow runners, he would tell him that I was interested in living there.

A few days later Doug stopped by my office and said things were set and that the owner had told him that I should come out to the farm to look at the apartment and then get back to him with my answer, the door to it would be unlocked. I asked if anyone was currently living there and he said no that a State Trooper had been until recently but was reassigned to a barracks in another part of the state so the apartment was vacant.

Asking Doug for the directions to the farm and the owner’s phone number I found myself wanting to learn more about what seemed to be this rural nirvana that we have been speaking about of late. I asked him if he knew anything about the farm or the house itself. He said the apartment rents for $300 a month plus electric but that I would have the full run of the house. There was a young couple that live in the Farm manager’s house on the property he added, the farm itself is about a 1,000 acres — half in trees and the other half in crops taken care of by a local farmer, and the only thing I have to do as a tenant was to shoo trespassers off the property whenever the occasion arises. Then he said that the trooper had been living in the basement of the house, more on that in a future story, and was pretty sure that it was heated with wood since the upstairs rooms only had fireplaces as well as no plumbing.

"Farm Stories Main Road Gould Hill Farm Hanover Virginia"Farm Stories - Farm RoadFarm Stories - Farm Road

What Do Bean Fields Look Like?

Heated with wood I kept thinking to myself while driving on one of the rural roads leading to the farm the next afternoon. After having turned off the main state route, about five miles north from where I worked, Doug’s directions instructed me to follow the road until it came to a Y like intersection, at which point I was to bear to the left. Then follow that road for a few miles or so until I saw an old country store with gas pumps out front but to turn left just before the store and then take the second right. Finally I was to follow that road until it ends at a stop sign where I would then be able to see the front fields of the farm directly in front me.


Doug had also pointed out when giving me the directions to the farm that he believed that the front fields were “currently in beans.” Beans? What kind of beans and what do they look like I thought upon hearing this? Green beans? Well in short order I would come to know exactly what kind of beans that Doug meant along with the knowledge that there are different seasons for those particular type of beans — one’s harvested in October, and late beans harvested around Thanksgiving.


"Farm Stories Dairy Barn Gould Hill Farm Hanover Virginia"Farm Stories - Dairy BarnFarm Stories - Dairy Barn

Turn At The Sign Of The Cow Then Follow The Dirt Gravel Road

As I came up on that final stop sign in my directions sure enough there in front of me was this huge expanse of farm fields, perhaps larger than any I had ever seen or possibly noticed before — I know I have never lived in the Midwest. I caught sight of a gravel and dirt road that seemed to be splitting the bean field in half. At the entrance to it were two black metal rural mailboxes on posts along with a tall wood pole across from them with what I referred to at the time a metal cow set on top of it. The name of the farm was displayed beneath the cow and I felt good to have at least found the farm without hearing any banjo music.

Proceeding on to the farm I saw acres upon acres of trees to the far right side of one field, directly in front of me about a quarter of a mile ahead was a faded looking red barn - actually the dairy kind I later learned, and one that I would eventually experience first hand in a future medical emergency.

On my far left I could make out a good sized white house that was getting larger as I drove directly towards it especially after having followed the sharp left bend in the road about halfway up it. Even though I was hundreds of yards away from the house at that time I could see a huge tree set on the right side of the front lawn with branches that were at least 40 feet in length.

"18th Century Country Kitchen Farm Stories Gould Hill Farm Hanover Virginia"Farm Stories - Country KitchenFarm Stories - Country Kitchen

Overwhelmed By My Surroundings

I soon found myself in front of that large white house where I had stopped in order to take a closer look at it. The structure itself was made up of two distinct segments one built of brick and the other of wood. Both were two storeys in height and each of them were topped with a black shingled roof pitched so high they surely could have served as third floor living areas.

A large square front porch was attached to the wooden segment of the house and appeared to serve as its main entranceway. Directly to the right side of the porch was a 6' by 10' first floor front window that surely must have commanding views of the bean fields and a lot more I thought to myself. There was an abundance of architectural details just on the house itself that 10 paragraphs of descriptive writing would not do it justice, it was simply overwhelming to try to take all of it in at one time.

It quickly became apparent that there was a lot more of this house to see just from the outside of it. I then felt the need to change perspectives so I began to look around only to find myself captivated by such a broad expanse of landscapes set in any direction that I found myself facing in. Clearly there were at least 3 more roads crisscrossing their way through the farm, three silos — two in a nearby barnyard and another one set out in front of a far off treeline. Then there was yet another barn — not a dairy one, a horse stable and what I believed to be a chicken coop. It was an incredible sight for this city boy to be taking in at that moment I remember now.

However I was there to check out the basement apartment so I turned off the car and walked over to the side entranceway that I had been instructed to use in order to gain access to the house. I have to add though that as I made my way to the entrance of the basement the brick chimney that stood next to it must have been 50+ feet high! I was stunned by the sight of it.

Even while standing in front of the screen door leading to the basement I couldn’t stop from noticing even more nearby farm buildings as well as other planted fields out in the distance. I caught sight of a good size pond out behind what I would later learn to refer to as the “country kitchen” which would certainly make for a great artist studio I remember thinking.


"Farm Stories Series English Basement Wood Stove Gould Hill Virginia Hanover Virginia"Farm Stories - Wood StoveFarm Stories - Wood Stove

Its Commonly Referred To As An English Basement

Finally I got my house hunting focus back and made my way down the concrete steps to the basement door and sure enough the handle was unlocked. Stepping inside I could see that it was laid out much like a large efficiency apartment. There was a front living area with a black cast iron wood stove - thoughts of how much wood that I would need in order to keep warm in the Winter immediately came back to mind.

The entire floor itself was covered in a brick colored patterned linoleum covering. On the right hand side was an open kitchen with cabinets, sink and a counter top minus any appliances. About two thirds of the way back on the left side of room was a partially extended wall that must have been used to delineate the sleeping area. Finally there was a small room in the far back right corner that contained a full bathroom including a shower enclosure.

Along the full length of both side walls were large double hung windows set just above the outside ground level that faced both east and west allowing for a fair amount of light to enter the room throughout the day. A stairway leading up to the first floor of the house was located to the side of the bathroom and next to it was a door for entering into the basement area of the brick section of the house.

Standing there in that open room I wondered whether I would actually enjoy living in a place such as this? Should I explore the rest of the house even though Doug had said that the Trooper only lived in the basement? What’s on the other side of that basement door and what about that wood stove? I was no lumber jack by any stretch of the imagination to be cutting enough wood to keep in burning.

Once again I found myself a bit overwhelmed by it all but this time it was due to my interior surroundings. I wasn’t feeling claustrophobic by any means but found myself needing to get out of the basement so as to better collect my thoughts about whether I wanted to live here or not.


"Farm Stories Series 18th Century Ordinary or Brick Barn Gould Hill Farm Hanover Virginia"Farm Stories - Side YardFarm Stories - Side Yard

More Curiosity And My Decision Was Made

Once again I was standing outside of the main house when I caught sight of a very old looking brick two storey building set out across the side yard about 150 feet away and I became extremely curious about what exactly that it was. As I approached the structure I saw that indeed it was a very old building, two hundred years at least. For a moment I thought about going inside of it since it appeared that the door was unlocked, like everything else there on the farm, but I did not turning instead to take a look at the dairy barn where I could now see just how large it actually was.

With the sun starting to set over the nearby mill pond I once again placed my sense of curiosity in check and began walking towards the car. As I drove down the drive towards the main road I realized that I had already made my mind up about two things. Yes I really can see myself living on this farm and second that I had better learn how to cut wood and fast for Fall was but a few months away.

The next day I called the owner and told him that I would like to rent the house. A new chapter in my life was about to begin.

G J Gibson

Note: this article is also available on Medium

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not included in the main gallery

Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC


(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Brick Barns and Ordinaries Chain Saws Dairy Barns Farm Stories Historic American Farms http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/self-discovery-how-i-came-to-live-on-a-historic-farm-without-even-a-chainsaw Tue, 15 Apr 2014 04:02:25 GMT
The 1780's Maccubbin House  In Annapolis Maryland • How 19th Century Alterations Define It Today http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/the-historic-maccubbin-house-architectural-alterations-that-today-define-its-appearance  

Front Entranceway of the Maccubbin House and Gibson's Lodgings Inn Annapolis MarylandFront Entranceway of the Maccubbin House and Gibson's Lodgings Inn Annapolis MarylandFront Entranceway of the Maccubbin House and Gibson's Lodgings Inn Annapolis Maryland

Writer’s Note: Earlier today I found myself on the horns of a historical architectural dilemma while walking the streets of the Annapolis Historic District in search of a picture of the day for my Annapolis Experience Blog daily post. I have been doing this same thing for coming up on three years now without ever having missed a single day in doing so, I believe the number now stands at close to 1,000 straight days in a row. As self-promotional as that last sentence may read I mention it only to illustrate the point that encountering historic building on my daily walks in the City is certainly not a new experience for me. I have seen the likes of original historic buildings that have been fairly well preserved, even over the course of hundreds of years of existence, as well as structures that let’s say have been dutifully preserved or reconstructed over time.

What caused me to find myself placed on those before mentioned proverbial horns was that I was confronted by the presence of a historic building whose architectural lineage clearly had roots in both the 1780's and 1860's. It was the sight of what is clearly 19th century American Italianate architecture style having been superimposed over that of an original 18th century Federal style building that gave me pause. It was not only pause but also the beginning of a look deep inside of me as to whether to accept this historic architectural dichotomy for what it was or to consider it yet another example of how alternations take away from the historic significance of a building.

In any event I went on to compose my daily blog post and at the end of it I seemed to have found the answer to my architectural dilemma. What follows is a mostly excerpted version of the same post that I wrote earlier today.

Today’s featured photograph was taken at the Gibson’s Lodgings Inn on lower Prince George Street. While certainly a challenging location in which to capture the mass of the main building itself in a photograph I have elected to present the front door of it instead as a way in which to share a bit of its history and the dichotomy of its architectural styles that one sees on it today.

The historical reference name of this building is the Nicholas Z. Maccubbin House. Constructed in the 1780′s as the residence of Nicholas Z. Maccubbin the land that he built his house on had been used as a shipyard during the latter part of the 1600′s through the early 1700′s most certainly because of its proximity to the water, today’s Annapolis Harbor. It is interesting to note that the multi acre tract on Prince George Street that included this lot during the early 1700′s eventually included a public jail (gaol) that was built on it in 1739 or so.

Mr. Maccubbin profession of the day was that of a shoemaker as well as a merchant, possibly a successful one what with having the resources to have built a large residence of its size during that particular period. The house was constructed in the Federal Style featuring a two story five bay wide front featuring brick walls laid in an English Bond course pattern. The house remained in the Maccubbin family until 1865. Certainly not as grand a residence as the more well known federal style residences located further up Prince George Street, i.e, the William Paca and Brice House, it still represented a significant architectural entity especially with the more commonly found frame structures built near the waterfront during that era.

Having directly or indirectly remained in the Maccubbin family since it was first built the property and dwelling on 110 Prince George Street was sold in 1865 to a Mr. Solomon Phillips who was responsible for altering the Federal features of the building to that of the Italianate style that we see today. Mr. Phillips replaced the English Bond brick front facade with that of the pressed brick pattern shown adjacent to the door in today’s picture. In addition the main entrance way was altered to include the current wide panel door with narrow full height vertical side windows as well as a horizontal glass transom. The ornate door hood is certainly indicative of Italianate design which was especially popular in Annapolis during the last quarter of the 19th century. As to the wrought iron porch railings they represent a well known design accent used during that period as well. Finally the hood like millwork used above the entranceway door can also be found set over the four first floor windows that feature exterior wrought iron French balcony like accents on the lower part of them.

As to the ownership of the Maccubbin House after Mr. Solomon it seemed that his extensive alterations impacted him financially and he had to sell his residence in 1885 to a Mr. Sommers. In 1922 it was in turn sold to the Patterson family, who’s name has been used to reference this house over the years as well and can be seen on the brass plate to the left of the front door today. In 1965 the house was acquired by a Doris Miller who lived in it until 1980 or so. Finally Robert and Ayrol Gibson purchased the residence where they came to operate it as a Bed & Breakfast one for which it is used for today.

While being the type who appreciates the originality of a historic building’s architecture as I stood in front of 110 Prince George Street today I found myself thinking about how this structure possibly appeared to a passerby back in the 1780′s as well as in the later 1800′s after Mr. Solomon’s alterations were made to it. Certainly both styles can be appreciated for the historical architectural significance of their respective periods making the visual impact of the alterations done on it almost 140 years ago seem a bit secondary.

G J Gibson

Note: this piece was originally published on the Annapolis Experience Blog and is also available on Medium 

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not included in the main gallery

Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Gibson's Lodgings Inn Annapolis Maccubbin House Annapolis Maccubbin Patterson House Annapolis Prince George Street Annapolis http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/the-historic-maccubbin-house-architectural-alterations-that-today-define-its-appearance Wed, 09 Apr 2014 01:00:49 GMT
Signs Of Spring Were Infrequent Yet My Trip To Easton Maryland Was Well Worth The Time http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/the-absence-of-spring-foliage-south-harrison-street-in-easton-maryland South Harrison Street In Easton MarylandSouth Harrison Street In Easton MarylandSouth Harrison Street In Easton Maryland

Early Spring On South Harrison Street • Easton Maryland


"Why in the world are you going to Easton Maryland today?" The intonation in the sound of my friend's voice blaring from the speaker of my iPhone suggested they felt that I was being more than a little crazy to be doing so today. Their call came at a most inopportune time for I was already busy double checking my camera bag to make sure that I had everything for my trip, responding to an email from someone wanting to purchase a photograph of mine as I was reading an article on low light photography. I abhor multitasking and avoid it like previously frozen Indonesian crab meat whenever I can for that term is nothing more than an euphemism for working in a distracted manner yet I found myself doing so because I was anxious to leave but was also determined to finish up what I had already started that day.

Having sent the email, closed up my camera bag and given up on finishing the article that I had been reading my attention turned to my friends previous question, who by the way had been rambling on from the speaker phone about how I waste so much of my time on trips like the one I was about to go on. While I certainly knew before making my plans for today that things like the foliage and background colors would be more late Winter like than those of Springtime therefore this was not going to be a photo taking trip. As I began to explain to my friend how that it's a good thing to make observations along with reorienting oneself to a venue before taking that first photograph of a new season they scoffed at me saying that especially in "small towns things seldom change."

It was that last comment that caused me to launch off on a verbal diatribe to contest that seemingly dogmatic statement of theirs. "Not true I replied for things do change from a visual standpoint even in small towns." I cited as an example of how new shops and cafes tend to open before the start of the tourist season which in turn contribute to changes in a particular streetscape. Restaurants regularly close and then reopen under another name featuring new cuisine for its the nature of the business. Residences and buildings get painted - perhaps in a different color, an addition may have been completed and yards are often landscaped for Spring. Then of course there are Bed & Breakfasts or Inns that have been converted - usually for economic reasons, back into a single family residence, professional offices or perhaps an art gallery. Finally there are the boutiques and antique shops whose existences are often measured in mere seasons. I have seen these types of changes occur in my years of taking photographs in towns all over Maryland's Chesapeake Bay region. Pausing to catch my breath after having confidently made my case for today's trip my friend quickly interjected that it is still a crazy thing for me to do and that my time is too valuable to be wasting it on a trip like the one I was about to take. Ending our conversation by agreeing to disagree we both said good bye and I set off on my Sunday afternoon drive to the shore.


Driving along Route 50 towards Easton I found myself thinking about that earlier phone conversation and also of the more practical reasons why I feel that these photo-less trips are so necessary. First of all they provide me with an opportunity to take a fresh look at an area without the pressure of having to take any photographs. It allows me to plan future photo sessions including identifying the better vantage points from which to take my photographs. Finally these outings often include practice photo shoots that tend to confirm any of my current and or past observations that I have made concerning a specific venue or scene. Yes I strongly felt that these visits serve a necessary purpose that ultimately lead to more creative and well received photographs on my part.

After having arrived in town I began to walk the streets of Easton on that pleasant Sunday afternoon which in turn began to bring back recollections from my previous visits here including a number of missed opportunities that I had committed myself to not forget on my next visit. For the most part yes Easton had changed very little since my last visit back in the Fall but my time spent here walking past the gardens that will soon debut their Spring hues, observing the 19th century streetscapes and paying close attention to the area's architectural scenery was certainly well worth it. I now find myself looking forward to returning here over the next three or four weeks or so and also to a more creative as well as an enjoyable experience of taking pictures in Historic Easton Maryland.

As I packed up the car and prepared to leave I thought to myself no my friend I am afraid that you were wrong in your well intentioned sage advice to me earlier for this was a very prudent use of my time.

G J Gibson

Note: the photograph that accompanies this article was first posted on Tumblr while the complete article itself is also available on Medium

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this journal post are not on display in the gallery 

Image and Article Copyright © 2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Bartlett Pear Inn South Harrison Street Easton Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/the-absence-of-spring-foliage-south-harrison-street-in-easton-maryland Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:02:22 GMT
The Road Less Traveled & A Walk Through A 1713 Churchyard In Kent County Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/marking-the-way-for-parishioners-walking-through-the-churchyard Historic St. Paul's Kent Parish

St. Paul's Kent Parish Building In Kent County MarylandSt. Paul's Kent Parish Building In Kent County MarylandSt. Paul's Kent Parish Building In Kent County Maryland

Certainly I do not remember experiencing any morbid mood swings, these words will become obvious at the end of this post I hope, the day I pulled off that bumpy county road and into the church parking lot. Ah yes that narrow twisting piece of rural asphalt I found myself traveling after getting on it a few miles back at one of those points of interest road signs in the hope of taking a few photographs.

While driving along on what most would consider a country road I proceeded slowly so as to take in the scenery composed of thickets of trees, an occasional house, small farms, and numerous meandering streams. It was quiet and peaceful that day as I found myself anxious to find out what the historic church setting would turn out to be as I navigated the twists and turns in the road. It was at the point when I spied a small pond in the depression of a field directly in front of me that I realized just how fortunate I was to have made the turn at that road sign 10 minutes ago.

For there on a slight rise above the pond, and to my left, were a couple of older looking brick buildings, one obviously being that of a church, set behind group of very mature trees. The scene itself seemed worthy of an artist rendering that was for sure and behind them were grave stones spreading out into the adjacent churchyard. Yes I had arrived at my destination and could already feel the ambiance from the scenery descend upon me as I approached the entranceway of this historic Kent County Maryland parish church.

* Note: the above pictured building has been referred to as the original church rectory

Maryland Bicentennial Tree Marker • A 400 Year Old Swamp Chestnut Oak At St. Paul's Kent Parish

Swamp Chestnut Oak Maryland Bicentennial Tree Marker At St. Paul's Kent Parish In Kent County MarylandSwamp Chestnut Oak Maryland Bicentennial Tree Marker At St. Paul's Kent Parish In Kent County MarylandSwamp Chestnut Oak Maryland Bicentennial Tree Marker At St. Paul's Kent Parish In Kent County Maryland

I took a moment or two in order to stand outside my car and take in the tranquil surroundings afforded me at that moment. It was so quiet there as it felt like I was the only person in the vicinity for miles. Directly above me towered a 100' plus high designated Maryland Bicentennial Tree, a swamp chestnut oak, that some believe is more than 400 years old. I do so look forward to my upcoming visit in the spring in order to see it's huge canopy filled with leaves shading the churchyard.

Walking in the direction of the church I looked out across the nearby grounds taking note of the different styles of tombstones and grave markers that spanned a period of over three centuries. In the distance I could see the pond I had passed earlier set out in the middle of what appeared to be a small farmers field adjacent to the parish property as the morning sunlight shimmered off the water's surface. There were so many other types of trees scattered throughout the churchyard that I had difficulty identifying certain ones. There was no doubt at that very moment how I could spend the better part of the day taking numerous photographs around this property.

Late 17th Century Grave Marker In The Churchyard • St. Paul's Kent Parish

Grave Marker of Michael Miller c. 1699 in St. Paul's Kent Parish Cemetery Kent County MarylandGrave Marker of Michael Miller c. 1699 in St. Paul's Kent Parish Cemetery Kent County MarylandGrave Marker of Michael Miller c. 1699 in St. Paul's Kent Parish Cemetery Kent County Maryland

As I approached the church I noticed the grave marker of a colonial planter named Michael Miller buried here in the St. Paul’s Kent Parish churchyard. Mr. Miller donated the land that the church was built on in 1696, the present building was constructed in 1713. For over 300 years St. Paul’s parishioners have walked past Mr. Miller’s grave on their way to services being that it is located close to the entrance door of the church

* Note: since my visit to the St. Paul's Kent Parish cemetery Mr. Miller's original grave marker has been removed and replaced with a more modern looking granite stone. As to the reason for this I am not sure. (October 2014)

Driving home after my brief visit to this Eastern Shore historic church I thought about one of the dilemmas faced by scenic photographers out on location which is how can one seem more focused on their next visit then they are during the one they are currently on. In this case was it the time of day, position of the sun or composition of the foliage that had me thinking this way? Perhaps, no it certainly was because I recognized how much more picturesque those images will appear what with the background of Spring being a part of each photograph that I would be taking here in the future.

G J Gibson

Note: the photograph of Mr. Miller's grave marker was originally posted on my Photo Art Tumblr Blog and is also published on Medium

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured on this post are not on display in the main gallery

Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Kent County Maryland Maryland Bicentennial Tree Marker Michael Miller Grave Marker 1699 St. Pauls Kent Parish http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/marking-the-way-for-parishioners-walking-through-the-churchyard Thu, 03 Apr 2014 19:10:03 GMT
Filing Away The Memories & Bidding A Not So Fond Farewell To Another Chesapeake Bay Winter http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/a-not-so-fond-farewell-to-winter

With Winter officially over - we'll forget that brief period of snow on Sunday, I've been going through my unpublished photographs from the last 3 or 4 months in order to determine which ones to keep or delete. Fortunately this is not an extremely time consuming process for one of my regular photography practices includes reviewing images from each photo session on the day they were taken and delete those that lack perspective, clarity or simply a reason to keep right at that moment. The remaining images accumulate in a folder throughout a given season until at the end of it I take one last look at each one and then determine whether to keep it or not. Over the years I have found this practice to be a great way to recall other aspects of the moment when I took a particular picture before they become a more distant memory.

Forgive me for I certainly did not mean to wax on about my image hoarding habits but rather to explain how this journal entry on this past Winter's ice and snow events around the Chesapeake Bay came to be with the help of these now filed photographs.


The Harsh Winter Of 2014 In Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Region


First of all it would be wrong of me to imply with this journal entry's title that the Chesapeake Bay was the only region in the country to fall victim to this year's Polar Vortexes. These climate phenomenons brought about extremely cold temperatures, unusual ice build ups and of course snow to large portions of the Midwest, South and East beginning in January that in most cases are not use to these Siberian like weather conditions.

So let's take a look at some of those photographs of mine that are about to either be filed or discarded while remembering the Winter of 2014 around Maryland's Chesapeake Bay region.


Ice On The Kent Narrows • Winter 2014

"Snow Kent Narrows Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Snow And Ice On The Kent Narrows In MarylandSnow and Ice Seen Across The Water On The Kent Narrows In Maryland with the Chesapeake Bay in the Distance To begin with this photograph brought back not so fond memories of very cold hands along with the pain of the wind whipping in from the Bay right in my face. Many a traveler who crossed Maryland's Bay Bridge this past Winter saw the heavy build up of ice along the eastern and western shorelines that hasn't been seen there in years. Ice breakers were used to clear channels through the numerous rivers that empty into Maryland's Chesapeake Bay more so than in the past.

This is a scene from the Grasonville Maryland side of the Kent Narrows just after the snow had stopped falling. While pretty much devoid of color, in a Marion E. Warren kind of way, it certainly captured a sense of the vista that was spread out before me on that day and serves as a reminder that there are times when heavy clothing and thick gloves are simply not enough.


Crab Cages In The Snow

"Crab Cages In The Snow Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Chesapeake Bay Crab Cages In The Snow Along The ShorelineChesapeake Bay Crab Cages In The Snow Along The Shoreline

It goes without saying that the Chesapeake Bay region is well know for its Blue Crabs - Callinectes sapidus (beautiful swimmer & savory), that make for the world's best eating steamed and soft shell crabs, okay I'm biased. For us locals we also know how the unseasonably low and/or late Winter cold temperatures impact the migrating patterns northward of our tasty friends from the Bay. As I looked at the picture of these Crab Cages stored along a snowy shoreline that I took perhaps a month ago or so I was thinking about just how my future dinner guests were fairing these days after their turbulent Winter of hibernation here at the start of the commercial crab season.

By the way for a great book on the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab and the watermen who make their living from it I highly recommend "Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay" by the late William W. Warner.


Winter White Caps Off Tilghman Island Maryland

"Winter White Caps Off Tilghman Island Maryland Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Winter White Caps On The Chesapeake Bay Off Tilghman Island MarylandWinter White Caps On The Chesapeake Bay Off Tilghman Island Maryland As I opened this particular photograph on my screen a deep cold chill went through my entire body. It seems that I still possess vivid memories of not only these white caps breaking on the Chesapeake Bay off Tilghman Island Maryland but also the intensely cold feelings that I was experiencing as I took it. I am pretty sure that with the wind chill the temperature at the time was well below zero. How these gulls, seen in the lower portion of this picture, stayed airborne in the brutal winds on that day I will never know. As I now remember from this photo session I was so bitterly cold all the way back to St. Michaels Maryland in spite of having my car's seat warmers on and the heat turned up to high.


Sunrise Over An Icy Annapolis Harbor

"Ice and Snow Sunrise City Dock Annapolis Harbor Severn River Chesapeake Bay Photographer"Looking Out On The Annapolis Harbor At Sunrise In The Ice and SnowSunrise Over The Ice and Snow on Annapolis Harbor with the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay in the Distance On the day that I took this picture I remember being disappointed in not having an opportunity to use this photograph on my Annapolis Experience Blog for reasons of too many great images to choose from on that day's picture post. This scene was captured almost exactly as sunrise broke over Annapolis Harbor with the ice seen in the foreground and snow along the distant shoreline of the Severn River. Even further out past Greenbury Point a bulk carrier is seen anchored in the ice free waters of a Chesapeake Bay shipping channel. Needless to say it was cold and windy as I stood on the dock that day and as before the intensity of the winds off the Bay brought the feeling of frost bite on my face.

Its time to close up these Winter photography files of mine for the year and move on to begin accumulating those of Spring. As an aside I have not quite put away all of my Winter clothing for the season since one never knows just what might happen in the coming weeks, i.e. last Sunday's snow fall, weather wise. Winter is now officially behind us and I say good riddance.

G J Gibson


Note: this article is also posted on Medium and an abridged version of it is posted on Tumblr


Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured in this article are not on display in the main gallery

Images and Article Copyright ©2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Annapolis Maryland Crab Traps Ice On The Chesapeake Kent Narrows Maryland Maryland Blue Crabs Polar Vortex In The Chesapeake Bay Region Tilghman Island Maryland William Warner Beautiful Swimmers http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/4/a-not-so-fond-farewell-to-winter Tue, 01 Apr 2014 16:20:58 GMT
An Early Morning Among The Victorians In Centreville Maryland http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/3/early-morning-victorians-in-centreville-maryland A few weeks ago I traveled to Queen Anne's County Maryland, specifically to the historic town of Centreville, early one morning to photograph a group of grand late 19th century Victorian era residences that I have been an admirer of for years. Even though Winter would soon give way to Spring my recollection of one of those Victorian homes was that the front of it tended to be partially obscured during the warmer months of the year by nearby trees.  It was for this same reason that I have tended to shy away from taking photographs of all three residences at the same time for I wanted to capture as many of the exterior architectural elements as I could and then present them all together on one blog post which is why that I found myself in Centreville on a late Winter morning.

In any event here are those three Victorian residences, a troika if you would, of Centreville Maryland.


Jackson Collins House • Centreville Maryland

The Jackson Collins House, built in 1886, features sharp cut brick walls and a wide porch is seen here on a late Winter morning in Centreville Maryland.The Jackson Collins House Circa 1886 In Centreville MarylandThe Jackson Collins House Circa 1886 In Centreville Maryland

This is the Jackson Collins House in historic Centreville Maryland, circa 1886-87, as seen early on a late Winter morning that has been referred to as representing one of the finest examples of Victorian period architecture found in Queen Anne’s County Maryland today. It is thought that a Mr. Aaron Arlett began construction on this residence in the mid to latter part of the 1880's but never finished it for it was soon purchased by a Centreville businessman named John W. Perry. While the subject of possible historical speculation it has been alluded to that Mr. Arlett lacked the financial resources to complete it hence Mr. Perry's purchase of the house for $3,262.

Stately looking in its brick facade and wide porch with Tuscan columns that in turn adds to the distinctive mass of the structure itself. Note the almost oversized center turret and the gable windows on both the front and right side of the residence. Notice the two story bay window element set over an inviting open porch area extension along the side of the house as well that is not commonly seen on Victorian era Eastern Shore residences. While Victorian by designation the residence also incorporates Queen Anne and Italianate architectural elements as well.  It can be said that the Jackson Collins House overall contribution to the nearby streetscape is certainly more than just significant.


Harper House • Centreville Maryland

The Harper House circa late1880s features a number of Victorian design elements as seen here on a late Winter morning in Centreville Maryland.The Harper House Circa Late 1880s In Centreville MarylandThe Harper House Circa Late 1880s In Centreville Maryland

Fronted by an ornate cast iron fence the Harper House, circa late 1880’s, in Centreville Maryland also represents the Victorian School of Architecture which was perhaps used to denote the original owner’s economic status in the community. As I later found out the house was built by a Mr. Robert M. Price owner of a local lumber company.

While its relationship to the overall lot size makes it appear smaller than those of its Victorian neighbors looks can be deceiving. Noteworthy architectural elements of the Harper House include elaborate turrets, decorative millwork trim and stained glass transoms on each of its eight front windows as well as an
Eastlake style porch with turned columns that speaks to the level of detail used in its construction. More recent renovations by its owners have included the more gilded period accents that we see on the Harper House today.


Wright House • Centreville Maryland

The Wright House, built in 1893, features a vast number of windows set across its front exterior and is seen here on a late Winter morning in Centreville Maryland.The Wright House Circa 1893 In Centreville MarylandThe Wright House Circa 1893 In Centreville Maryland

The third member of this architectural troika of Victorian style residences is the Wright House built in 1893 by Walter & Sarah Wright. It is of interest to note that the house remained in the Wright family until the late 1950's.

Considered to be one of the largest Victorian residences in the county it features curved walls, multiple turrets and gables that serve to make for a most irregular looking roof line while a vast expanse of windows set across its front facade is certainly a distinctive architectural element used in the design of this home. Grander in mass than its immediate neighbor this Centreville residence features a running board 1st story exterior while the second is covered in fish scale siding and each of the roof projections set above it are covered in slate. Finally the first story porch roof is sheathed in metal while the detailed millwork found on its supporting columns and railings make for a most intricate design detail to say the least.

Let us all hope that these three exquisite Victorian residences will continue to hold positions of historic architectural prominence along this Centreville Maryland street for many years to come.


G J Gibson


Note: this piece can also be found on Medium and an abridged version of it is posted on Tumblr

Gallery Note: currently the photographs featured in this article are not on display in the Main Gallery

Images and Article Copyright © 2014 G J Gibson Photography LLC

(G Gibson Photo Art Gallery) Harper House Historic Centreville Maryland Jackson House Wright House http://www.ggibsonphotoart.com/blog/2014/3/early-morning-victorians-in-centreville-maryland Fri, 28 Mar 2014 04:47:32 GMT