Stevenson’s Public History Program chose this 36 degree morning to launch a new tradition– the “History Mystery” day trip. Eght intrepid member’s of our Public History Program ventured to see what Professor McGraw had in mind. It turned out the main event was a sugaring demonstration at Baltimore County’s Oregon Ridge Nature Center. (From L to R: Anthony Plaag, Joe McGraw, Karalyn Glos, Stephanie Czeslowski, Caroline Smith, Austin Knox, Glenn T Johnston. Photo by: Jamie Goodall)

What I thought was going to be a traditional sugar maple experience got exotic really fast. Evidently–for those of us from NY and NE who are used to sugar maples-you can make syrup from just about anything. Lacking the large number of sugar maples we enjoy up North, Native Americans learned how to use sap from Black Walnut, Box Elder, and other trees as well. Here we enjoy tasting syrup of the Black Walnut and Box Elder variety. While not as sweet as maple syrup, they have really unique flavors.

An Oregon Ridge volunteer explains how the sap is reduced to syrup.

The day also included examining the ruins of former tenant workers who open pit mined iron ore and quarried Cockeysville marble on these grounds 150 years ago. Yup, the same Cockeysville marble that is the bottom third and top third of the Washington Monument in DC.

Austin examines a lintel stone stretching across the top of the window sash. Meant to transfer the weight of two stories of stone from above off of the wooden sash, it performs a task similar to an arch, but is faster and cheaper to use.

After some hiking, taking a look at the nature center, and saying farewell, it was time for lunch.

Off to La Tolteca in Cockeysville for a great lunch, reflections on the morning, and plans for the week.

Professor McGraw–We all thank you for a brilliant idea and the start of an enduring tradition. Dr Goodall- thanks for the pictures and just being you! Austin, Caroline, Stephanie, Karalyn, and Anthony–thanks for choosing Stevenson Public History today. I know you could have done a lot of other things, but sharing in this adventure pulls us all a little closer as family.